Decathlon Shuffled to West Potomac Park

Earlier this month, we reported a rumor that Solar Decathlon 2011 was heading to the National Harbor in Maryland.  But, it turns out, as announced today by the Department of Energy and Department of Interior, the big event will be shuffled to West Potomac Park.

Solar Decathlon is a biennial event with 20 collegiate teams that design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

In prior years, the event has been held on a patch of land between the Capitol and Washington Monument.  This year the event will be held across the Tidal Basin on the peninsula just south of the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.

Secretary Chu wisely noted that the new site “allows the students to proceed with their existing home designs, specifically tailored for Washington’s latitude, temperature, and humidity conditions.

[+] Read the announcement from Solar Decathlon 2011.


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  • http://www.FinishWerks.com Harris

    Preston, you stated that as an alternative to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor: “Chu wisely noted that the new site ‘allows the students to proceed with their existing home designs, specifically tailored for Washington’s latitude, temperature, and humidity conditions.’”

    Really? Aside from the fact that Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is roughly 30miles north, and that both sites are surrounded by water and similar humidity, and that Climate Change has made Dallas feel like Detroit, and that Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a fantastic socializing place for young professionals (Baltimore is a power-house in medicine) as well as tourists… isn’t the purpose of these SD the ability to showcase their harmony with renewable power regardless in ANY location?

    If just before starting a rugby game somebody told both teams that it would be 0.5 degrees colder, do you think the game would continue on equal footing?

    Oh the politics……

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      Not sure what you’re saying. I was thinking from a different perspective. I understand myriad sites — from California to locales on the east coast — were considered. But a high performance home won’t be the same in California versus D.C. These teams hardly have any funds and they’re bootstrapping and planning to be the best for a site. When you change all that in the last nine months, even transportation access, which could have been a concern in Maryland, all the sudden a team may not be able to make the changes to their plan to put on a high performance home for that site. I’m certainly glad I didn’t book hotel/air had this thing been moved to Maryland or California. Anyway, maybe Maryland next year, so long as everyone can anticipate that. Let’s focus on the showcase of homes and solar energy.

      • http://www.FinishWerks.com Harris

        I live and work in Maryland. We build custom green homes throughout the Balt/WashDC corridor and surrounding counties. The Corridor is considered one large market by some metrics. As far and wide as Utah, we’re close and jammed right in here.

        I got a little defensive thinking that Baltimore got rejected on the above basis when the two cities share dwellers and commuters. And weather. 2nd Balt remains a big shipping port (not like Long Beach) and freight is not an issue. Neither are high costs for lodging (not like NY/Chicago/LA/Bay Area).

        Regardless of my concerns, I am far closer than anyone else in proximity to this very important event. I consider myself very lucky indeed…

      • Kevdickson

        Apparently it’s back on the Mall.

  • nelsonl

    Just want to point out that National Harbor in Maryland is not in or near Baltimore. National Harbor is on the Maryland side of the Potomac River, just south of DC.

    I’m glad the event is not too far from the Mall. However, it will be a hike from the closest metrorail station.

    I think that it is silly that all this is over a conflict with an effort to make much of the National Mall area look like a manicured front lawn. I like the idea of greenery on the Mall, but trying to transform all of it into a golf fairway level of greenery is not practical or sustainable. Maybe part of a solution would be testing several grass paving systems in the highest use areas. That would be forward looking while maintaining the National Mall lawn areas as the premier civic space for our nation.

  • Jack Zhang

    Dear Preston,

    Do you know why there is no U.S team attending the solar competition 2012 in Spain?
    Who are the attending universities for the solar competition 2012 in Shanghai, China?? Thanks  

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