The Solar Decathlon evolved this year with the advent of the Affordability Contest. It replaced the Lighting Design Contest, which was subsumed within other contests in the competition. Pursuant to the rules, teams receive up to 100 points by achieving an estimated construction cost of $250,000 or less. Above that, there’s a sliding scale with no points awarded for homes with a construction cost above $600,000.
KB Home, a publicly-traded home builder with its headquarters in Los Angeles, this month announced the nationwide roll out of net-zero energy home designs called ZeroHouse 2.0. The standard KB Home with Energy Star certification is built to save homeowners about $1,000 in average annual energy costs, while a ZeroHouse 2.0 design is expected to eliminate monthly electricity charges.
Today, the Solar Decathlon officially opens to the public and the games begin. The competition is organized by the Department of Energy, and 19 teams have invested more than two years of effort to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner will be the one with the highest score after the following ten contests:
The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production. In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Florida-based Lighting Science Group (LSG) recently announced a new LED product called Glimpse. The Title 24-compliant downlight is compatible with most 5″ and 6″ recessed cans and can be surface mounted to a J-box as a luminaire. Glimpse is Energy Star qualified in all model types, according to a press release, and provides up to 20% more light than other products on the market with the 750 lumen package.
Earlier this summer, LittleFootprint Lighting announced the availability of a high-performance task light for home or office called the HeronLED Personal Task Light. The light is designed and made in the USA with recycled plastic from e-waste and uses a replaceable LED bulb as the light source.