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Australia Wins Solar Decathlon China 2013

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Winners of the Solar Decathlon China 2013, Team UOW (of University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra Institute) was the first Australian team to have ever won a place in a Solar Decathlon final and was the largest student-run competition that the UoW has ever entered.

Hosted by the United States Department of Energy, the Chinese National Energy Administration, and Peking University, Solar Decathlon China 2013 challenged 24 teams from 14 countries to design, build, and operate a solar-powered home that is energy efficient, cost effective to build, and appealing. Categories in which entries are judged include architecture, engineering, solar application, energy balance, market appeal, home entertainment, and appliances.

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Florida Contractor Builds the First Luxury Net Zero Energy Home

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Marc Rutenberg, the CEO of the Florida company Marc Rutenberg Homes, has recently successfully designed and built a luxury home that complies with and even surpasses all Energy Star standards and is LEED Platinum certified. The Castaway III, as the house is called, measures 4,552-square feet, which is about 3,100 square feet larger than the average zero-energy home. This house proves that there is no need to sacrifice comfort and luxury to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

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SHADE is Solar Home Adapting for Desert Equilibrium

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Team ASUNM, a collaborative effort between Arizona State University and University of New Mexico, has come together to address the inefficiencies of urban sprawl and to create a model for sustainable desert living that has been dubbed SHADE (Solar Home Adapting for Desert Equilibrium), which is an entry in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition that takes place on October 3-13, 2013 in Irvine, California.

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Solar Structures Offer Affordable Solar Roof Alternative

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A new partnership between Silicon Energy and CrystaLite that was announced at the recent Living Future unConference in Seattle is bringing a new alternative to photovoltaic solar roof implementations and ground-mounted installations: the solar structure. PV-integrated structures provide home and business owners with extensive flexibility in the design and implementation of solar power when a solar roof is not cost effective or to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing integration of solar panels with structural design of patio and deck coverings, carport coverings, and picnic shelters.

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Solar Powered Garage Garners Green Mountain College a $50,000 E2 Energy to Educate Grant

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Students who participated in last semester’s Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) at Green Mountain College (GMC) have designed solar-powered garage that won them a $50,000 grant to build it from the E2 Energy to Educate program sponsored by the Exelon Company, Constellation.

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Solar Electric Bonsai Tree for the Home

Here’s an update to an old article about a tree-shaped charger powered by solar energy. Vivien Muller’s Electree+ is on Kickstarter seeking to raise $200,000 to mass-produce these little home/office gadgets here in the USA. The new prototype will be made with an 14,000 mAh internal battery, 27 amorphous silicon solar cells (each about 3.7 inches), and an easy-to-assemble tree structure that can be customized. In case you’re interested, the early bird gets in at the ground level for ~$199.00.

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