Solared out

Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany won first place in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2007 Solar Decathlon that showcased the future of sustainable home design and ingenuity of wicked-smart college kids. Twenty university teams, from Missouri to Madrid, descended on National Mall in Washington, D.C., in early October to construct model homes powered entirely by the sun. Homes were assembled on site and judged in 10 categories, including engineering, market viability and energy balance. Using everything from passive solar lighting to photovoltaic rooftops, teams harnessed the sun’s energy to run appliances, provide sufficient lighting, control interior temperature and charge an electric vehicle. The homes demonstrate that it’s possible to live off the grid without sacrificing amenities or quality of living. Find out more at