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First Photos From the European Solar Decathlon

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the cool-little-houses dept.

Earth 26

An anonymous reader writes "The 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe kicked off today in Madrid, Spain, with a stunning array of solar-powered prefab homes. Seventeen teams from around the globe are battling it out in the center of the city to see who has the most efficient solar-powered and eco-friendly house. Just as in the competition in Washington DC, the teams will be graded on minimal energy use, innovative architecture and engineering, sustainability, and more. Check out these exclusive photos from the event for a first look at the most exciting houses in this year's competition."

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Decathlon (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32622534)

So why is this called a decathlon? I cannot figure that out from TFA. Are there like 10 different types of solar energy they are going for here?

Re:Decathlon (4, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#32622652)

It's a little hard to find on their website but each team competes in 10 areas hence, decathalon. You can find the details here http://www.sdeurope.org/competicion_pruebas_menu.htm?lang=en [sdeurope.org] but in short they're judged on:

architecture, construction and engineering, solar systems and hot water, energy balance, comfort conditions, usage, communications and social media, industrialization and market viability, innovation, sustainability

In the second round . . . (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 3 years ago | (#32622664)

The house has to ski three miles, shoot a duck out of the sky, and cook it using only solar energy.

Awesome! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32622592)

I love the giant vulva house!

Good morning, and welcome to the Black Mesa Transi (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#32622616)

Please keep you limbs inside the train at all times. Do not attempt to open the doors until the train has come to a complete halt at the station platform.

A reminder that the Black Mesa Hazard Course decathlon will commence this evening at 1900 hours in the Level Three facility. The semi-finals for high security personnel will be announced in a separate secure access transmission. Remember, more lives than your own may depend on your fitness. Do you have a friend or relative who make a valuable addition to the Black Mesa team? Immediate openings are available in the areas of "Materials Handling" and "Low Clearance Security." Please contact Black Mesa personnel for further information.

Judge a marathon based on 100 yards in the middle? (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623322)

You want to know which design is more efficient? You need to monitor the mining, refining, shipping, construction and maintenance for the next 20+ years (or until we have fusion power, which largely moots the problem). Judging efficiency based on a sample of a couple of days is like measuring tails and extrapolating that cats and elephants must be about the same size.

Re:Judge a marathon based on 100 yards in the midd (2, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624516)

I'm sorry. Maybe they should just scrap the competition then. It's clearly a total waste and provides no true innovation or inspiration for its corporate sponsors and/or onlookers.

Anytime a scientific story gets posted to slashdot, what annoys me most is when commentors take on the annoying stance of impatiently asking why it isn't functional immediately. It's ridiculous. So I suppose all modern inventions were developed overnight. The first computers were core i7's, right? It's not like we ever started out with punch-cards or anything like that.

Sure, this won't give us an understanding of whether the entire production process for a solar economy is feasible. Let's look at it this way: if we didn't have competitions like this, why would we ever even bother asking?

Re:Judge a marathon based on 100 yards in the midd (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625356)

what annoys me most is when commentors take on the annoying stance of impatiently asking why it isn't functional immediately

Perhaps you meant to reply to a different thread, since I'm making exactly the opposite point.

Big Oil? (1)

janerules (940212) | more than 3 years ago | (#32634466)

That's like saying why take on big oil in the first place with things like solar and wind energy. The architecture industry has little control over the construction, shipping, mining, maintenance and regulatory industries, and little help from governments either. The best we can do now is just make a product that IS a little better and then put it on the market. In the end it is really up to the consumer and how guilty they feel about the fact that their TV (or computer) power usage could operate three or four of these houses easily. I'm on their team, for sustainability, and you don't see me turning of my PC.

Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progress? (4, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32623480)

A few days ago my buddy emailed me with some infographic [tumblr.com] about "how few" solar panels it would take to power the entire planet. Now this. I'll agree there's money to be made in Solar, and it's green(ish), but has anyone else noticed just a huge marketing push in the last few weeks for solar? I guess it makes more sense to market solar energy during the summer (in the northern hemisphere) but why now? It's convenient that the BP oil spill is happening now, but this sort of thing takes lots of perpetration, time and money. I'm guessing it's in response to the Cape Wind project [wikipedia.org] finally being approved? Anyone have any more info on why NOW they're doing such a large marketing push for solar? Is wind that big of a threat to solar?
It's interesting that they're doing this in Spain, where wind support is popular and has long had government support, with several large installations already.

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32624316)

Anyone have any more info on why NOW they're doing such a large marketing push for solar? Is wind that big of a threat to solar?

It's obvious that it's all about the BP spill. People are saying "what can we do to stop this from happening again?" The best answer is "stop offshore drilling" but it's not realistic unless we reduce our dependence on oil.

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625514)

It's not obvious this contest is a direct result of Deep Water oil rig. I'm pretty sure they came up with the contest, had the design firms design and then construct and transport the houses to their current location long before Deep Water self destructed. For solar companies, Deep Water is just a happy coincidence. Unless... *dons tin foil hat*

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626798)

I'm not talking about the contest, but about the spread of the information on alternative energy. If it's what's gathering eyeballs, it will be replicated by "the media".

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32629818)

Is wind that big of a threat to solar?

No, but these butt-ugly houses are. Sure, plenty of college kids would live in them, but who the hell would buy something that looks like that?

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625068)

Solar had huge government support in Spain too. It's only the dire economic situation the country's in which has put a stop to the government subsidising solar panels on all new commercial construction.

Re:Major Solar Energy Marketing Campaign in Progre (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625592)

The thing is that solar companies are probably the only ones where I don’t mind a marketing push.
Although I prefer the combination of solar thermal power plants and pumped-storage hydroelectricity (or other good storage forms) for the night, interconnected with HVDC lines.

It’s really true that with 400x400 km of those power plants (not counting the hydros) you could power the entire world. Which is especially great for the poor but sunny countries, since those power plants are dead cheap, simple and made of abundant losslessly recyclable materials.

Yes, maybe they thought “Hey, with that spill, it’s our time to get the governments to listen“. I’d have done the same.

Wind is only a theat to real solar cells. Because those cells still are expensive and since they contain rare materials, I don’t thing they will become cheaper. Mirrors pipes and pumps however beat the complex wind mills by a lot.

At least IMHO.

Favela 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32624668)

These houses look like someone's idea of an upgraded shack. Something to pack the masses into. Because I'm damn sure not a single one of the government officials promoting them would ever be caught living in one. You and me get to live in one while those in power get dispensation to live how they choose.

Let me know when Al Gore gives up his mansion and moves into one of these, then we can talk.

Suburbia is Stupid (1)

Raven_Stark (747360) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625074)

I like the bamboo one and HOUSE because form seems to follow function and the end results don't look like the more silly entries in a clothing fashion show or like mobile homes accessorized with cars on cinder blocks and beer gutted rednecks.

However houses are for suburbia and suburbia is a stupid idea because it increases commute distances and wastes land. The lack of shared walls wastes materials and reduces energy efficiency.

IMO, a contest for high-rise building and urban designs would be more interesting and green. Combine homes and shops in one building surrounded with gardens and recreational areas to form a mini village. Cluster villages around light industrial areas. Layout everything to capture solar power and funnel wind for wind power. Surround the cities with wilderness. Connect cities with high speed rail. If done right, no one would need a car. Since, IIRC, cars end up using more energy than houses, getting rid of cars would save more energy than green houses ever could.

Oh yipee (1)

jern (585127) | more than 3 years ago | (#32629378)

Another round of designs meant to be built for dry arid environments whose total rainfall is under 100mm/year!!! Great and since most of these designs are expensive the developed countries who can afford them can't use them (because they face all 4 seasons) and aren't practical (pets coats shoes kids etc). But yes I see the word DESIGN and as a M.E explained to me in regards to LEED(s) the emphasis is on the last word; it doesn't have to work to any practical sense/use it just has to work as per the original DESIGN..
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