For 15 years, the US Department of Energy has held the “Solar Decathlon,” a student competition which showcases sustainable technologies in the home. Teams from around the world come together and build functional solar-powered houses from the ground up, then use those houses for two weeks. The houses are then graded on ten different aspects of their design, with the largest combined score being the winner. The competition has been happening approximately biennially since 2002. This year it’s in Denver, Colorado at the University of Colorado.
The best part is: all of this is free and open to the public. Every house is open for tours and knowledgeable students are on hand and ready to answer questions about their projects, and there is a “sustainability expo” with company booths focused on sustainability. There are even workshops, an electric vehicle ride-and-drive (only Oct 14th 11am-3pm), and a career fair (Oct 10th 12-3pm). Public visiting hours are 11am-7pm most days (1-7pm Monday Oct 9), though the Decathlon is closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct 10-11). See the full list of things to do here.
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