How much do you know about the solar decathlon? Here are a few helpful facts:

  1. The solar decathlon is not a sporting event. You won’t find running, swimming or biking events. Instead, university students from across the world are challenged to build and operate an ultra energy-efficient, yet cost-effective, solar-powered home. It’s called a decathlon because teams are judged on 10 categories, including architecture, engineering and communications.
  2. The competition is presented by the U.S. Department of Energy, open to the public and attendance is free. Visitors are able to tour the houses and understand how they can incorporate design features into their own homes to reduce utility bills.
  3. The first U.S. Solar Decathlon was held in 2002 in Washington, D.C. The competition was moved to Irvine, California, in 2013.
  4. As part of the competition, teams are required to live in the home to demonstrate that it is properly designed to consume a certain amount of energy in a set period of time. Teams are also required to prepare and host two dinner parties to demonstrate the home is capable of being energy-efficient, even when heavily used.
  5. Team Orange County is comprised of 100 students from four Southern California schools, including the University of California, Irvine, Saddleback College, Chapman University and Irvine Valley College.
  6. Team Orange County’s home — Casa del Sol — was inspired by the California state flower, the golden poppy.
  7. Students started working on Casa del Sol two years ago and have backgrounds in everything from mechanical engineering to interior design.

Now you know!

The competition houses are open to visitors for two weekends on Oct. 8-11 and 15-18 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Check it out and see the final product of Team Orange County’s entry, Casa del Sol.