In 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy created the Solar Decathlon, a challenge to college teams from around the globe to design, build, and operate an aesthetic and livable, fully solar-powered house. This international competition helps accelerate academic research in renewable energy technologies and educates the public about the benefits of energy efficiency and green building technologies.
In October, for the first time, the University of Minnesota was one of 20 teams on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., competing in the Solar Decathlon. The U's "Icon House" was the tangible result of two years intense, inspiring, and collaborative effort of 150 students in disciplines ranging from architecture and design to engineering and construction.
Meet architect Peter Hilger, adviser to the students working on the U's solar house, as he recounts their life-changing journey to Solar Decathlon 2009.