Washington Post: Early peek at Solar Decathlon houses

Twenty prototype solar houses are taking shape on the National Mall, racing to be ready for the contest's opening on Thursday and public viewing starting Friday. I haven't been inside any yet, but I picked up a few interesting tidbits.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is building a house that reflects Cajun culture--and can withstand 140 mph sustained winds.

The University of Minnesota has designed its house to handle the rigors of the frigid, snowy north. Solar panels are only on the southern side of the steeply pitched roof, while there's a skylight over part of the northern expanse, allowing sunlight to illuminate the area below. Their brochure says lighting in the house will use only 500 watts, total.

Read full article on The Washington Post Web site.