Oct 31, 201311:00 AMPoint of View
The Indicator: Why the Solar Decathlon Should Enter the Real World
(page 3 of 3)
What if the next Solar Decathlon were in Detroit or New Orleans, or even a Native American reservation out in the middle of nowhere? What if it implicated real energy-users and real buildings? Then it would start to get interesting. Until it does something on this scale it will continue to be temporary, like an event at a World’s Fair or a carnival ride—it will still be something people can question and think of in terms of being outside the norm. The enduring influence of the Case Study Houses, after all, is due to the fact that they are real houses in real contexts, hooked into the grid.
DOE could move beyond the “temporary pavilion” or “demonstration model” approach and actually implement sustainable practices to retrofit existing buildings to have an impact on real communities. This would begin to move their education initiative more into the public realm. By modeling real-world energy initiatives like those found in Hamburg, DOE could increase the real-world relevance of the Solar Decathlon for the future. And if the Decathlon did that, then it could truly consider itself sustainable – in all senses of the word.
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s Solar Decathlon 2013 House Rendering.
Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Guy Horton is a writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to authoring “The Indicator,” he is a frequent contributor to The Architect’s Newspaper, Metropolis Magazine, The Atlantic Cities, and The Huffington Post. He has also written for Architectural Record, GOOD Magazine, and Architect Magazine. You can hear Guy on the radio and podcast as guest host for the show DnA: Design & Architecture on 89.9 FM KCRW out of Los Angeles. Follow Guy on Twitter @GuyHorton.