Solar decathlon puts spotlight on green homesOctober 7, 2009 - 3:57pm
WASHINGTON - Think your home is green?
You won't believe some of the solar-powered homes being featured on the National Mall.
More than 800 university students from the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany are competing in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to build the most energy-efficient home
One of the homes - which are around 800 square feet - was built by a team from Virginia Tech.
Architecture student Christian Truitt says an iPhone application controls Virginia Tech's version of an energy-efficient home.
"The phone can move the insulation, the walls. It can control your lighting, your curtains," Truitt says.
A weather station inside the home monitors conditions and makes "decisions on what's the right action to take to protect itself and keep itself most energy efficient," Truitt says.
But the 20 homes making it to the final round can't just look good. They also have to prove they're energy-efficient by performing everyday functions like laundry, heating and cooling.
The solar decathlon is open to the public starting on Thursday. The winner will be announced on Oct. 16.
For more information about the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon,click here.