Germany Wins Solar-House Battle

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October 21, 2009—Team Germany was the winner in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, which had 20 entries in a contest to create the best solar-powered house.

© 2009 National Geographic (AP)

Unedited Transcript:

20 homes soak up the sun's rays on Washington DCs National Mall.

They need all the energy they can get, to power everything from ventilation systems to home entertainment centers.

Its required in the recent Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Richard King, U.S. Department of Energy: "The solar decathlon is a competition for university schools of architecture and engineering to design from the ground up a solar powered, high efficiency, self-sustaining house."

Over several days, student teams are judged across 10 events, from design, to whether the house would sell on the market.

The winning house was created by Team Germany.

The Team Germany home is covered in thin solar panels, giving the house a shiny, black appearance - with a twist.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Sardika Meyer, Team Germany: "We have photovoltaic panels across all sides of the house. And in between as a second design element we have colorful acrylic glass pieces to kind of open the house up. We lovingly call them sun freckles."

The design-to-construction process takes two years.

This is the fourth solar decathlon, and the next one will be held in 2011.

The event draws around 100,000 visitors to the National Mall, where students show off their designs while making the pitch for energy efficient technologies like solar and using recycled goods for building material.

All 20 homes will live on.

Some are headed back to university campuses for housing and research. Others will be donated for use by various organizations. And two are for sale.

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