Bob Vila Radio: The Solar Decathlon

By Sarah Monzon and Bob Vila | Updated Sep 14, 2012 2:46 PM

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Today, September 14th, is the kickoff of the 2012 Solar Decathlon, and this year it’s being held in sunny Spain.

Solar Decathlon

2007 Winner. Photo:


Listen to BOB VILA ON THE SOLAR DECATHLON, or read the text below:

Twenty teams of students from across the globe have been selected to build and present their idea of the most efficient solar home possible… right next to the Palacio Nacional in Madrid. The homes are open to the public, and will score points based on energy performance, carbon footprint, and efficiency of design.

Why do we care? Because solar energy is free. It’s just the harnessing of it that has been so expensive. With every new brain that’s put to work on it, we get closer to a cheap, sustainable way to build homes in the future. Solar panels increase in efficiency every year, but now folks are thinking outside the panel: solar paint, solar fabric, even photovoltaic cells printed on paper. As collection of solar energy becomes easier, we’re also making appliances and homes that use less of it, with smarter orientation to the sun and better insulation.

Next year the Solar Decathlon is back in the U.S. in Irvine, California. I can’t wait to see what they think of next!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on solar energy, consider:

Solar Thermal Collection and Delivery
Quick Tip: Solar Hot Water Systems Save Money
Solar Power Incentives