Race to the Sun
From October 12 to 20 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C, The Solar Decathlon brought together 20 teams in competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy efficient solar powered house. Teams created a structure that had to power all the home energy needs of a typical family using only the power of the sun. The winner of the competition was the team that best blends aesthetics and modern conveniences with maximum energy production and optimal efficiency.
Technische Universität Darmstadt won first place with a house that “pushed the envelope on all levels" -- it even glows at night. They managed a perfect score in Energy Balance, a factor requiring teams to use only the energy generated by the solar electric systems (the energy supplied to the batteries was at least as much as the energy removed from the batteries during the competition). The “Passivhaus” sits in harmony with sun, operates independent of any grid and has integrated invisible loudspeakers in the walls and ceiling