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Solar Decathlon: Futuristic architecture competition kicks off in OC Great Park

by AirTalk®

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A solar house is displayed among other solar houses built and designed by 23 college and university student teams during The Solar Decathlon Europe competition. DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

If your electricity or gas bill is getting you down, then take a trip to Irvine this week for a glimpse at solar-powered "net zero" homes of the future. The biennial Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate affordable, attractive and energy-efficient homes.

Teams from around the world include the Czech Republic and Canada all the way back to USC and a combined team from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

The federal Energy Department sponsors the competition in hopes that home builders can gain from the advances.

Are the homes practical? Why aren't there more solar-powered homes on the grid? All the homes have the similar streamlined looks - is there such a thing as a solar-powered craftsman or Victorian?

The free public event will be open to the public 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. October 3 to 6 and 10 to 13 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Details here.

Gary Paige, Architect & Faculty Advisor for the USC team (University of Southern California)

Ella Seal, Mechanical Engineer (Caltech Class of 2013); Team member of the SCI-Arc/Caltech DALE Home entry in the Solar Decathlon

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