The Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2009.Photo: NREL Solar DecathlonThe National Mall has long served as the nation’s front yard, a place where citizens can gather and display what’s important to them — whether it’s a protest to end wars, a rally to restore sanity, or even a celebration of mid-Atlantic maritime communities. Every other year since 2002, the National Mall has played host to the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the Department of Energy that puts 20 solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the globe on display for a two week long design competition and expo.
Two weeks ago, however, the Department of Energy informed each team that the National Park Service had rejected the Solar Decathlon’s permit request, causing organizers to scramble to try and find another suitable location.
As a member of the Solar Decathlon team from tiny Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt., this news was pretty devastating. In 2009, our team trekked to D.C. to scope out the amazing houses our peers at other schools had spent two years crafting to maximize natural lighting, tricking out with the latest... Read more