The biennial Solar Decathlon organized by the U.S. Department of Energy kicked off in Irvine, Calif., yesterday, The Orange County Register reports.
Prototypes constructed at the event have been referred to as a guide of how houses in the future might look. Starting yesterday, the 14 teams from U.S. universities and colleges participating in the competition are offering tours of the houses they built.
A common theme found in many of the homes are designs that address resiliency in the wake of environmental changes and disasters in the team’s respective home regions. One example is the prototype home by Team Orange County, which consists of UC Irvine, Chapman University, Irvine Valley College, and Saddleback College, which uses a xeriscaped garden irrigated by recycled graywater to conserve water.
Another is a house built by a team of two Missouri institutions, Drury University and Crowder College, which can withstand projectiles traveling at 200 mph. According to the Orange County Register, the inspiration came from the desire to construct a home that would keep people safe during a tornado like the one that hit Joplin, Mo., in 2011.