I biked up to the National Mall yesterday to check out the Solar Decathlon
This is an event where teams from various universities design and construct a solar powered home. The home must then be transported to D.C., and resconstructed on the Mall. Each entry is graded on all sorts of engineering and architectural criteria, as well as how well it performs as a regular home (it must be able to run a dishwasher for x hours, a television for x hours, charge up an electric car, etc). When not being inspected by judges the houses can be toured by the public. There were huge crowds so I did not go into any houses, but I hope to return during the week…
One of my favorites was the UC Boulder entry which incorporates a recycled shipping container.