Welcome, Solar Decathlon 2013!

Posted on by Lauren M

Last month, I had the opportunity to join Lindsey Engels, Executive Director of the USGBC-OC, to represent the Chapter at Irvine’s Great Park (the location for 2013's Solar Decathlon) for a Community Forum/ Big Idea Meeting regarding Xpo, or the Clean + Renewable + Efficient Energy Exposition, a new component of the international event that celebrates innovation, renewable energy and sustainability.


The planning meeting brought the U.S. Department of Energy, educators, municipalities and local organizations together at the historic Hangar 244 at the former Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro. The Great Park, with a Farm + Food Lab, farmers market, recreation areas and more development plans in the works, is the perfect location for the global event. For more on the existing and proposed amenities, read up on the latest OCGP news.

With over 1,200 acres of usable space, the Decathlon has more opportunities to expand spatially. Thus, the DOE created the initiative to include a ‘broader range of topics regarding the responsible management of the earth’s resources', in the form of this Expo, adding another layer of educational offerings to the main event- the home tours.


So, for the majority of the meeting, we were split into three breakout groups: 'Educate', 'Enjoy' and 'Engage'. As participants in the ‘Enjoy’ Group, Lindsey, myself and about 10 others brainstormed on how to keep visitors active and excited about on-site and innovative learning opportunities by suggesting potential activities, presentations, interactive displays and more. As evidenced in the image above, we came up with quite a few concepts in the short amount of time available, after which Lindsey presented our key ideas to the rest of the meeting attendees.


As planning activities continue moving along, I look forward to sharing updates on the progress of this incredible international showcase right in our backyard. Until then, learn more about the Solar Decathlon at the official website

In the meanwhile, I'd encourage you to visit the site to experience current exhibits and events... And if you've been considering a visit to Southern California, I couldn’t think of a better time to make the trip!

Cheers, Lauren