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  The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's BeauSoleil solar project, one of 20 international teams that participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, wraps up its display at the Solar Village at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., this month.

  Universities that competed in the decathlon were challenged to design, build and operate an attractive, fully operational solar-powered home. Held biennially, the 10 events evaluate day-to-day activities inside the home, including its use of solar energy. Built to withstand hurricane force winds, the BeauSoleil home combines regional design elements, like its Acadian architectural influence and covered porch, with state-of-the-art engineering, including 8 kilowatt solar panels and solar thermal heating using a closed-loop water system. The system allows for a 50-gallon water storage tank to cut water heating costs by 50 to 80 percent. The home's design also allows outside air to cool the house rather than rely on an air-conditioning unit, and natural light is stored to provide ambient lighting at night.

  Though ranked 19th in the competition, the 90 percent-completed home earned high marks in market viability, home entertainment and appliances.

Learn more about the project at or — Alex Woodward


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