College competitions conjure up images of football games in packed outdoor stadiums on crisp fall afternoons or basketball games played before raucous adoring fans. You might not think of an international competition for colleges on Washington D.C.'s Mall. A recent post at www.renewableenergyaccess.com, said teams from North America and Europe competed in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, held last October. Participating teams had to submit proposals to the Department of Energy, and if selected they received $100,000 to construct an 800-square-foot green home. Once built, the houses were shipped to Washington, D.C. Twenty teams participated in the competition, which was won by Germany's Darmstadt Technical University. A team from the University of Maryland finished second and the team from Santa Clara University of finished third.

According to the report on www.renewableenergyaccess.com, the homes must be attractive, easy to live in, maintain a comfortable temperature, have adequate lighting, power household appliances and provide consistent hot water. In addition, teams must power an electric car with the remainder of their electricity generated by their photovoltaic system. More than 100,000 visitors attended the 2007 Solar Decathlon. (Photo credit: Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon)