This Friday marks the first day of Solar Decathlon 2011 [1], an annual event that challenges collegiate teams—from the United States and around the world—to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

Two members of the New Zealand team celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house at Solar Decathlon 2011

Amanda Crosby, right, and Belinda Dods of New Zealand celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house at Solar Decathlon 2011.

This week we’ve been highlighting the launch date of Solar Decathlon: Chris introduced us to the event [2] and posted a video, and we re-posted a Solar Decathlon Technology Spotlight [3], which focuses on Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). You can learn more about SIPs [4] on Energysavers.gov.

We love Solar Decathlon because it shows how solar energy can work in the real world, using real houses built from scratch by the competing teams.

Are you planning to attend Solar Decathlon this year? If you can’t attend, are you interested in following them on Facebook [5], Twitter [6], YouTube [7], or Flickr? [8]

Each week, you have the chance to share your thoughts on a question about energy efficiency or renewable energy for consumers. Please comment with your answers, and also feel free to respond to other comments.