Solar Decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy biennial student competition to design and build modern sustainable houses, was forced to close temporarily on Friday because of the Santa Ana winds whipping through the competition site at the Great Park in Irvine. About 1:30 p.m., however, officials said the houses would reopen for public touring around 2:30 this afternoon. Portions of the related green design expo remained temporarily closed Friday. [Update: The green design expo reopened Saturday.]
The houses are scheduled to be open through Sunday, closed for judging Monday through Wednesday, then reopen for public viewing Oct. 10 to 13. Severe seasonal winds forecast this weekend could pose some challenges for about 20 university teams, most of which have solar panels on roofs and temporary landscaping exposed on the competition site, a former Marine base runway.