Orange County’s inaugural Sustainability Decathlon will take place next year at the OC Fair & Event Center, Sen. Dave Min announced Friday.
The 2023 event will feature 20 university-led teams from around the world vying to create zero-emission, all-electric homes.
“It’s going to be a massive event,” Min said. “We think this will draw a lot of attention. It’s going to be a great competition; it will help with tourism.
“As importantly, we hope it helps to create new innovations that we can scale up to help accelerate the process of building zero-emissions, all-electric homes here in California and beyond,” he said.
“This is the spirit of California. It’s entrepreneurialism; it’s promoting entrepreneurialism in spaces where we need innovation,” Min continued. “And given the climate emergency we’re facing now, we’re very excited about the possibilities of this competition.”
The event, modeled after the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, will be funded through private support as well as $5 million from the state budget.
Getting the Sustainability Decathlon off the ground – including securing the funding – has been a labor of love for Min, a Democrat whose district includes Costa Mesa. Min grew up in Silicon Valley and wants to see Orange Country transform into an environmental innovation hub.
“I think it is ripe for innovation and entrepreneurialism of the type that Silicon Valley is known for,” Min said. “I would really love to see Orange County become a green Silicon Valley, to be a cutting-edge home to green innovations of the type that will save our planet, that will help turn the tide on climate change.”
Fred Smoller, president and CEO of the Sustainability Decathlon, echoed those sentiments in a statement: “We’d like to see the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon to be a world’s fair of sustainability, where people will be both informed and entertained. The decathlon will be the catalyst for making Orange County the sustainability capital of the world.”
The decathlon will take place over a two-week period in October 2023, according to Mike Moodian, a co-founder and co-organizer.