David Pogue's Circuits column in the New York Times this week is about the Solar Decathlon competition. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, 20 college and university teams competed to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house.

The homes must be completely "off the grid" and able to operate a full-range of home appliances and lighting. There is a photo gallery of all the designs online, including the winner by Technische Universitat Darmstadt in Germany . Check them out; these may be the wave of the future!