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Real solar homes come to virtual world 'Second Life'

The Solar Decathlon organizers use Second Life to show off green building design with a virtual rendition of a solar-powered home.

It's about time green architects invaded Second Life.

The organizers of the Solar Decathlon are hosting an event in Second Life on Thursday where people can attend a virtual conference and then get a virtual walk-through of a house designed to be powered entirely by the sun.

The Second Life island hosted by Solar Decathlon/DOE organizers. JimmyJet Fossett

The Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to build the most compelling house that runs only on sun power.

Last year, 20 universities from different countries competed and showed off their modular homes on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in October. The next competition is in 2009.

As part of the Federal Virtual Worlds Expo, Solar Decathlon Director Richard King will present slides from last year's competition. Then they will teleport to a re-creation of the 2007 Universidad Polytecnica de Madrid Solar Decathlon home.

Even though virtual worlds are the hippest thing to come along to the online world in years, I still haven't ventured into any. Now I may have a reason.

Simulation of complex items, be it a car engine or a house, makes a lot of sense. And it saves a lot of people a trip, to boot.

The Solar Decathlon is using simulation in 'Second Life' to demonstrate green building design. JimmyJet Fossett