Let the Sun Shine In

Levi Strauss & Co.
October 10, 2013

The Solar Decathlon pits collegiate teams against each other in a contest to design, build and operate solar-powered houses.

The latest round is currently underway in the Southern California city of Irvine.

The winner of the U.S. Department of Energy competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with the best energy production and efficiency.

At Levi Strauss & Co., we’re all about sustainability. We work to build it into everything we do – starting with clothes that last. So this competition appealed to us.

We reached out to one of the teams from California, our home state. Our thought was we’d love to help out – by providing denim insulation made from recycled blue jeans (we have a special program for nonprofits). We used denim insulation when we recently remodeled our San Francisco headquarters, and we’ve been pretty happy with the results.

But the combined team from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology had gone another insulation route. So we had to settle for providing innovative blue jeans for the team members to wear.

We dressed them in Levi’® Water<Less™ jeans, which are made using significantly less water in the finish process.

The SCI-Arc/Caltech team in Levi's® Water<Less™ jeans.

The SCI-Arc/Caltech team in Levi’s® Water<Less™ jeans.

Going in to today, the SCI-Arc/Caltech team is 15th in the standings. Each team competes in a variety of categories, including architecture, market appeal, engineering, and more. Some categories, including affordability, are judged, while others, such as energy balance, are measured.

We’re confident that a last-minute category addition of “sustainable apparel” would move SCI-Arc/Caltech up to the top of the pack. That’s unlikely to happen, we realize. But we wish them – and all the participating teams – well.

If you’re near Irvine today through Sunday, you can see the homes in the Orange County Great Park. Find out more here.

Top Image Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon