By Richard King
If you have to solve a problem, it’s generally true that two heads are better than one. But imagine having 2,000.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 university teams to design and build the best house that’s ever been built—a modern, fully sustainable house that can produce all its own energy. That’s a huge challenge, and it takes motivated students and faculty to do it. The universities recruit 40 to 100 students and faculty to form a team, and in some cases, teams total more than 100 members. That’s a lot of brain power! Now consider that 19 other universities are doing the same thing, and the brain power is multiplied even more. During the past two years, some 2,000 students and faculty have been working hard to design and build the best houses they can.
The solutions are impressive. The innovation and creativity are inspiring. The variety of design is amazing. The R&D is noteworthy and tangible.
Since the year 2000, the Department of Energy has invested in these university teams to help our country find better solutions. Our sponsors invest in the students because they hold so much promise. Together, we all win because they become a motivated, well trained workforce.
The word we know that comes next is “priceless.” That’s the power of 2,000.
Richard King is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.