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Denver, Colorado

Posts Tagged ‘Solar Decathlon’

Time to Shine

Saturday, October 10, 2015

By Richard King

“Time to shine” is our theme. I think it is very appropriate for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Time is important to all of us. Especially since a lifetime is rather short when compared to all of human history. There are only a few times in your life that are truly memorable, and we all want to have the “time of our lives.”

The Solar Decathlon 2015 decathletes invested a huge amount of time to build their houses. They invested more time to reassemble them here in California. That invested time has benefits that will pay dividends for the rest of their lifetimes. And ours.

Photo of a young man speaking to a group of people.

Nate Heckman (center) of University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, gives a tour of the GRoWlarium, which is a combination solarium and green house at Solar Decathlon 2015. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

I like shine because the sun shines on us every day. And because the Solar Decathlon gives decathletes an opportunity to show the public their incredible work on a national stage. Solar decathletes are shining examples to us all.

It’s time to shine! Come be inspired by these amazing students and their houses. Visit the Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park. We’re open tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and we reopen during the same hours next Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 14-18. I hope to see you soon!

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

First Points

Friday, October 9, 2015

By Richard King

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 competition started yesterday at 11 a.m., giving teams nine days (until 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16) to prove they have the best house and a winning team.

The 10 Solar Decathlon contests are each worth 100 points for a total of 1,000 points. The first contest in which teams can start winning points is Contest 7: Appliances. Teams must turn on their refrigerator and freezer and keep them running consistently at specified temperatures for the entire nine days. To win the most points in Contest 7, the decathletes need to learn how to use all of their appliances (refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, cooktops, clothes washers and dryers) most efficiently.

Photo of two men weighing towels on a scale.

Decathletes from the University of California, Davis, Solar Decathlon 2015 team weigh towels for the Appliances Contest after they were washed and dried in their competition house on Friday, Oct. 9. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Teams receive 20 points for running their refrigerator and freezer optimally for the nine days. Each hour increment is worth one-half point. It will take a while, but by Oct. 16, the points should add up to 20.

Last night, the University of Buffalo held the lead, based primarily on the use of the team’s refrigerator and freezer.

Check out the scores and standings on our website, which are updated every 15 minutes.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Energy Secretary Opens Solar Decathlon Village

Thursday, October 8, 2015

By Carol Laurie

To the cheers of hundreds of student decathletes, Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz brandished a pair of giant scissors and cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 village. The competition and public exhibit have begun!

Photo of a large group of people standing behind a ribbon falling away from a pair of giant scissors.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (center) cuts the ribbon to officially open the Solar Decathlon 2015 village. Joining him are (left to right) Gaddi Vasquez, senior VP of Edison International; Serge Goldenberg, senior VP of Schneider International; Richard King, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon; Christine Shea, council member for Irvine, California; Mary Wenzel, senior VP for Wells Fargo; Beth Krom, council member for Irvine, California; and Lynn Schott, council member for Irvine, California. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Opening day began with a photo of Solar Decathlon 2015 student team members, followed by the opening ceremony, which took place in historic Hangar 244 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Moniz’s keynote speech provided inspiration to the teams.

Aerial photo of a large group of people.

Teams cheer in front of the Solar Decathlon village during an all-team photo on opening day of the 2015 competition at the Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Speakers included Solar Decathlon Director Richard King, representatives from top-level sponsors Edison International, Schneider Electric, and Wells Fargo; and the City of Irvine City Council. The fun began when Moniz and King introduced the teams, whose excitement spread throughout the room.

Photo of a group of people stacking their hands on top of each other.

Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz is surrounded by team members from the University of California, Davis, during the Solar Decathlon 2015 opening ceremony. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“These teams have been working hard for two years and they’re ecstatic to finally reach this moment,” says King. “To top it off, the Secretary of Energy told the students how important their work is designing, building, and operating these solar houses and how they’re going to be the next generation of energy leaders.”

With the Solar Decathlon village now open to visitors, Moniz toured houses of several teams: California State University, Sacramento; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Stevens Institute of Technology; and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Not only is the village open, but today also marks the first day of the competition. Follow along, check out the team scores over the next eight days, and see who wins on October 18!

Carol Laurie is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

 

Get Ready for Solar Decathlon 2015!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By Carol Laurie

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 opens to the public on Oct. 8—just over a week away. Whether you’re coming from far away or nearby Southern California, it’s time to plan your visit.

Here’s what you need to know.

Photo of crowds of visitors within the Solar Decathlon village.

It’s time to plan your visit to Solar Decathlon 2015! In addition to tours of the competition houses and village, you can enjoy sponsor exhibits and a variety of activities at the Orange County Great Park. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

When and Where To Go
The Solar Decathlon takes place Oct. 8–18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

• Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015
• Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

The Solar Decathlon village will be closed Oct. 12–14 for competition activities.

What To Do
Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives you the opportunity to tour solar-powered houses, gather ideas to use in your own home, and learn how energy-saving features can help you save money.

Explore all there is to do during your visit:

  • Take a tour – Learn about the individual competition houses from the students who designed and built them, or gain a high-level perspective on a docent-guided tour of the Solar Decathlon village.
  • Attend a ceremony – Join Solar Decathlon teams, organizers, sponsors, and local and national dignitaries as we celebrate the milestones and successes of Solar Decathlon 2015.
  • Visit our sponsors – The Sustaining Sponsors of Solar Decathlon 2015 will offer entertaining and educational exhibits for visitors.
  • Explore the Orange County Great Park – Enjoy the children’s activities area, a UC Irvine 50th anniversary exhibit in the Great Park Art Gallery, the carousel, visitors center, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock playground, and more.
  • Satisfy your cravings – Stay refreshed with food and beverage, which will be available for purchase in the Solar Decathlon village.

How To Get There
There are lots of ways to get to the Orange County Great Park—by public transit, bicycle, or car. The Orange County Great Park charges a $10 parking fee per vehicle, and shuttles will transport you between the parking area and the Solar Decathlon village from 10 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. on public exhibit days.

However you arrive, you’re sure to have lots of fun and be inspired by the decathletes and their amazing houses. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Visit the Solar Decathlon website for more information.

Carol Laurie is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

Ready, Set, Go! Assembly Begins at Solar Decathlon 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

By Carol Laurie

As the word “Go!” boomed through the bullhorn, several hundred decathletes broke through a ribbon of construction tape and onto the site where assembly of their U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 houses was about to begin.

Trucks began to roll in carrying sections of houses and equipment, and students rushed to their lots to begin the process of reassembling their houses.

The race is on. After two years of hard work designing, fundraising, and finally transporting their projects to the Solar Decathlon competition, these decathletes now have nine days to assemble their houses.

Photo of people wearing safety gear and breaking through a line of ribbon.

Decathletes rush onto the competition site at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, to begin assembly of their Solar Decathlon 2015 houses. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Within the first hour, a village had begun to grow.

“This is so, so awesome. It’s the first day of assembly and everyone is excited to be finally here after preparing for two years,” says Solar Decathlon Director Richard King. “And what a difference an hour makes! It’s truly amazing. I’m standing in the middle of the construction site and everywhere I look, there’s something going on. Trucks, cranes, people moving. These teams are really going at it. They’re super organized—some are really far along already.”

King explains that assembly is crucial to a team’s success in the competition.

“They can’t begin the competition or host public visitors until their assembly is completed and inspections are signed off,” he says. “Teams that start racking up points from the very beginning are more likely to win. So the sooner they can complete assembly the better off they will be. The goal is to be ready when the competition starts on October 8.”

As each house nears completion, the teams are required to pass a variety of inspections—including building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and final safety inspections—to ensure compliance with the Solar Decathlon Building Code. Teams start earning points when the competition formally begins on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m.

Aerial photo of the Solar Decathlon village during construction, showing a crane and several houses.

On the first day of assembly at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, Solar Decathlon Director Richard King captures the view from his favorite perch on the scissors lift. The house in the foreground is Reflect Home from California State University, Sacramento. (Credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon takes place Oct. 8–18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

  • Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015
  • Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

Visit the Solar Decathlon website for more information.

Carol Laurie is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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