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Good Energy at the Solar Decathlon 2011 Schematic Design Review Workshop

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

If you want to create a lot of energy, put 200 student decathletes and faculty from around the world in one room and feel the excitement rise from all the conversations.  Too bad there isn’t a way to tap that energy. Actually we do—each time we hold a Solar Decathlon workshop!

This year’s schematic design review workshop was held May 22 in Arlington, Virginia. The objective was to meet the teams selected to participate in Solar Decathlon 2011 and provide them with information necessary to successfully complete the next steps of their projects. Specific breakout sessions covered building and electrical codes, safety, site logistics, design requirements, and Web site development.  There was also plenty of time to answer questions by the teams.

Many of the decathletes have never been to the National Mall, so holding the workshop near Washington, DC, also provided them with the opportunity to scout out the solar village site and see exactly where their house lot will be.  Teams also checked out hotel options, hardware and building supply stores, truck routes, and other logistical details they will need during the competition.

By the time the decathletes departed, they had a ton of information to help them develop final designs over the summer and fall semesters.

The next workshop will be held in January 2011 in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the International Builders Show. Teams will receive feedback on their final designs before they begin building their house during the spring and summer semesters of 2011.

This year’s first workshop was very successful.  We enjoyed meeting the decathletes and university faculty.  The class of 2011 is bright, energetic, and full of good ideas.  We can’t wait to see them again in January.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. He frequently contributes his insider perspective to the Solar Decathlon news blog.

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