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Solar Decathlon 2011 Swings Into First Full Day of Construction

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carol Anna

Since the first trucks rolled onto the National Mall’s West Potomac Park late last night, the site of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 has become alive with activity. Surrounded by trucks and cranes, decathletes in full construction safety gear have wasted no time beginning assembly of their houses.

“The student teams are really pumped up. I’ve never seen teams so excited,” said Richard King, Solar Decathlon director.

Last week’s torrential rains made accessing the site difficult for many of the big rigs carrying houses. But the site is now drying out, and managing the flow of vehicles has become much easier.

But for three teams, the challenge to deliver their houses is not over yet.

Team Florida (The University of South Florida, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida) experienced delays with its FleX House being held up at the North Carolina border.

As of early afternoon, Florida International University still waited for the truck that carried its foundation footings (the first step in its construction process) to arrive, which held up several of the team’s other trucks.

Team Massachusetts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell) has been the hardest hit. Having experienced delays of its trucks along the road, this is the only team not yet onsite.

Alt: Photo of a group of people reclining in the grass.

Florida International University team members relax in the shade while waiting for their foundation footings to arrive. (Credit: Carol Anna/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Tom Meyers, Solar Decathlon building official, shared good news at the daily team meeting: Seven teams have passed their foundation inspections—with Purdue University being the first.

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

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