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Photo of Solar Decathlon houses being assembled on the National Mall with the U.S. Capitol building in the background.

Teams and organizers continue work around the clock to assemble the solar village together. The U.S. Capitol presides serenely over the scene.

Photo of two team members from the Canadian Solar Decathlon team with the Canadian flag.

This is an international field of competitors. Team Canada is hard at work on their house.

Solar Decathlon 2005

Daily Journal — September 30, 2005

It's only day two of the 2005 Solar Decathlon, and each day is already full of surprises! The best one today was that the Rhode Island School of Design's house had arrived during the night and was ready to be unloaded. The team was so delighted to finally be on the Mall. The Florida International University team had unloaded their house during the night, so the only house yet to arrive is Crowder College.

As I reported yesterday, the truck carrying the Crowder house broke an axle and was set back more than a day by the incident. Well, when it rains, it pours. The Crowder truck broke down for a second time, further delaying the arrival of the Crowder house.

Rather than dwell on the negative, and in a true sign of camaraderie, the Crowder College team is helping the Cornell University team. Cornell was short team members on the first day and needed some help building the home, and Crowder is still waiting for their house to arrive. So, as good neighbors will do, the two teams got together and agreed to help each other out. Crowder will help Cornell build today, while Cornell is in need. And when the Crowder house arrives, Cornell will reciprocate by helping Crowder catch up so they won't be too far behind.

Another sign that we are indeed building a village and a sense of community occurred this morning at our daily 9 a.m. team meeting. We had just reported on Crowder's difficulties with their truck breaking down a second time, when Art Boyt, the Crowder faculty advisor, arrived at the meeting. Everyone cheered as he was introduced and described his road story. As of 9 a.m., the house was only about five hours away. Hurray! We will have all the houses on the Mall by tonight.

Building continued in the largest construction site ever erected on the National Mall. We have all seen the extreme home shows on TV — Well, it's as if 18 extreme homes were being built in rapid fashion at once. What an awesome place to be!

I especially like to see the houses come alive. It reminds me of a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. You don't know what beauty lies beneath until all the walls and roof have been fully assembled. Each minute, each hour, each day adds another dimension to the houses and the Solar Decathlon village. It makes me savor each minute and look forward to the next day with great anticipation.

Sprint-Nextel, one of the Solar Decathlon sponsors, provided lunches today for all the workers. So we had groups of students and work crews (mixed and matched from various schools) sitting in circles enjoying a minute's rest and refreshment courtesy of Sprint. Then it was back to work. Only four more days to get the houses built!

Tomorrow will be another day of clear weather to work in. I anticipate much will be accomplished by these amazing decathletes.

Reporting from the village,
Richard King
Solar Decathlon Organizer