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Photo of the University of Michigan 2005 Solar Decathlon house.

I have been wondering how the University of Michigan was going to enclose their house. Today the "endcaps" were delivered. I'll be interested to see their installation.

Photo of the 2005 Solar decathlon solar village under construction.

A slightly different perspective on the Solar Decathlon solar village today — this time looking east toward the Capitol.

Solar Decathlon 2005

Daily Journal — October 2, 2005

The sun rose over the Capitol building on this fine Sunday morning to awake the sleepy solar village. After pausing to reflect on the peaceful moment it occurred to me that the sun not only brings a new day but the power of life. The solar powered houses will use the sunlight to provide all the electricity, heating, cooling and hot water necessary to sustain a modern household. That may seem unbelievable to some, but not to these young architects, engineers and builders. They are simply using technology in innovative new ways.

By mid-day activity in the village was in full swing. Because everyone is on a mission to complete the house and have it "competition ready" by Wednesday afternoon, the pace is brisk. The industrious activity is much like watching an ant colony or a honeybee hive. Each worker has an assigned job and goes about it in a focused, coordinated way. There can be as many as 30 workers working on the house at any given moment — inside, outside, up on the roof, or under it wiring electrical cable. When a task is finished they waste no time move on to the next critical task. The teamwork is commendable, and we couldn't be more proud of the effort and energy they bring to the competition.

For the past two days I have been wondering how the University of Michigan was going to enclose their house. They have a very intriguing design with curved ceilings and a curved outer envelope to the house. It has been open on both ends so you can see right through the house. This afternoon a truck arrived on their site with two large end caps that will enclose the house. Now I am beginning to understand their design method and can't wait till tomorrow see how the ends fit together.

Yesterday, I gave an update to the teams' progress. Today I again walked down our main street, called Decathlete Way, to make another assessment. Again, this was only a inspection, i.e., which houses look most finished. There is still much to do inside these houses, but I want to give you an idea of progress.

So, as of 5 p.m. Sunday, October 2, the following six teams have been upgraded to a house fully enclosed with roof and siding. (yeah!)

These six teams join the following teams listed yesterday as fully enclosed:

Only four teams still do not have fully enclosed houses:

Hopefully all the teams will have an enclosed house by tomorrow night.

Reporting from the Village
Richard King, Department of Energy