Skip navigation to main content. U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Click photo to view a larger image.

An aerial view of the Solar Decathlon includes 17 partially constructed solar houses, two large tents, a large crane, and a lot of construction clutter. The Washington Monument is visible in the background. An aerial view of the east end of the Solar Decathlon includes nine partially completed houses.

The east end of the Solar Decathlon includes nine solar houses, with a gap left on the corner by the missing house from Santa Clara University. Large blue solar panels are evident on the house from the Universidad Politcnica de Madrid, located in the lower right.

An aerial view of the west end of the Solar Decathlon includes ten partially completed houses, a large crane, and two tents.

In this photo of the west end of the Solar Decathlon, the team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is using a large crane to put a section of their house in place.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 4, 2007

Assembly Continues

It was another very hot, sunny day on the National Mall—perfect for building the village. This is the period when we pray for dry weather, because some houses still don't have roofs on them and building supplies are all over the place. If it is going to rain at some point, we hope it waits until the houses are fully built. This week is not the time for things to get wet.

An amazing amount of work was accomplished today. This is the most organized, hardest working group of decathletes we have ever had. We are so proud of them!

The assembly period will continue until next week. By Thursday, October 11th, all the houses will be completely built and ready for contest activities. Fire, safety, and code compliance inspections will take place then. Until then, teams will continue working until all their tasks are completed, and I'll be keeping you updated through the daily reporting from the solar village.

Yesterday, I wrote about the problems the Santa Clara team had delivering their house to Washington, D.C. They're now expecting the house to arrive tomorrow, but meanwhile another team's entry, the Kansas Project Solar House, arrived on Wednesday afternoon. Although their extra-wide load left Kansas a week ago, it was rerouted by construction, low bridges, and other challenges along its route, making it the second-last house to arrive on the National Mall.

Despite their setback, the team has quickly made up for lost time. One saving grace was shipping the house essentially complete, with only the decking and the solar panels still needing to be added. The interior is completely finished with drywall, and despite the long journey, the drywall survived without a single crack. A big factor in that is probably their use of structural insulating panels (SIPs) in the walls and ceilings.

These panels (which are commercially available) sandwich insulating foam between two pieces of particle board, creating a very stiff outer skin that resisted any shifting during transit. That feature will also serve the house well in its post-Decathlon destination: the house will go to tornado-torn Greensburg, Kansas, where it will serve as a model of green building. The house is a joint effort of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.

Finally, I took some photos from the roof of a near-by Smithsonian museum today. They say a picture is worth a thousands words, so I don't need to say anything more!