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Photo of Secretary Bodman in a suit and wearing a hardhat, talking to about 10 team members from Santa Clara University. Two people wearing safety gear attach solar panels to the roof of a house, while three people install dark wooden siding to the walls, covering up a rough-looking layer of insulation.

Team Montréal installed the roof and siding over its yellow foam insulation today.

An aerial view looking east from the center of the solar village shows a number of homes approaching completion and one crane in the distance. In the background is the Capitol building. The walkways are now covered and a number of people are touring the site.

The solar village taking shape after three day of assembly. The view is looking east toward the Capital.

Photo of a house with a larger rear portion and a smaller front portion, both of which are rectangular with a roof sloped toward the south. A student wearing protective gear stands on the roof of the front portion and secures the roof of the rear portion in place.

The MIT team installed the roof on their house today.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 5, 2007

Secretary of Energy Visits the Solar Village

Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman visited the solar village today. He arrived about 2 p.m. and spent an hour visiting each house and talking to team members. He was mainly interested in the technologies they were using and how they were progressing. He gave a word of encouragement to the Santa Clara University team members, who were still waiting for their house to arrive. Secretary Bodman must have brought them a bit of good luck, because the teams house arrived just after 9 p.m.!

The rest of the village is progressing quickly. Most of the teams were focused on finishing their roof enclosures and installing their solar electric and hot water systems. Almost all of the heavy lifting is completed, and all the cranes left the National Mall, except for the one needed for the Santa Clara team. Tomorrow, teams will be busy enclosing their houses in case it rains, and then will start focusing more on the interiors.

The team from Canada calls themselves Team Montréal because they are made up of three schools in the Montréal area: École de Technologie Supérieure, Université de Montréal, and McGill University. This northern-climate team has a heavy emphasis on energy efficiency, and their house is super insulated. The team spent the day attaching the roofing and siding over their spray foam insulation. The yellow-colored insulation gave the house an unusual appearance until their beautiful siding was installed, and for awhile everyone had an interesting lesson in how the team designed the walls of their house.

Other than Team Montréal, only the Kansas Project Solar House is officially the product of more than one university (see yesterday's journal about the Kansas team). But even though 18 teams each carry the name of one university, the projects are often a collaborative effort involving a wider slice of the communities surrounding the universities. An interesting example is the entry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT kicked off the project and generated the initial design in a workshop that ended in June 2006. After that, MIT continued to lead the project, but also reached out to the community for help. That led to the heavy involvement of the Boston Architectural College, a school just across the Charles River from MIT that places an emphasis on both design and construction, an educational model that fits well with the Solar Decathlon. Other team members hail from Harvard, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Boston College, and the Massachusetts College of Art. The team got help from people as young as 14 and as old as 89.

"Without these volunteers, this project would not have been possible," says MIT's Corey Fucetola, the project manager for the team. And that reflects the spirit of teamwork and cooperation that is a key character of the Solar Decathlon.