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Photo of 12 people from the Colorado and Georgia Tech teams lifting a metal grid into place on the south side of the Colorado team's house. Photo of a half-sphere-shaped hot tub sitting on the deck of the house from the University of Texas at Austin. Tubes extend from the hot tub to the rear of the house, where a coil provides a way to heat the water.

Considering the heat, the University of Texas at Austin might not find many opportunities to use their hot tub, which can be heated with their solar hot water system.

Photo of a home with a large open gap spanning one corner. Two people, several ladders, and interior trim are visible through the gap. Two other people are standing on the roof.

The University of Missouri-Rolla team is employing natural ventilation to keep their house cool—at least until the final wall goes up!

Photo of a young woman cleaning a set of wooden slats mounted on the edge of a deck, while other sets of wooden slats lean against the deck, awaiting installation. The house itself has a largely glass exterior, and two young men stand on the deck near the glass façade.

The team from Texas A&M University is ornamenting its house with shading devices, which should help to beat the heat.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 6, 2007

A Hot Fourth Day of Assembly

We're halfway thereto having the houses and village fully assembled, that is. Today is the fourth day of the eight-day assembly period. By Wednesday, October 10th, all of the work needs to be done so that final inspections can be completed by Thursday afternoon. The houses are scheduled to be opened for media tours from 5:006:30 p.m. on Thursday, and before anyone will be allowed in the houses, they must pass inspection.

Most of the teams believe they are on schedule, or even a bit ahead of schedule. As I look out and assess the status of the building progress, I make the same conclusion. Overall, we seem to be just a bit further along this year than we were in previous Solar Decathlons. Of course, teams are working 24 hours a day. You can see some night shots of the teams at work in our Photos of the Day.

A likely reason for the swift progress is the incredible teamwork, which is readily evident. Just check out the photo of the Georgia Tech team helping out the Colorado team with lifting a metal shading device into place. If anyone wants to set the bar for teamwork, they would have to raise it very high in order to surpass the level being exhibited out here at the Solar Decathlon. Each university team is a tight-knit unit, with a team leader, sub-team leaders, and workers with clear tasks and responsibilities, and everyone goes about their jobs with remarkable efficiency. Now multiply that by 20, and you get an army of decathletes building a village in eight days! Id challenge professional builders to compete with them anytime!

The teams are managing to keep up their spirits and teamwork despite the unremitting heat and humidity. Wow, is it hot. What unusual weather for October in Washington. It feels like 90F out on the Mall. Thank goodness for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), one of the Solar Decathlon sponsors, which is providing water for all the hard-working decathletes. Wed be dying otherwise! Thank you, USGBC.