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Photo of the sun rising just over the top of a solar house under construction. Photo of the exterior of a solar house, with about 15 men and women sitting on the deck listening to a man speak.

As one example of teamwork and focus entering the final stretch of house assembly, the Technische Universität Darmstadt team gives their full attention at a morning meeting.

Photo of two men, one handing a gift basket to the other.

BP representative John Curry hands a gift basket to Pierre-Yves Dufour of Team Montréal (École de Technologie Supérieure, Université de Montréal, and McGill University). BP, a major title sponsor of the 2007 Solar Decathlon, today brought a surprise of snacks and fruit to help refresh each of the hard-working teams as they push to the finish.

Photo of the exterior of a solar house with an opening in its side housing four shelves of batteries. A man stands in front of the shelves looking at orange plastic siding.

Eric Aponte of the Universidad de Puerto Rico team inspects the preform doors that will cover their house's battery room, a central feature of the design and structure, as well as of the solar power system.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 9, 2007

Day Seven: Countdown to Inspections

As the sun rises on day seven, the teams are getting ready for their final push to the finish of the assembly phase of the competition—only 40 hours or so are left. All of the houses have to be completely ready for final inspection on Thursday, day nine of the event. At this stage, the activity in the solar village looks a bit less hectic as the work on the outside of the houses diminishes. For many of the teams, however, the hard work continues unabated inside the houses, where the teams are polishing off the interior spaces.

While also focusing work on the house's interior, some the Universidad de Puerto Rico's efforts are now directed at finishing and enclosing their battery room. Interestingly, the Puerto Rico team's design incorporates the science of biomimicry: the transformation of nature's models into architectural applications to solve human problems. An analysis of a plant cell helped define the organization of the house's spaces. The design's nucleus is one of water and electricity: a central space housing the bathroom, battery room, laundry, and kitchen. The battery room contains 40 batteries—enough to provide electricity to the house for three or four days.

The unusual October heat wave the village has enjoyed ended this evening with a refreshing thunderstorm and its promise of cooler weather. The teams have moved many of their materials under cover. Several team members are getting pleasantly soaked, tossing a football or wiping the dust accumulated over several dry, hot days of working on their much-treasured solar houses. The village will be ready to shine for opening ceremonies in just a few days.