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Photo of Secretary Bodman cutting a wide ribbon with a pair of oversized scissors. He is flanked by several men and women in business suits with a crowd of college students behind him and the Capitol Building visible in the background. Photo of about a dozen people standing on a ramp leading up to a home.

The students from the Lawrence Technological University want to show how small changes in building and design practices can have a global impact. Here, visitors wait their chance to tour the Lawrence Tech home.

Photo of several people standing inside a house with a dining room table in the foreground and a kitchen in the background.

The University of Maryland team shows they are open and ready for business, which means taking visitors on a tour of their home. The Maryland students drew inspiration from nature's most efficient organism—the simple, yet vastly complex leaf. LEAF stands for "Leading Everyone to an Abundant Future."

Solar Decathlon 2007

Daily Journal - October 12, 2007

Visitors Crowd the Mall on Opening Day

With great fanfare and a military color guard, Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman cut the ribbon this morning to open the 2007 Solar Decathlon. The sun shone down from a blue sky here in Washington, D.C., as the wind blew briskly.

Secretary Bodman thanked the 20 teams of students and faculty advisers. "You are the reason we are here. Your dedication to architecture, engineering, and science is something to behold," he said. "Being part of the Solar Decathlon is one of the best things about my job."

A crowd of several hundred people, including members of Congress, foreign dignitaries, media representatives, and the very interested general public attended.

Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner introduced each of the 20 teams, who marched to the podium in spirited style and paused for a photo and handshake with Secretary Bodman. The first team up was Carnegie Mellon University, whose members followed in procession behind a bagpiper.

"When we put these buildings on the National Mall for all to see, the students show us all how we can transform the built environment into a solution rather than a problem," said Assistant Secretary Karsner. He added that Secretary Bodman often comments that the Solar Decathlon is among the most important things DOE does.

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony, lines of people quickly formed outside the houses for the first of the house tours. Larger-than-anticipated crowds continued to arrive on the National Mall throughout the afternoon. The teams showed they are ready to go, as students expertly guided visitors through their houses.

So the solar village is open and the contests begin tomorrow when the Architecture, Market Appeal, and Communications jurors begin judging the homes.

With all the press we're receiving, thousands of visitors are bound to come as well. The Solar Decathlon was the lead story in the metro section of this morning's Washington Post. More than 20 news groups from the major networks, cable news outlets, and metropolitan newspapers came to cover the event.