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A Radiant Showing Day 1

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013

Yesterday was the official opening day for the Solar Decathlon and SCU was front and center at the opening ceremony as our own Fr. Jim Reites was on the dais as a featured speaker! Papa Reites spoke movingly about his experience as a faculty advisor to three SCU Solar Decathlon teams and was the only representative from any of the teams to speak. Later, when all the teams were called individually to the stage for a photo, the emcee announced "Santa Clara University, resplendent in red!" Awesome! (See our School of Engineering flag flying proudly in the group photo of opening day.)

Public tours began shortly thereafter and Radiant House welcomed more than 1,200 attendees through its doors the first day. Dr. Hight reports that our Broncos were very efficient at keeping a steady stream of visitors coming through while other teams chose to limit and control their flow by giving set talks at particular "tour stops"—resulting in attendance approximately one-third as large as Santa Clara's.

Initial impressions from visitors are positive for both Radiant House and for our knowledgeable and enthusiastic students, and people are loving the palm tree, the dog house, the deck (yea! it was worth the effort), and our gorgeous mech room with its wine barrel being used for thermal storage (an homage to California!).

Once the tours ended at 7 p.m., the house was closed up and all lights turned on because monitoring was being conducted for the comfort zone and lighting contests. Meanwhile,  dinner was prepared for a few fellow Decathletes while three of our students enjoyed dining in other entrants' homes.

Today the team will be washing clothes, drawing hot water, and performing other contested tasks. Scores from some of these measured contests are starting to come in (warning: monitoring of Solar Decathlon scores may be habit-forming), and at the time of this post—despite losing a few hundredths of a point when the refrigerator door was opened to store some food for the dinner party—Santa Clara is in 3rd place! Yes, it's early in the game and the bulk of the scores won't be in until next week, but we're allowed to be excited for our Broncos.

Don't forget to cast your ballot for Santa Clara University in the People's Choice Award contest. You can vote repeatedly if you have multiple email addresses. Vote here. Go Broncos!

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