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SCU's Solar House competes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The hammers and hardhats are out again, as Santa Clara University's intrepid Solar Decathlon team busies itself in Washington, D.C., setting up the West Coast's only entry in the high-profile competition: the Department of Energy's 2007 Solar Decathlon.

Read the USA TODAY story on the Solar Decathlon and the Santa Clara entry

Read the Christian Science Monitor story on the Solar Decathlon and the Santa Clara entry

Watch Santa Clara University's Solar Decathlon video

The team, managed and led by SCU students, worked for more than a year on Santa Clara's solar home. About 80 students from the University's School of Engineering helped construct the house on the Mission campus. In September, the solar house was loaded onto two trucks and hauled across the country to Washington, D.C., where it is being finished in time for the opening ceremony Oct 12 on the National Mall.

The truck carrying the house suffered a broken axle in Nebraska, but the incident did not dampen the enthusiasm of the student-builders, who said they were excited to be in the nation's capitol among peers from 19 other schools who are equally committed to the philosophy of sustainable living.

"The mood is one of great excitement and encouragement, and the team is working well together and representing SCU beautifully," said Timothy Healy, professor of electrical engineering at Santa Clara University.

Their challenge for the past year has been to design, construct, and display a fully functional, 650-square-foot solar-powered home in a solar village in the nation's capital. The assembled houses will be on view to the public Oct. 12–20, according to the DOE, which anticipates more than 100,000 visitors touring the homes.

Teams will be judged in 10 different areas encompassing architecture, engineering, livability, lighting, cooking, comfort, and power generation for heating, cooling, cooking, and running appliances. The house will also have to power a car.

An awards ceremony is planned for Oct. 19.

Santa Clara University's house features a solar-thermal-driven air conditioner, bamboo I-beams, and self-tinting windows.

"The building of this house is truly a collaborative effort between students, faculty, and the community, and demonstrates the power and promise of alternative energy," said James Bickford, an SCU senior and project manager of SCU's Solar Decathlon team.

Among the teams SCU is competing against are: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Texas A&M University, University of Colorado at Denver and Boulder, Pennsylvania State University, and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

For team and competition updates:

Solar Decathlon Daily Journal & Blog

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,377 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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