In front of an audience of more than 100 people, the project managers of University of Maryland Solar Decathlon team and guest speakers used golden shovels to symbolically break ground on what will soon be a solar-powered house.
Before the groundbreaking, program manager Rob Murray spoke to the auidence about how much work the teamputs in to create the solar house.
"The scope of what we are doing is pretty incredible," Murray said. "People just see that it is a solar house demonstration, but they dont understand all the other facets of the project that we have to deal with."
The audience of friends, family, solar house alumni and team members were treated to a motivational speech from Richard King of the U.S.Department of Energy and the founder of the Solar Decathlon. King spoke with pride about how the solar decathlon grew from an idea into a week-long competition on the mall featuring 18 different schools from across the country and across the Atlantic Ocean. Using a presentation made up of pictures from the last solar decathlon and house designs from other schools King mentioned how competitive the opposition has become.
"I assumed that a lot of work went into it and it was interesting to hear his inspirations," said Drew Harmon, media teamleader.
The dean of the James Clark School of Engineering, Dr.Nariman Favardin and the dean of the school of architecture and planning, Garth C. Rockcastle also spoke at the ground breaking. They spoke with their own pride at watching the program at Maryland grow to include students from different disciplines and focuses. Each student, they pointed out, has something unique to offer the team in order for it to be successful.
Finally, a representative of BPsolar Todd Foley, spoke about the advancements in solar technology and other natural resources.
The ground breaking concluded with each of the speakers and the team managers putting on construction hats as they used golden shovels to turn the first mound of dirt. While the audience applauded, the group posed for pictures and a virtual tour of the future house ran in the background.
"We hoped that this would build excitement for what we are doing," Murraysaid. "[We wanted to] bring the team together to celebrate the work we have done so far."
Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Website