2011 Video Blog: Architecture Awards Ceremony

Uploaded by DOESolarDecathlon on 30.09.2011

>> RICHARD KING: Good afternoon. Welcome to the Solar Decathlon. We're here to give out
architecture awards today up here in this magnificent auditorium. Beautiful place. We
wanted the students to get as close to the Capitol as they could. Well, you're under
it right now, so that's pretty close.
I can't believe how close this competition is. I started looking through the results
and going into the individual contests. For anyone who's doing that on our web page, it's
pretty cool. But all week long now, even in this cloudy weather, these teams have been
performing, you know, eating meals, cooking, and washing dishes, washing clothes, drying
clothes – tough one – running their refrigerators, which is all a part, appliances. And there's
a four-way tie in that competition right now: Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, Canada. Middlebury
and Tidewater right behind 'em. It's just so, so close. They've been all making hot
water. Amazingly, there's an eight-way tie. Eight teams have aced that competition so
far, every test. That's a good indication that these are the most reliable houses we've
ever had. Home entertainment is essentially an entire 19-way tie. There's only six points
or eight points between the top and the bottom in that contest. Amazing.
And comfort zone has the most separation, but we all know it's been 90 percent humidity
out here. I know you're keeping your places cool, but probably not all of you are struggling
to get all that humidity out of your house, so it's an amazingly close competition, and
congratulations goes out to all of you for doing that. That's terrific.
So before we get into the coveted architecture award, you just had some nice refreshments
out there, and that's brought to you by Applied Materials. They're a proud sponsor of this
event. And it's my distinct honor to introduce to you Mark Walker, who's the managing director
in global community affairs for Applied Materials. Mark?
>> MARK WALKER: Well, good afternoon, everyone. And Richard, thank you. It's just always an
honor for Applied Materials to be part of incredible initiatives like this. A special
thank you today to Senator Menendez and the great work that he does on behalf of all of
us around solar and renewable energy, and Hal Connolly. We appreciate all of those great
Also delighted to be here with our great friends at SEIA, and you'll hear from their president
in a little bit about that wonderful industry association that helps us move things forward
in a very important manner in the U.S.
You know, I'm excited about the architecture awards. I don't know about you. I've got a
little bit of money riding on which house might win.
I wish I knew the answer – oh, we're not allowed to wager in – I'm sorry.
But my hat's off. I didn't know how to express how proud we are of the work that you all
are doing, at Applied Materials, with the houses, but the architecture is just superb
with every one of them. Unfortunately, I can't afford to buy all of them, probably not even
one. But it would be an honor to live in any one of your homes, based on architectural
style alone.
And, really, it's neat to see the energy that the Department of Energy creates around inspiring
this next generation of innovators. For us at Applied Materials, that's really what it's
all about, is helping you all achieve your dreams and aspirations and get this experience
that you have and that you've gotten this past month. And we know through watching the
marketplace that solar innovations have really ramped up the last year or so, and they're
continuing to progress. And we will see prices continue to drop, which will make them much
more competitive in the environment. When that happens, just watch this thing take off,
because it's gonna really create jobs and opportunity for so many people.
But we also know that it's not just the brightest minds from our students and from those of
us in the industry today that will make this a reality. It's going to take an incredible
partnership with government. And what we've seen around the world is government coming
together with private sector to create the appropriate incentives to make the things
that we all care deeply about a reality.
So we would be remiss if we didn't say here, very near the halls of Congress, how important
a role it is for government to continue to provide the appropriate incentives around
deployment, around financing, around development, and the adoption and manufacturing of things
right here in the United States. It delighted me to hear a couple of you who said "We partnered
with an organization in our back yard who is manufacturing." And we're so proud that
they chose to work with our university and our team. And we very much look forward to
the day when more and more of us can say that, and it's gonna take a strong partnership from
all of us to do that.
I will pause here and say congratulations to each of you. I'm really looking forward
to hearing who the winning teams are today, and continue the great work. You are an inspiration
for all of us. Thank you.
>> RICHARD KING: Thanks, Mark. Next I'd like to introduce Rhone Resch. He's the president
and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. SEIA helped coordinate this event that we
have up here on the Hill. If it wasn't for them, we might not be here. And they're also
a contributing sponsor to the event, so Rhone?
>> RHONE RESCH: Thank you very much, Richard. It looks like the sun has finally come out.
It's ironic that we're actually inside, below grade, on what is probably the nicest day
of the decathlon. And I often joke with Richard that the best way to break a drought in this
city is to bring the Solar Decathlon into Washington. And that's unfortunately what's
been the case these last couple of weeks.
In previous years, we've seen people out there with squeegees, actually cleaning the modules
and wiping off the dust. But I gotta imagine everybody's house is squeaky clean and those
modules are performing perfectly this afternoon after the rain. So there is a bright spot
after the rains go, is that your modules are clean and they're probably performing as well
as they possibly could.
As Richard mentioned, I run a group called SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association.
We're the national trade association for solar. What is a trade association? Well, it means
we are your industry group that advocates on behalf of solar companies in the United
States. It means we're advancing policy at the federal level; we're advancing policy
at the state level. We're helping to open up markets in this country. We're helping
to make sure that we have a level playing field with other energy technologies, that
the incentives given to the oil and gas industry in the teens and the coal industry in the
'30s and the nuclear industry in the '50s are also applied to the solar industry, that
we have the opportunity to grow this industry based not on subsidies but on access to markets.
And that's absolutely critical, because as we look at this industry today, we are the
fastest growing in the country. There's over 100,000 people employed in the solar industry
in the United States alone. Five thousand companies. And most of those companies are
small businesses here in the U.S. that are employing people.
And when we look at how we're going forward, how we're gonna make sure this industry is
gonna grow, a lot of that's gonna require consistency in policy. I know it sounds kinda
boring. "Policy? We wanna hear who actually won the award." But I do wanna take a moment,
'cause we are in the Capitol, to talk about policy, 'cause it's absolutely critical.
The energy industry is probably one of the most heavily regulated industries we have
in this country. And unfortunately, in order for solar to compete, in order to put solar
on your home in the United States, policy change needs to occur. In many places in the
United States, you can't put solar on your house. You know why? Your homeowners' association
doesn't allow it, or your utility has put in place regulations that prevent you from
net metering or interconnecting into the grid. That's a fundamental barrier from competing
in the electricity marketplace. How un-American is that? So what we're trying to do is advance
policies to help open up these markets and just give every homeowner the right to go
solar. And it's almost un-American to think that that's not the case today, but we're
certainly working hard to change that.
And as Mark pointed out, the students here are doing an absolutely fantastic job, not
only in the architecture, but in all of the performance measures, and my hat goes off
to all of you. And when you're graduating from college, either later this year or next
year, unfortunately you're gonna be entering into one of the most difficult job markets
that this country's ever seen and, in particular, for your age group. The unemployment rate
for your age group is the highest it's been since World War II. Forty-five percent of
students from 16 to 29 are unemployed in this country. It's a crazy statistic, but unfortunately
that's the state of America today.
The great news, however, is that when you graduate, you will be graduating into an industry
that is hiring, an industry that's creating opportunity, an industry that's welcoming
your ingenuity and your ability to take concept and apply it in real commercial application.
And so I think you guys have a greater opportunity than, frankly, anybody else who's graduating
from college today. And we're gonna keep that going, not just through the work we do at
SEIA, but as the industry as a whole. And we're gonna make sure that these new opportunities
are available for all of you.
And so I wanna start today by pointing to one person that's really helping to create
those opportunities for you. And it's ironic that we're talking about the architecture
award, because this gentleman is actually the architect of some of the best energy policy
ever created in this country, and that's Senator Menendez. Senator Menendez comes from New
Jersey. He's a member of the Finance Committee, and he has been a solar champion for as long
as I've known him, both in the Senate and in the House and before he even came to Washington.
Just to give you a perspective, he has been a strong supporter of a program called the
1603 Treasury Program. May not mean anything to you, but when you're in the business, you'll
realize this is the most effective policy, period, in advancing renewable energy in this
country. He's also been an extremely strong supporter of trying to get manufacturing to
locate here in the United States and supporting U.S. manufacturing with tax credits, absolutely
critical if we wanna create those next-generation factories in Michigan, in Tennessee, Ohio,
and certainly New Jersey as well.
And then, perhaps most importantly, he understands the fact that solar needs policy advancements
in order for us to connect to the grid. And he introduced the Grid Access Act that creates
direct standards, consistent standards for interconnection across the entire country,
and to require retail net metering in all utility districts around the United States.
Absolutely critical.
And, perhaps most important to everybody here, Senator Menendez took the lead in fighting
to keep the Solar Decathlon in Washington, down on the Mall, where the American public
can see it and access it readily. You may not have known that, but we got kicked off
the Mall to the book fair. I mean, I don't know how many people are still using books.
Most of it's e-reader, but yes, we got kicked off the Mall for a book fair.
So we're in a new location this year, which I think Richard's working on extremely well,
and I congratulate you for finding it and pulling that together. But it was Senator
Menendez who really made the effort to reach out to the Department of Interior and say,
"No, no, no, we're not moving this out to a suburb in Virginia or Maryland. We're keeping
it right here on the Mall," and he did a fantastic job in making sure that happened.
So with that, I wanna just take a moment to recognize Senator Menendez by giving him our
2011 SEIA Solar Leadership Award. And this isn't a one-off kind of thing. This is something
that you could really look at his entire career and say Senator Menendez has been a leader
in the solar industry for the last decade or more. And we certainly thank him for his
leadership, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as we advance markets in
the solar industry. So with that, I'd like to invite Hal Connolly up from Senator Menendez's
office and present him with this award. Hal? Congratulations.
And before I turn the microphone over to Hal, obviously his boss is a great leader in solar
energy, but as anybody will tell you, a boss is only as good as his staff, and Hal is truly
one of the greatest leaders in clean energy in this country today, through Senator Menendez's
office. He has constantly been a strong advocate, fighting the tough fight against really, really
almost impossible odds. And so as much as this award goes to Senator Menendez, it also
goes to Hal for his leadership. So please help me thank Hal personally for his strong
>> HAL CONNOLLY: Thanks, everybody. Unfortunately, the senator could not be here today because
of pressing business back in New Jersey, but thanks so much for having us. I just wanted
to be here to say a few words that – first of all, I'd just like to clarify that the
senator is still pro-book. He's okay with the book fair.
I didn't want any misimpressions there. But, you know, this event is very important to
the senator because it really shows how far we've come in solar energy. In 2002, New Jersey
had just a handful of solar installations. Today, we're approaching 11,000. And the senator
is very proud that he could play a part in making that happen and crafting federal policies
to make it happen.
Thank you to Rhone for this great award and for the great work that SEIA and all of you
play in making the solar industry a success and the fastest-growing industry in America
right now. So thank you very much. I'll keep it short so we can see who won the architecture
award. Thank you.
>> RHONE RESCH: Well, Hal, stay up here because not only did the senator do great work to
keep our event here in Washington, but he also challenged the New Jersey teams – when
he saw the 2009 event, he said, "Hey, how come there's not a New Jersey team in the
Solar Decathlon?" So at this time, I'd like to invite up to the stage Melanie Davidson
and Jordan Tait from New Jersey. And the Parsons-Stevens – the Stevens side of that, Stevens Institute
of Technology, is also from New Jersey. So is there a representative from Stevens up
here? Okay, come on up. And what we have is a gift for the senator, and will Elisabeth
Neigert also come up? Because this is really on behalf of all of the teams here.
>> JORDAN TAIT: Thanks, Rich. How's everyone doing? Okay, well, I think I can speak for
most of the decathletes, and most certainly for Team New Jersey, in saying that the past
two weeks have some of the most exhausting of our lives. But at the same time, they've
been the most gratifying. We've learned about the technical ins and outs of building a smart,
sustainable home. But moreover, we've learned how important it is to be a leader in a movement
that is critical for our nation's future.
A little over a year and a half ago, as Richard stated, Senator Menendez challenged our state
universities to become a part of the Solar Decathlon, and we think the invitation was
especially apropos considering that, until now, there have been no other New Jersey universities
in the decathlon.
We appreciate both Hal Connolly and the senator for campaigning for the green movement. We'd
like to extend our sincerest gratitude for bringing this kind of awareness to the public.
We want to thank the senator and his constituencies for proposing Solar Decathlon as a challenge
for universities, as it's certainly changed the future of the students and the people
involved, as well as the surrounding states and countries.
Team New Jersey is very happy to be a part of the Solar Decathlon, and we're very happy
to have our house in our home state at Liberty Science Center, and we think the senator has
been a very big part of that. So thanks again.
>> DAN TIPALDO: In addition, we would like to thank you, as well as Richard and other
competition organizers, for presenting us with this challenge to compete in the Solar
Decathlon. Doing so has really given us the opportunity to put our skills to the test.
At Stevens Institute of Technology, we feel as though that this challenge isn't just about
a competition, but it's about how innovation and technology can make housing more durable
and valuable for a first-time homeowner. We are working to bring the concepts used from
this project back to New Jersey so that we can increase energy independence amongst people
who need it the most. This project has allowed Stevens to collaborate not only with our teammates,
Parsons and Milano, but also with Habitat for Humanity; Washington, D.C., agencies;
and the Deanwood community to build the first net-zero home in D.C. We wouldn't be in this
position without your support in keeping us on the National Mall, and we are truly thankful.
>> ELISABETH NEIGERT: So on behalf of all the decathletes, we'd like to thank Senator
Menendez for helping us remain in this iconic site on the National Mall. And we'd like to
present a picture of all the decathletes with our signatures so that he can be reminded
of our general thanks and support.
>> HAL CONNOLLY: The senator wanted me to roll a little video that he prepared for this
occasion and to thank again all you students for all your hard work in this tremendous
event. So I think we can roll the video. Thank you.
>> SENATOR MENENDEZ: Good afternoon. I'm sorry I couldn't be with you in person, but it has
been an honor to play a part in this year's Solar Decathlon competition. I'm thrilled
our hard work has paid off and the competition is still taking place in the heart of the
capital. In particular, I wanna thank Richard King and Betsy Howell Black from the Department
of Energy for making this event possible, and Rhone Resch, who has been a tireless advocate
for the solar industry and for the Solar Decathlon in particular.
The Solar Decathlon is truly an amazing event for so many reasons. It showcases the solar
industry, the fastest-growing industry in the nation. It brings the best and brightest
innovators from around the world, in several different disciplines, and an incredible display
of state-of-the-art design and technology. And it's an important educational venue for
the public to learn about the solar industry.
But the true essence of what makes the event great is that it gives us all hope: hope that
whatever partisan politics is blocking progress on climate change, that whatever interests
and industries want to block the expansion of clean renewable energy, progress continues.
Innovation, hard work, and the imagination of our young leaders is unstoppable and cannot
be held back no matter how much money or power polluting industries have.
I've always found this competition inspiring, but in the past it has always been something
that's very important to me, but something's been missing. And that missing piece is a
competitor from New Jersey. So in 2009, I issued a public challenge to New Jersey's
universities. Three schools on two teams answered the challenge. Rutgers University and the
New Jersey Institute of Technology joined forces to form Team New Jersey. And Stevens
Institute of Technology worked with partners Parsons and the new school from across the
Hudson River to build the Empowerhouse. I could not be more proud that these incredible
schools have answered this challenge and today are proudly representing New Jersey.
Of course, as proud as I was about our New Jersey entries, I was discouraged that there
were efforts to move the competition off the Mall. I thought it would send the wrong message
at a time when we should be promoting solar energy and green jobs for the future. And
I was proud to work alongside student competitors to push, cajole, argue, even shame certain
officials to reverse their decision and find a place on the National Mall for this competition.
And together, we won a big victory before the competition even began.
So, again, I'm sorry I couldn't be with you, but thank you all for your work and your sacrifice
to make this competition a success. And thank you for the photo signed by all of the competitors
to commemorate this competition. It will hold a place of honor in my office. Good luck,
enjoy the competition, and don't forget to have some fun as well.
>> RICHARD KING: Wow, that was a great message. Be sure to tell him for us.
Okay. Now, for the architecture contest, teams are required to design and build attractive,
high-performance houses that integrate solar energy and energy efficiency technologies
seamlessly into the design. A jury of professional architects evaluates architectural elements,
holistic design, lighting, inspiration, and documentation such as drawings and project
I'd like to thank our architecture contest jury this year, Paul Hutton, Michelle Kaufmann,
and Bob Schubert, for filling out that architecture jury, going around from house to house over
two days. I went and saw them Saturday morning. It was early. They were deliberating. They
deliberated for about four hours into the afternoon, so I don't even know who's in the
envelopes over there. But they were extremely impressed with all your work, and told me
it was really a hard decision.
Unfortunately, none of these jury members could be here today. So I asked Dennis Andrejko,
vice president of the American Institute of Architects here in Washington, D.C., to help
us present the architecture awards on the jurors' behalf. So Dennis, please join me
up here at the podium. And he's gonna read the comments, starting with third place.
>> DENNIS A. ANDREJKO: Thank you, Richard, and thank you, everyone, for the honor and
pleasure of being here today to represent the AIA and recognize the architecture contest
winners. Jury members are not here, as was just mentioned. Maybe that's a safe bet, maybe
not. I don't know. But I'm here on their behalf, and, again, it is an honor. But also to be
here in this room with you all, our future leaders, as you mark your journey forward
into, I think, a lot of challenge but also a lot of opportunity.
The jurors for the contest would like me to say how inspired they were by all of the decathlon
projects this year. And while most of their deliberations were conducted, I understand,
in the rain, their spirits were not dampened, but rather constantly rejuvenated by the enthusiasm
of the decathlete presenters. Not only were the students enthusiastic; they were highly
professional and passionate about their projects. Another observation that became clear to the
jury was how the overall quality of the projects has evolved from the very first decathlon
in 2002. Impeccable detailing, excellent craftsmanship, and inspired innovation have become the norm
rather than the exception. Somebody just got a text.
Maybe that's an early result. I don't know.
The Solar Decathlon continues to be a source of inspiration to us all, extending its realm
of influence like a branching network connecting students with bright ideas and innovative
exploration to consumers, to industry, and to our respective professions. This is what
keeps the decathlon vibrant, and the architecture jury wishes the competition a long and healthy
life and a prosperous journey toward a sustainable future.
This year's teams have managed to raise the bar even higher and have made the job of judging,
as was just mentioned, the architecture contest extremely difficult for the jury, which tried
to find subtle, but yet significant, distinctions that separates the first from the second and
the second from the third. The top three projects span the globe, each celebrating its unique
regional influences and climatic differences. So with that, let's get down to it.
Our third-place winner demonstrated just how spacious a 1,000-square-foot dwelling can
be. Every room in this house is well proportioned and right-sized for normal and routine daily
use. It's organized around a central open space, shaded with photovoltaic panels. The
jury was enamored with the use of its exterior siding and the projected low-maintenance lifespan
of some 80 years. Talk about service life. Okay, the jury was also delighted by their
outdoor spaces, which created an experience that is truly memorable.
>> RICHARD KING: And third-place architecture goes to Appalachian State University.
Appalachian State University Student: So I want to thank everyone, including the judges.
We are so thrilled to be here. Thank you for acknowledging. The integration of solar panels
in architecture is something we really wanna push for in the future of architecture and
design. So thank you for this opportunity. We're thrilled.
>> DENNIS A. ANDREJKO: Well, congratulations. Let's go on to our second-place winner. Second-place
winner impressed the jurors with its clever floor plan, judicious use of natural materials,
and an inventive approach to sustainability. The house connects with the exterior environment
in an easy, casual manner, benefiting its intended location and use. Achieving well-balanced
illumination with an absolute minimum of lighting power use, this house is incredibly welcoming
and comfortable at night.
>> RICHARD KING: And second-place architecture goes to New Zealand, Victoria University.
>> ELI NUTTALL: Well, I just wanna say thank you to all you guys. The hospitality that
you've shown us over the last week has just been phenomenal. And we really enjoyed meeting
everyone and going through the other houses. We have to say, the designs have been awesome,
exceptional designs. So it's been a real honor to be a part of this neighborhood. Thank you.
>> DENNIS A. ANDREJKO: And now our first-place winner. While acknowledging the importance
of conserving energy and achieving a net-zero status, this house convincingly celebrates
that most other precious resources, especially a resource of water, is important. As the
project name suggests, the house makes visible and fascinating the pathway of water from
the sky to the roof to the ground. There, it is treated as a rare and life-giving commodity,
nourishing a variety of gardens, planting beds, and green screens. The theme is even
extended into those components of the house that rely on water, such as the bathroom and
the kitchen. Notable energy-conserving features are the super-insulated exterior walls, translucent
clerestory panels, and passive dehumidifying systems. The exterior lighting beautifully
accents the strong architectural forms and welcomes the visitor inside. The house invites
you to enter and explore. Richard?
>> RICHARD KING: And first place for architecture goes to University of Maryland.
>> ALLISON WILSON: So they pushed me forward, so I have to pull it together. Thank you guys
so much. This is such an awesome competition. We're all really excited to be here. We were
all really excited to tell our story, especially for this region, and this is awesome. So thank
you, guys.
>> RICHARD KING: We're gonna – yeah, another photo. So in honor of all the sun we have
today, we have the sunglasses. First-place architecture.
We're crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy. So hey, there's lots of food out there, so you can
stay. We've got the place till 4:30, which is another 45 minutes. Buses will be at the
other circle from where they left you off, so go around the other side to get down to
buses. They'll take us down there.
And I have score sheets here available for the teams, which – I have one for each team.
And any media here, if you wanna see the standings all the way through. It was really tight,
folks. So I'll have those here in a second, so thank you so much for coming, having fun
with us here today. Thanks again to Senator – to Hal, but Senator Menendez, and all
the teams. Have a good afternoon, and have a great dinner party tonight. So, thank you.
We're here with the University of Maryland team that just won best architecture. How's
it feel?
>> LEAH DAVIES: Really exciting. We're just so proud to be here today and to have this
opportunity. We're really –
>> RICHARD KING: Yeah. Terrific.
>> LEAH DAVIES: – really grateful.
>> RICHARD KING: What do you think was the key to getting the first-place award?
>> LEAH DAVIES: I hope it was a combination of just how we integrated architecture/engineering
with our message and our story about water as well as energy.
>> RICHARD KING: Yeah. It was a great theme for watershed. The jury really appreciated
that. So who's your head architect here?
>> LEAH DAVIES: We're all team leaders.
>> RICHARD KING: Okay. No one wants to take credit for this? No, the whole team.
>> LEAH DAVIES: We're taking team credit. We all worked equally hard on every aspect
of it, and it really, truly was a team effort.
>> RICHARD KING: So I think it popped you back up into first place, so what do you think
about being in first place too?
>>ALL: All right!
>> RICHARD KING: All right. Hey, thanks and congratulations. Job well done.