Richard King's Opening Ceremony 2011 Video Blog

Uploaded by DOESolarDecathlon on 22.09.2011

>> ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Solar Decathlon Director Richard King.
>> RICHARD KING: Hey, good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for coming to the U.S. Department
of Energy Solar Decathlon. Good morning, teams. Are you ready?
All right. They're up and ready. You know, one of the priorities at the Department of
Energy is increasing our nation's energy literacy. Through the Solar Decathlon, we recruited
the world's brightest, most creative minds we could find and challenged them to educate
us while they educate themselves. They did their part. Now it's time to do ours.
So before we let you into their houses so you can learn from them, we have a number
of our strongest supporters I want you to meet. First I'm pleased to introduce Dr. Arun
Majumdar from the U.S. Department of Energy. He serves as the senior science advisor to
the Secretary of Energy. Please welcome Arun Majumdar.
>> ARUN MAJUMDAR: Thank you, Richard. It's clear that I know now that you're a rock star.
Thank you for doing what you're doing. Good morning.
>>ALL: Good morning.
>> ARUN MAJUMDAR: Oh, that's not good enough. Good morning!
>> ALL: Good morning!
>> ARUN MAJUMDAR: There you go. So first of all, to all the international teams – where
are the international teams? Raise your hands.
A warm welcome to the United States of America. For the American teams, welcome to Washington,
While you're here in D.C., I really hope you enjoy the history; the museums; the international
variety of food, which I really like, and it shows; the football; the baseball. And
I hope you enjoy the competition. This is really important.
Senator Menendez, distinguished international guests, sponsors, faculty, colleagues, and,
most of all, the students: I'm really honored to be here with you to open the U.S. Department
of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. I bring greetings from the Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu,
who I know is excited to visit you next week. He will be here. Now, he's another rock star,
and you'll enjoy meeting him and just chatting with him.
I really like the name Solar Decathlon. Decathlon is a Greek word; means "ten contests." And
clearly, you will compete in all ten of them.
I'm from California, and I'm –
There you go, blue and gold. And clearly, in California, you may have had to compete
for the 11th one, which is an earthquake. But here in D.C., you don't have to worry
about earthquakes, do you?
Anyway, I'm sure you'll take care of that, all the construction, with quick retrofits,
et cetera.
It's clear in this decathlon that this is about using our natural resources in the most
efficient way. It showcases the home designs, and it's absolutely inspiring to see what's
going on out here. And these are practical. These are fun. These are elegant. And, most
importantly, these are affordable.
It is about being smart in how we live our lives, how we use energy, and how to save
money by saving energy. And while this competition may seem about Solar Decathlon – and it
clearly is – and efficient homes, let me offer a different view. I've been a professor
of engineering all my professional life, and I've been working with students for more than
20 years. And nothing is more inspiring and fulfilling than when a group of students work
together as a team with a common goal to achieve something, to compete and win, where they
push themselves to the limit, challenge each other, exceed the expectations, and innovate
in ways that just surprise you, pleasantly surprise you.
These teams defy mathematics, because they prove that one plus one is greater than two.
But this does not come easy. I'm sure many of you – and I've seen when I've taught
students and worked on projects together – I'm sure many of you have debated with each other,
spent many all-nighters. Right? All-nighters? Yup.
All-nighter champion out there. And sometimes frustrated, sometimes overjoyed, late homeworks,
missed holidays, missed exams, and so on. And yet you are here today, because there
is an inner voice telling you that, together as a team, that you would achieve something
that you could not do alone, something that is meaningful, something that shows you that
there's a better way to live our lives, and something for which you're willing to make
sacrifices. That inner voice, that internal compass, is the voice of leadership. And while
some of you may win this competition and others may not, in my eyes you're all leaders of
your generation, because your inner voice is awake, and you have stepped up to the plate
to shape the world around you. That's the really most important thing.
It is critically important that this is an international event. Since you are leaders
of the future, I hope you get to know each other, because in the future, you leaders
may be sitting across the table to figure out how to make this world a better place
for your children and your grandchildren. And let the Solar Decathlon be the start of
that personal friendship.
I wish you all the best. Have fun in doing what you're doing, and it's quite clear you're
gonna have fun. You know, laundry, cooking, telling your stories, meeting other competitors,
and showing off your just fabulous, inspiring designs. The Department of Energy is very
proud of all of you. We are proud to see your amazing achievements, and I'm personally inspired
to meet so many of clean energy leaders of tomorrow. I know how I'm gonna spend this
weekend: I'll be here with you. Thank you very much, and good luck to you.
>> RICHARD KING: Thank you, Arun. Now I'd like to introduce a special guest, Senator
Robert Menendez from New Jersey. He currently serves on the Senate committees on finance,
banking, housing and urban affairs, and foreign relations. Now, the good senator came in 2009,
and he wondered why there wasn't a New Jersey team in this competition. So he put out a
challenge to all the New Jersey teams, and lo and behold, we have a New Jersey team with
us. He's one of our greatest champions. Senator, please.
>> SENATOR MENENDEZ: Well, thank you, Richard. Thank you, Richard, for that gracious introduction
and, more importantly, for your leadership with the department in putting an extraordinarily
amazing event together.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, let me say to all of our international
competitors and guests a warm welcome and a hand of friendship from the United States
of America. Welcome to America, and –
And to all of my fellow Americans and my fellow New Jerseyans, welcome to the nation's capital,
where you will show the rest of the nation and the world how we can be good stewards
of the land for future generations of America. Welcome to the Solar Decathlon.
I want to thank all of the sponsors, all of the professors, and all of the teams and the
competitors for being here to show the world a path to our energy future. This is a competition,
but we are really here today to celebrate the achievement of every student participating.
Through your hard work and collaboration, you have built 20 truly world-class sustainable
solar homes in a remarkably short period of time. Your achievements are quite a nice change
of pace for Washington these days.
Maybe we can learn something about coming together in common cause for a goal.
It is sometimes difficult hearing some of my colleagues questioning climate science
or the solar industry. But that is what makes the Solar Decathlon such an important and
great event. You are here in the heart of the nation's capital, showing that we can
power our homes on renewable energy; that we can live our lives without generating climate
pollution; that scientists, engineers, and architects can accomplish great things no
matter how powerful incumbent power interests are or how much they spend in lobbying. And
for that I want to thank each and every one of you that have participated. I think you
bring a positive force, giving us all hope for the future.
Let me take a moment of personal privilege to congratulate Rutgers, NJIT, and the Stevens
Institute of Technology for proudly representing my home state of New Jersey today.
Almost two years ago, I laid down a challenge to universities in New Jersey to compete in
this event, because we had none. And as the state with the largest number of installations
in the nation, solar installations, I couldn't understand that. And so I appreciate that
these three schools have responded with creative and compelling designs that move sustainable
concepts from the drawing board to reality.
And as great as it is to see the teams from New Jersey and the rest of the country and
the world answer my challenge to compete, it's not long ago we were wondering if that
competition would be here in Washington at the National Mall. And I was happy to work
with the students here today and to work with the administration to forge a sensible solution
so that the competition can be in a place of prominence that it deserves, here on the
National Mall.
So thank you for allowing me to play a part in the decathlon. Thank you to the student
leaders who had to be not only architects and engineers, but also urban planners, communications
experts, fundraisers, carpenters, electricians, transportation coordinators, and pizza wranglers.
Congratulations to all of you. You're leading us to a brighter, cleaner, greener, smarter
future, and that is something the nation can certainly look upon with great joy. Congratulations.
We look forward to the competition. And have some fun while you're here.
>> RICHARD KING: So our last speaker is another special guest – special because she's one
of our decathletes. Elisabeth Neigert is a student representative this year, and she
is a member of the SCI-Arc/CalTech team from California. Please welcome –
Please welcome Elisabeth.
>> ELISABETH NEIGERT: Thank you. I'm really honored and proud to represent all the teams,
and I hope I do you proud up here as well. It's a rare opportunity to have your vacation
be your avocation, all while doing good. The Solar Decathlon is unique in that it offers
this opportunity. Through this competition, thousands of university students from across
the world, including those among you today, have spent years dedicated to the advancement
of clean energy technology. This level of commitment could only emerge from a deep desire
for progress.
The Solar Decathlon ties in a broad range of disciplines: engineering, architecture,
marketing, fundraising, finance, and PR. It encourages and forwards the possibility for
teams to be entirely student-run in organization, structure management, and execution. This
experience creates leaders, influencing career paths by extending students to tackle disciplines
typically outside of our chosen fields. This competition has a broad scope. Teams are tasked
to fundraise; communicate their project's intentions through Web, video, and print;
market their building towards a target demographic and contextualize their project within that
market; not to mention having to design, build, engineer, and transport across the country
– and, at times, the world – all while doing this within an affordable budget, our
new challenge for 2011. We're stretched beyond our fields, inciting the creation of new skills
and expanding our exposure to the plethora of forces required to complete a project of
this magnitude.
So here we are in our nation's capital after two years of research, design, and development
towards creating the next generation of clean energy housing. I've imagined this moment
often, surrounded by our solar village, watching the sun setting on the Washington Monument.
There's a certain pride and awe inspired when driving to the Solar Decathlon site, past
the Lincoln Memorial, looking out from our house to see the Washington Monument in the
near distance, and walking over to the Martin Luther King Jr. and Jefferson memorials illuminated
across the water.
We've come together on this public and iconic site to educate and promote the feasibility
of living a cost- and energy-efficient life. The National Mall evokes an acute relevance.
This is where today's discourse is focused, not only within the United States but around
the globe. Our president issued a challenge to focus on the hardest problems of clean
energy. We're here today from across the globe to share those innovations and stand up for
clean energy.
Thank you, and may the best team win.