On July 3, 2007, I co-hosted two Issues Today television programs  featuring members of Santa Clara University’s Solar Decathlon team. (http://www.scusolar.org/) This team is one of twenty finalists in a United States Department of Energy competition  scheduled for final judging in October.
Team members James Bickford, Yasemin Kimyacioglu, Meghan Mooney, Danielle Polk, Augustin Fonts, and Alberto Fonts discussed the competition; the house the team is building; what it will be like for the public to tour the house on the National (Capitol) Mall in Washington, DC, in October; some of the sponsorship (at least $600,000) the team has secured to build the house, send it to Washington, and support team-members’ travel; implications that this project has for sustainability and humanity; lessons learned about team-building, project management, and engineering; and the extent to which they (as university undergraduate students) believe this project may impact their own lives and careers.
This house contains numerous advanced systems and technologies – in fields including electrical, mechanical, civil, thermal, and control-systems engineering. After the students discussed various technologies and some of the companies that are providing them, I remarked that the Santa Clara entry may be unique for its relying on such a high proportion of local businesses and their advanced products and technologies. (Likely, Silicon Valley is poised to become a leading locale for some areas of sustainability.)
Societal, sustainability, economic, and engineering implications of this project are too numerous to mention thoroughly herein. For example, evidently people anticipate pursuing at least two patents – one regarding use of bamboo for roof-support beams – based on this endeavor. We spent some time “on camera” discussing the desirability of using bamboo for construction. I recommend that people try to stay abreast of the project and learn more.
Frank Jewett (founder of Issues Today in approximately 1995) and I interviewed all 6 of these students for the first show, which is scheduled for Comcast cable channel 15 on Wednesday, July 11, at 7:30 PM – in San Jose and Campbell, California. For the show scheduled to be shown on July 18, at 7:30 P.M., James Bickford and I interviewed the 5 colleagues of James. Gloria Guenther (and the VC ~ Private Equity Roundtable) catalyzed the team’s appearance on Issues Today and organized a get-acquainted dinner before the taping. One of the non-student project supporters who attended the dinner knows of Jerry Yudelson. Jerry and I co-authored “The GIST of Campus Sustainability Planning.” 
Santa Clara University anticipates producing a documentary about the team and project. Lindsay Kimpel brought recording equipment and “taped the taping” of these two programs. Frank and I hope that segments of the shows – whether as recorded by Comcast or by Lindsay – will prove useful for the project. I suggested that the house might include a TV (or, or in retrospect, a DVD player) that plays – for visitors and for competition judges – segments of these programs and other materials that will help visitors and judges appreciate various aspects of the house, the project, and the team’s work. Gloria followed that suggestion by telling me that portions of an earlier Issues Today interview of a high school’s business-plan team were used by that team as part of its presentation that won a national competition.
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