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Constrcution science professor Bob Segner, a former Aggie yell leader, drums up some Aggie Spirit on the National Mall, leading the Texas A&M decathletes in a victory yell.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007

Patience paid off for the Aggies.

By Sunday at 10 a.m. all ramps, stairs and railings were revamped with ADA-compliant versions, which pleased the on-site safety officer who then declared the house officially “open for tours,” just in time for the eager crowds that had assembled to see what many called “one of the most spectacular houses in the solar village.”

During the tours, work continued on the main pressurization pump replacement. Several of the visitors were more interested in the repairs under way than in the fine trimmings on the groHome. One even exclaimed “you can actually repair this house yourself!” Little did they know about the ordeal that the team has endured the last few days.

After the repairs were completed to the main pump, the house’s plumbing system was then certified by DOE’s inspectors for full operation.

The solar thermal system reached 173 F under clear skies using the temporary pump. A replacement pump will be installed tonight after the sun goes down and the crowds disburse. It appears that the original pump was damaged by steam that formed in the array earlier in the week. The photovoltaic (PV) system was working so well on Sunday that it had electricity to spare. This is partially due to the fact that the Aggie team is not running the groHome's air conditioner because the house was been wide open for tours.

The electric car, however, is now fully charged, so the Aggies have a full charge on the battery bank as they head into a week of contests. This is a good thing. In the 2005 Solar Decathlon, there was little sun for most of the assembly period, which reduced the contest into a battle of who had the most electricity in their batteries.

Monday through Friday of next week, the house will be put through a series of “contests” that test the house systems' performance. These include washing/drying towels, boiling water, keeping the groHome space heated or cooled, putting some miles on the electric car, cooking meals, etc.

On Monday, the Solar Decathlon's architectural winner will be announced, and the other individual awards will follow in the remaining days until Friday, when the overall winner is announced. Of course we're hoping they'll have the initials T.A.M.U.!

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