On a Thursday night, students, professionals, neighbors, and friends descended on an aging industrial warehouse complex in Edmonston, Maryland. A large crowd of cars was an unusual sight for that time of day – their owners were not working late, but attending the Equinox Event.
The LEAFHouse students chose to launch their first public event for the University of Maryland's Solar Decathlon Team on a significant day for the sun - the equinox is the day of the year where the length of day and night are equal. Also, it is nearly a year exactly to the anticipated start of the 2007 competition on the National Mall.
Over 100 invited guests assembled at a large warehouse for the evening’s activities. The warehouse is home to Community Forklift, a business enterprise focused on the recovery and reuse of salvaged or surplus building materials. Reclaimed cabinets, doors, windows and light fixtures were stocked high on shelves and guests found themselves surrounded by stacks of salvaged lumber and building materials.
As people arrived, they were treated to a catered pasta dinner while a slideshow of pictures from the 2007 LEAFHouse team and house designs were projected on screens. Guests mingled and browsed a silent auction table, while enjoying beverages provided by Maryland-based eco-company Honest Tea.
The first speaker, Jim Schulman, focused attention towards the center stage and welcomed the invited guests. As president of Community Forklift he introduced the unique partnership with LEAFHouse and the current plans to construct the solar home inside the gated parking lot beside the warehouse.
The Faculty Advisors said a few brief words, followed by Richard King from Department of Energy in his capacity as the director of the Solar Decathlon. Richard shared background history on the Decathlon and his enthusiasm for the competition next fall.
The team ran a short film that showed highlights of the 2005 Maryland team, followed by Scott Sklar of The Stella Group. Scott spoke about the recent trends in renewable energy and gave words of encouragement to the team, billing them as leaders of the next generation. According to Scott, the renewable energy industry was the most heavily invested industry in the second quarter of 2006 worldwide.
The event culminated in a request for support from invited guests.
Woody Woodroof, Executive Director of Red Wiggler Community Farm and the owner of the 2005 Maryland House, along with Faculty Advisors, and Team Leaders thanked guests for attending and encouraged them to join the LEAFHouse effort by making a financial commitment to the project.
Many stayed after the end of the official program to view the house model and talk to LEAFHouse team members.Click here
to learn more about Community Forklift.Click here
for a link to the original LEAFHouse invitation.