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Secretary Chu Hits the Mall for Solar Decathlon … and hits the Chamber while he’s at it

October 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu went to the National Mall today to visit the Solar Decathlon, with Chu’s Decathlon visit featured on the White House blog

I just helped kick-off the Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon. This is a unique student competition on the National Mall that showcases the latest energy efficiency and solar power technologies. It is a great chance to see students pushing the boundaries of what’s possible today …

As a sign of the times, the Obama White House links into Facebook, with Chu’s post linking to Chu’s facebook page (announcement of it on WH blog) where he posted some 19 Decathlon photos. Now, seeing that Chu’s post appeared on the White House web page, here is a question that I might have asked the Secretary if I had (or if I have) the chance:

Mr. Secretary: A huge number of people will visit this event. Even more will see it in news reporting. But, most Americans will have no idea that this exists. The Solar Decathlon is a wonderful tool to explain to people the economic, life-style, and American leadership benefits from seizing the opportunities for better building design incorporating sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Mr Secretary, why not propose to the President that the winning house be put on the White House lawn, near the organic garden, for a week so that all Americans will have a chance to learn about The Solar Decathlon, the tremendous achievements of these university students, and the opportunities that these 20 homes exemplify?

While on the Mall, Secretary Chu was questioned about another issue. Recently, a floodgate seems to have been opened as Corporation after Corporation is leaving the US Chamber of Commerce protesting the Chamber’s stance battling climate legislation.  The Chamber’s President, Tom Donahue, has complained that this is occurring due to some sort of “orchestrated pressure campaign” by environmental organizations.  (Evidently, it would seem, I’m some sort of unknowingly fifth chair player in this campain, having my strings pulled by some cabal of environmentalists since I’ve been highlighting the disastrous Chamber stances on energy and climate for awhile, including pointing out that Nike’s words weren’t matching their actions when it came to remaining on the Chamber board — oh, several days later they left the Chamber’s board.)

When asked about the exodus from the Chamber, Secretary Chu’s response:

“I think it’s wonderful,”

He said other companies should quit the group because the Chamber does not fully recognize the business possibilities in taking aggressive action on climate.

“I would encourage the Chamber of Commerce to realize the economic opportunity that the United States can lead in a new industrial revolution,”

Evidently, if we understand Donahue’s words correctly, Steven Chu is also having his strings pulled by some unseen conducter of environmental organizations. Perhaps Tom Donahue should take the time, with others from the US Chamber of Commerce, to visit The Solar Decathlon, to see the quite real opportunities that these houses create, and help figure out how to get the 100s of involved students working for Chamber members helping carve out profitable business opportunities for US businesses helping lead the transition to a profitable and climate-friendly future.


1.  About the exodus from the Chamber of Commerce, Pete Altman is keeping track.

2.  Wonkroom has revealing material from an industry executive about why he took his firm out of the Chamber.

3.  Track Get Energy Smart! NOW!’s coverage of The Solar Decathlon.

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Tags: Energy · Secretary of Energy Steven Chu · solar · solar decathlon

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 FishOutofWater // Oct 10, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Winner on the White House Lawn – Yes.

    Many companies are more concerned about fluctuating fossil fuel prices than they are about cap and trade which they think will lead towards price stability.

    There are big profits to be made in renewable energy,

  • 2 Bright Rays of Sunshine Hit DC: A preview of The Solar Decathlon // Sep 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    […] Secretary Chu Hits the Mall for Solar Decathlon … and hits the Chamber while he’s at it […]