UAE: Students design ‘cool’ houses powered by the sun at Solar Decathlon

The competition motivates young people to develop innovative solutions to protect the planet from global warming



Supplied photo
Supplied photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Tue 16 Nov 2021, 5:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Nov 2021, 5:06 PM

Students from 12 global universities are competing for top honours in fashioning a sustainable future for coming generations at the Solar Decathlon that was inaugurated on Tuesday.

Eight teams have designed and constructed eco-friendly, energy-efficient, sustainable, solar-powered homes suited to the region’s climate at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park as part of the competition, which runs until November 25.

“Dubai is the first city to host the first and second biggest and most competitive competitions for international universities in the Middle East,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice-chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

“This supports its commitment to sustainability, its pioneering role in shaping the future, its relentless support to efforts to combat climate change, and its role as an incubator for creativity and innovation, especially among young people.”

Speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times, Al Tayer said that these innovations will be a part of future generations and such innovative structures are already being constructed in Dubai.

“There are over 9,000 such buildings in Dubai, including high-rise towers, but it comes with a lot of challenges.”

The competition, organised in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai, also coincides with the UAE’s Year of the 50th. The first edition was held in 2018.

Al Tayer said that all homes were built by students using the latest innovations, and he commended them for putting technology and sustainability together.

“It’s a pleasure to see students unleash their creativity in green initiatives. I have liked all the houses here and the best will be selected based on the detailing," he said.

The Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) is a collegiate competition that challenges students to design, build, operate solar powered houses.

It motivates young people to develop innovative solutions to protect the planet from global warming and to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.

Moza Al Hammadi, final year civil engineering student at Khalifa University, said that such houses may be the future.

Talking about the house designed by her team, she said: “This house is very sustainable. It generates its own electricity from the 40 solar panels, and has underground water to cater to household needs. The house power source can also charge an electric vehicle,”

Constructed by 50 students, the house has a fountain, two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining area, living area and a massive bedroom with a balcony.

“The house is a complete package of sustainable living,” Moza added.

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The teams:

Team KU of Khalifa University, UAE

Team Sharjah of University of Sharjah, UAE

Team Desert Phoenix of University of Louisville (USA), Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE), American University in Dubai, and American University in Sharjah

Team Harmony of The British University in Dubai

Team Esteem of Heriot-Watt University, UK and Heriot-Watt University, Dubai

Team Tawazun of Manipal Academy of Higher Education Dubai Campus

Team Go Smart of University of Bahrain

Team SCUTxCCSIC of the South China University of Technology

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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