Solar home by US students wins Dh900,000 in UAE

 

Sheikh Mansoor awards the SDME first-place prize to the Virginia Tech University team  on Wednesday. — Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Sheikh Mansoor awards the SDME first-place prize to the Virginia Tech University team on Wednesday. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai - Their prototype, they said, took six months to construct and two weeks to assemble, but conception and design took them years.

By Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Thu 29 Nov 2018, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 29 Nov 2018, 9:28 PM

A group of students from Virginia Tech University, USA, won a Dh900,000 prize on Wednesday for designing and building a sustainable, solar-powered house of the future as part of the UAE's first Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME).
Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum awarded Team Virginia Tech, USA, for their 'FutureHAUS', which is designed with an 18kW solar ray roof and a water retention system that allows water to be reused after a filtration process.
Their prototype, they said, took six months to construct and two weeks to assemble, but conception and design took them years.
The team, comprising over 50 members, said they intended to address two important, upcoming realities - a rise in world population that comes with a subsequent need for affordable housing, and the need to integrate newer, smarter and more energy-efficient systems.
Winning second place was Team UoW, which bagged Dh800,000 for their Desert Rose project, while Team BaityKool won Dh700,000 in third place for their house that uses natural and radiative sky-cooling techniques.
Over the course of two weeks, the SDME saw 15 teams of over 600 students from 28 international universities showcasing 15 smart and sustainable houses.
The teams, coming from 11 countries, displayed real, billable and inhabitable houses that are solar-powered and energy-efficient, aimed at protecting the environment and utilising the latest innovations in technology.
Winners were announced after an evaluation process conducted by a panel of experts, who assessed the teams in 10 aspects: architecture, engineering and construction, energy management, energy efficiency, comfort conditions, house functioning, sustainable transportation, sustainability, communications and innovation. Prizes totalled Dh10 million.
Participating teams earned points based on task completion to simulate modern living, as well as  monitored performance, where an advanced system evaluated the house's energy performance and capacity to maintain a healthy and comfortable interior.
Dubai will host another round of the competition, with next edition in 2020 to coincide with Dubai Expo 2020. Cash prizes will total Dh20 million for both editions.
 The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has allocated a 60,000-square-metre area for the competition at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Seih Al Dahal, Dubai.
The public can visit the site and learn about the innovative technologies used in building houses until Thursday from 9am to 6pm. 
Hosted for the first time in Dubai, the SDME was created by the US Department of Energy, in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Dewa.
KT NANO EDIT
Inspiring future innovators
Encouraging young minds to think and look for sustainable solutions is how we can prepare for a future that is in harmony with nature. Competitions, especially the ones on global scale, are vital and so is funding for projects. The UAE government's decision to fund projects through monetary prizes will inspire many more students to come on board. Such experiences can transform the education space in the UAE and also help the country build links with the future inventors and innovators.
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com
 


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