Aussies score silver in Solar Decathlon

Team Desert Rose from the University of Wollongong has finished second in the Solar Decathlon Middle East.

The competition saw 15 teams and 600 students from around the world battling for top honours at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, said to be the largest single-site solar project in the world. The challenge was to a design solar-powered smart and sustainable home that could handle the tough local weather conditions. Dubai has not only fierce desert heat, but also high humidity due to its proximity to the sea.

After years of preparation, teams had just two weeks to build their houses from materials transported to the site. Following this, the houses were opened to the public – and the judges, who evaluated the teams on 10 criteria: comfort conditions, architecture, house functioning, sustainable transport, energy management, communication, engineering and construction, energy efficiency, sustainability and innovation.

Team Desert Rose came first in the comfort conditions contest, which measured temperature, humidity, air quality (CO2), lighting, façade airborne sound insulation and HVAC systems noise.

It also topped the rankings in the Innovation contest. Standout innovative features included PV panels that produce electricity and hot water, a second skin wall, smart model predictive control to manage the home’s electrical load, and phase change material thermal storage as a solution for demand load shifting.

Team Virginia Tech won the competition with its FutureHAUS. In third place was Team BaityKool, a collaboration between Amity University, An-Najah National University and the University of Bordeaux.

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