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$2.7mn prize to design and build green homes

University students who can design and build sustainable homes that reflect the ‘house of the future today’ stand a chance to win a total of $2.72mn

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Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer during the workshop
Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer during the workshop

 University students who can design and build sustainable homes that reflect the ‘house of the future today’ stand a chance to win a total of $2.72mn (Dh10mn), government officials have announced.

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) on Sunday called on university students to join the first Solar Decathlon Middle East by designing and building energy and water-efficient homes that use solar energy as the sole power source.

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition created by the US Department of Energy. Dubai will host the first Solar Decathlon in the Middle East in 2018 and again in 2020, coinciding with the World Expo.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and managing director and CEO of Dewa, said the competition will raise the bar in the sustainable built industry in the region and facilitate knowledge transfer between universities and industries.

“The decathlon will provide practical models for solar-run houses that can be comfortable, attractive, and affordable. The decathlon will be a unique opportunity for university students to gain important experience, implement the theories they learn, and demonstrate their skills and capabilities in innovation, design, and achieve a sustainable lifestyle that ensures continuity of these projects,” Al Tayer said.

Al Tayer said students can partner with the private sector to come up with innovative solutions to today’s challenges. The final product — an actual, habitable 50 sqm home — is to be designed in 24 months and built in 10 days in a location organisers will choose.

Richard King, ‎director of Solar Decathlon, US Department of Energy, said the competition will challenge students on how to look beyond current challenges and provide solutions to future problems today.

“The decathlon is usually about five years ahead of what you see in the commercial building so one of the objectives of the Solar Decathlon is to bring these new ideas to today’s world,” King told Gulf News.

“One way of talking about it is they are the ‘houses of the future today’. We’re all in a hurry because of climate change. We cannot wait 10 years, that will be too late. The whole idea of the decathlon is to come up with ideas now and transfer them into the private sector.”

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