Dubai will be hosting the Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME), in November 2018. SDME is the world's largest, most competitive, and challenging global competition. Dubai will host two rounds of this distinguished competition, first in 2018 and then in 2020 to coincide with Dubai Expo 2020. Qualified teams will design, build, and operate sustainable, cost-and-energy efficient models of solar-powered homes, with a focus on protecting the environment, and taking into consideration the climatic conditions of the region.
The competition will be held for the first time in the Middle East and Africa. The Solar Decathlon Middle East was created through an agreement between both the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and DEWA, and the United States Department of Energy. The winning teams will be awarded cash prizes of over AED 10 million, which is equivalent to $ 2.5 million.
'Working to achieve its vision to become a sustainable innovative world-class utility, DEWA has remained steadfast in its commitment to adopt sustainability as a main priority for its strategic direction, plans and initiatives, to support the long-term Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop a green economy in the UAE, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 launched by His Highness to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy. This will eventually provide 7% of Dubai's total power output from clean energy by 2020, 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050. Our sustainability objectives support the objectives of the Dubai Plan 2021, to make Dubai a city that is fully-sustainable with its resources and supported by environmental elements that are clean, healthy, sustainable, and support the UAE Vision 2021,' said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and MD & CEO of DEWA.
Al Tayer stressed that DEWA is working to provide all means of support to students in order to achieve the Solar Decathlon's success, which is in line with DEWA's message, and its strategic direction.
'Dubai's hosting of the Solar Decathlon reflects its realisation that sustainable development is key to achieving a balance between development and sustainability. This balance will help protect the rights of future generations to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. This also reflects Dubai's commitment to invest in innovation, which is one of the main priorities of the UAE. Our wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, adopt innovation as an approach to finding solutions to future challenges. This long-term vision has resulted in the UAE achieving first place in the Arab World in the Global Innovation Index 2016, which measured the performance of 128 countries and economies in innovation. The UAE was also ranked first regionally and 16th globally in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2016,' noted Al Tayer.
21 teams from 36 universities across 15 countries have been shortlisted for the competition. These include Team Aqua Green from Ajman University of Science and Technology; Team Jeel from the American University in Dubai; Team ORA from Heriot-Watt University Dubai; Team NYUAD from New York University Abu Dhabi; Team Al Bayt Al Kamel from the American University of Ras AlKhaimah; Team Spirit of the Union from The Petroleum institute and Zayed University; Team Sapienza from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; Team Bgreen from the National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan; Team VIRTUE from Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands; and Team FutureHAUS from Virginia Tech, USA. The list includes also Team KSU from King Saud University, KSA; Team Twist Box from University of Belgrade, Serbia; Team SoLLite Salalah from Dhofar University, Oman; Team TDIS from the National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; Team Jordan from The University of Jordan; Team Know-Howse from University of Sharjah; Team UOW from the University of Wollongong, Australia; Team EFdeN from Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania; Team HAAB from Gabriele D'Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy; Team BaityKool from University of Bordeaux, France; and Team MizanHome from the Islamic Science University of Malaysia.
Objective of the competition:
The Solar Decathlon aims to design, build, and operate sustainable, cost-and-energy efficient models of solar-powered homes. The team will first design the house, develop innovative solutions to climate problems, take into consideration the social factors of the region and preserve the environment. The students will then try and apply these solutions when building the house to participate in the competition and compete with different universities from countries all over the world, to be evaluated by experts in this field from the Arab world and abroad. The competition also aims at raising awareness of the importance of using renewable energy sources and allowing students from all disciplines, especially engineering, to learn to apply the latest technologies and skills that provide a more sustainable lifestyle and address economic and community problems through the development of green solutions.
After shortlisting the qualified teams to participate in the competition, comes the stage of work, where the teams design and build sustainable homes over the course of two years. Upon completion, the participating teams will be evaluated according to 10 conditions, as follows:
The consistency, flexibility and innovation of the design, the integration of modern technology into architecture, and the integration of biological climatic strategies will be assessed and evaluated by a multidisciplinary jury of architects and designers.
2- Engineering and building:
Depends on construction and engineering design and implementation, ranging from home structure, contents, electricity, maintenance and use of solar panels. A multidisciplinary jury of engineering professionals will evaluate the results.
3- Energy management:
This includes assessment of the houses to see if they are self-sufficient of electrical energy, and can manage energy consumption and reduction. The assessment is based on data collected from various electrical power flows via a sophisticated control system.
4- Energy efficiency:
This standard includes evaluating the functions and efficiency of home design, systems and components, as well as their contribution to reducing energy consumption. DEWA will work with engineers to evaluate the results.
5- Comfort conditions:
This evaluation is based on the ability to provide internal comfort by controlling temperature, humidity, lighting, indoor air quality and sound performance. The evaluation will be based on data collected through a sophisticated monitoring system.
6- Home functionality:
This includes home performance assessment, and the efficiency of selected devices. The evaluation is based on data collected through a sophisticated and specialised monitoring system.
7- Sustainable transport:
The participating teams have to drive electric vehicles that operates using the electrical system of the house, several times, during the competition. The evaluation is based on data gathered from the odometer traveled by the team during the competition period.
Evaluate the reduction in the negative impact on the environment levels in the home design, systems and components, during the manufacturing phase, the construction stage, the life cycle and the demolition. Conservation and vegetation conservation initiatives will be evaluated under this standard. A panel of professionals specialising in different areas of the competition will assess the achievements.
Evaluating the team's ability to find innovative and effective ways to deliver competition-related messages, such as sustainability, innovation and energy efficiency, as well as maintaining team and project identity. A panel of communication specialists will evaluate the results.
Evaluating the level of innovation in the house, its systems and components, with an emphasis on emerging and radical changes, as well as contributing to improved home performance and efficiency. A panel of professionals specialising in different areas of the competition will evaluate the achievements.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was selected to host the Solar Decathlon Middle East because it is one of the most important projects and key to developing the economy to support environmental sustainability and increase our supply of clean energy.
The solar park is the largest single-site solar energy project in the world, based on the Independent Power Producer model. It will provide 25% of Dubai's total power output by 2030, producing 5,000MW by 2030 and will help reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. An area of approximately 60,000 square metres has been allocated to the Solar Decathlon at the solar park.
Panel of judges:
The Supreme Committee of the Solar Decathlon Middle East includes DEWA, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Museum of the Future, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Ministry of Energy in UAE, and the UAE Cabinet.
DEWA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) to enhance mutual cooperation on Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) according to the highest standards.
In September, miniatures were received from all participating students' projects. These models were presented at the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2017) and the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2017. This was a unique opportunity for university students to gain practical experience in the highest standards, through the implementation of theories, demonstrate the skills and abilities of innovation and design to achieve a sustainable lifestyle. It was also an opportunity for the public to see the difference while working and competing among themselves.
In November 2018, solar homes will be displayed on the competition site, with participants participating in tours to see the winning designs. This initiative will provide an opportunity for all members of society to follow the competition and see the challenge among participants.
The first international workshop for the Solar Decathlon Middle East was held last April and lasted for two days, during which the rules of the competition were discussed, along with the steps and procedures during the next stages of the competition. 21 university teams from around the world qualified for the final stage of the competition. The workshop was attended by HE Paul Malik, Consul General of the United States of America to Dubai; HE Valentina Setta, Consul General of Italy to Dubai, Richard King, SDME Senior Advisor, and a number of officials, researchers, and former participants of the Solar Decathlon.
From Washington to Dubai:
The Solar Decathlon started in 2002 in Washington DC and has helped educate 225 collegiate teams involving over 30,000 students and faculty. It was also launched in Europe, China, Latin America and the Caribbean to the Middle East, represented by the UAE.
DEWA attaches great importance to training young people and their capacity to be effective towards sustainable development. DEWA works to encourage creative potential by providing the necessary training tools and programmes that contribute to the enhancement of cognitive and creative abilities. DEWA's sponsorship of the competition was the culmination of the agreement signed between DEWA, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the United States Department of Energy. Hosting this competition in the UAE for the first time in the Middle East confirms the UAE's keenness to provide young people with opportunities to unleash their energies and encourage them to be creative and innovative. This makes them contributors to sustainable development, leading to a positive change in people's lives. The UAE has become a platform for innovation, a destination for innovators, and an incubator for creative minds from all over the world. Hosting this international competition in Dubai aligns with the vision of our leadership, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai a global hub and a model for sustainability and innovation. It also supports the UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE among the best countries in the world, and the Dubai Plan 2021, which aims to establish the Emirate's leading position on the global map.