For the first time in the history of the Solar Decathlon, a Pakistani team – BGreen, has been seleccted to participate in it. The Solar Decathlon is an international competition focused entirely on the promotion and usage of solar energy. Different engineering teams from different universities all across the globe gather to design, manufacture, and utilize solar energy in different homes buildings.
The competition has variants depending on different geographical locations. The Middle-Eastern variant of the Decathlon, SDME (Solar Decathlon Middle-East) will be held in Dubai in 2018 with the joint collaboration between DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) and the Department of Energy of the United States of America.
The main aim of the Solar Decathlon is to bring new ideas forward while implementing them for the betterment of the Middle East public. 22 teams from 16 different countries will take part in the Decathlon.
The competition is based on three phases with a time span of 2 years from the initial to the final stages of the project.
The Pakistani team that is participating in this Decathlon is Team BGreen. Officials said:
“For the first time ever, a team from Pakistan has also been selected to take part in this competition”
The team consists of 20 students and 5 faculty members from different disciplines of architecture, engineering, business, and management. All the members of the team are students and representatives of the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.
A number of undergraduate students of Civil Engineering and Architecture submitted a proposal for the participation in the competition under the supervision of Dr. M. Jamaluddin Thaheem who has done his PhD from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, in the field of Construction Risk Management. However, the team consists of students only. The team is led by the project manager, Muhammad Saad who is in his final year of Civil Engineering.
Communications Coordinator of team BGreen, Hammad Rashid stated:
“The team shares a common interest in promoting sustainable construction practices and lifestyle at a juncture in global history when the human impact on the planet is the cause of wide-scale climate change which unless properly dealt with, could be of severe consequences. The project will not only promote sustainable construction practices but also exhibit Pakistan’s academic progress and prowess”
Task at hand
The project undertaken by the team is to build a solar powered house in the desert areas of the UAE. The team will have to take environmental measures while keeping the standards of modern living in mind. Along with the facilities a house usually has, the house is required to provide the following:
- Proper lighting
- Ability to run different electronic appliances, irrespective of voltage consumption
- Ability to sustain a certain temperature range
- Electricity generation by solar electric and solar thermal systems
- Water heating, space heating, and space cooling systems
The teams will use different methods in the construction of the house including Wastewater conservation, Integrated Project Delivery, Green Roof, Fabricated Panels, and Smart Home Systems. Official statement says:
“If the production of the material is eliminated, the house will have zero environmental impact due to reliance on renewable energy”
The first phase includes the designing of the house once the teams are shortlisted. Shortlisted teams will provide full details about the electrical layout, design, implemented systems, structural plan, mechanical systems, and other design related factors.
The teams are required to provide reasons for their specific design. In addition, they are also required to provide details about the implementation of new ideas and innovations as they build an energy efficient house.
Each team will be allotted a specific area within which they will have to construct the house in a period of 10 days. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai will be used as a construction site for the upcoming competition.
After the construction phase is completed; the houses will be on display for the general public to explore the ideas and technologies used in the house in order to promote energy efficient houses.
The submitted projects will be evaluated and judged based on 10 different categories:
- Energy Efficiency
- Engineering and Construction
- Comfort Conditions
- House Functioning
- Sustainable Transportation
- Energy Management
Competitions like the Decathlon will prove to be greatly beneficial as the Solar Decathlon will promote different ideas related to the solar energy in the wake of maximizing the potential of solar energy. Furthermore, it will also provide students a chance, to learn a whole new spectrum of technology by working in the designated field.