International solar housing contest Heriot-Watt reaches final

Heriot-Watt University will be in the final of an international competition to build a solar-powered house during Expo 2020 in Dubai.

The competition, which was created by the US Department of Energy, brings together universities from all over the world to design, build and operate a grid-connected, solar powered house. The house will be part of World Expo 2020, which expects more thatn 25 million visitors over a six-month period.

Heriot-Watt is the only Scottish and UK university that has been taking part.

Associate professor in architecture and project lead for the Solar Decathlon Alex MacLaren said that she is absolutely delighted for the team. “They have worked hard on this project and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in the final; I would also like to thank everyone for their support so far in this competition. We are lucky enough to have more than 30 companies and organsations who have pledged to support Team Esteem and we are looking for more sponsors and collaborators for this next step”.

“I would ask anyone who would be interested in supporting us to get in touch”.

The competition consists of 10 contests – hence the name decathlon – which focus on architecture, engineering and construction, energy efficiency, comfort conditions, house funcioning sustainable transportation, sustainability, communication and innovation.

The teams rely on expertise from many disciplines as they spend months fundraising, planning, designing, analysing and finally building and improving their houses. Future engineers work with future architects with the aim of creating affordable, energy-efficient houses.

The houses use solar energy as the only energy source and are equipped with technologies that permit maximum energy efficiency. During the final phase of the competition teams assemble their houses in a main expo area, open to the general public, while undergoing the 10 contests of the competition.