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The Ecolar team from Constance is also preparing itself physically and emotionally for the competition in Madrid. Here the team takes part in a run with the theme "Fit for Madrid".
© HTWG Konstanz
Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

The countdown to Madrid has started

A mere 150 days now remain until the grand final in Madrid of the Solar Decathlon Europe, which will take place this year for the second time. The competition will see universities from around the world competing for the most energy-efficient house, with 20 teams from 15 countries exhibiting their innovative concepts in the "Villa Solar" from 14 to 30 September. This year, two teams from Germany (Aachen and Constance) will take part in the competition and are now busy preparing for the final in Madrid.

The Solar Decathlon Europe competition was initiated and hosted in Europe for the first time in 2010 by the Spanish Ministry of Housing and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. The competition is based on a renewable energy competition of the same name, which is held in the USA. Its aim is to design an energy-efficient, innovative house whose residents are supplied solely with energy from the sun and is capable of generating more energy than end users require. At the same time, the competition is aimed at increasing public awareness of the topics of energy-efficient construction and use of renewable energies.

In Madrid, a total of 20 universities from Europe, America and Asia will be presenting the prototypes for their houses of the future. Students from Germany at the RWTH in Aachen and the HTWG in Constance will be taking part in the competition, with the university projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as part of its EnOB research initiative.

Preparations for the competition are extensive, with the teams planning their buildings, performing trial constructions and testing these out. At present, the teams from Germany are in the trial construction phase, during which students learn to develop innovative concepts and find specific solutions in multi-disciplinary teams. In doing this, they cooperate with institutes, companies and organisations. In September, the buildings must then be split into several packets and transported off to Madrid where they will need to be erected again within ten days. During the final week of the competition, the houses are then assessed by an independent jury. Besides viewing the houses and measuring technical climate data, the functionality of a house is also tested in practice by simulating a range of everyday situations such as washing laundry or preparing a dinner. The public also have the opportunity to view the innovative building during a two-week exhibition period.

The team whose house collects the most points in the categories of Architecture, Engineering & Construction, Energy Efficiency, Electrical Energy Balance, Comfort Conditions, House Functioning, Communications & Social Awareness, Innovation and Market Viability, Innovation and Sustainability will head the victory podium in 150 days time. The competition is designed as an innovation competition to find the building of the future and promotes creative solutions and intensive collaboration between research, education and commercial institutions in the area of construction.



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