01.03.2018 10:30

Applications for Solar Decathlon Europe 2019 are now open for students

SEED Italy research team will build an energetically self-sufficient house, powered solely by the sun

The SEED Italy (Sustainable Energy Efficient Design) research group, which brings together seven Italian universities with the country’s pre-eminent architecture schools, has been selected as one of the sixteen participants for Solar Decathlon Europe 2019. The Politecnico di Milano has been chosen to lead the team, with professor Alessandro Rogora of the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Solar Decathlon is an international competition devised by the United States Department of Energy which has been through several editions worldwide. After a five-year hiatus, the European edition will be back in 2019 in Szentendre, Hungary.

The aim is to extend knowledge and the use of sustainable solar industrialised housing by designing and building an energetically self-sufficient, network-connected house which uses the sun as its sole source of energy.

The idea is to use the event to raise awareness among students and encourage professionals in the sector to present themselves to a non-specialist public. To this end, the "solar village" will be hosting several events such as conferences, exhibitions and entertainment activities.

Why Decathlon? Because the houses will be built full-size in an outdoor exhibition area, where they will be visited by the public and scored by a jury in ten different areas. The winning design will be the one with the highest overall score. The projects must be practical and not theoretical in nature; in addition, they must be able to be brought to market and integrated into the environment of the countries from which they originate.

Industry, too, is a key part of the project, with several Italian firms already involved. The aim is to encourage the use of solar energy and sustainability in the building sector, foster the integration of architecture and technology, and above all show that high-performance solar housing can be attractive and cost-efficient while offering a high level of comfort.

The SEED Italy project involves designing, constructing and monitoring a building measuring 45 square metres capable of representing the state of the art in terms of sustainability in the construction sector. At the end of the competition the building will be left for the Politecnico to use as an object of study on the part of students and researchers.

And indeed, for students this laboratory represents an extremely high added value.

In my training as a student I would have loved to design a real building, perhaps seeing it built or even taking part in its construction,” says Professor Rogora, who over the last few years has put a great deal of passion into getting this project off the ground. “Contact with the real world and with the dust of the building site, a learning experience that gives the opportunity to see the reality of architecture from within the construction process.

By filling in this form, Politecnico di Milano students can apply to join the team who will design and implement the project.