Solar Decathlon

Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) was created through a signed agreement between Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) and the Department of Energy of the United States of America, in June 2015, in order to organize a sustainable solar houses competition in Dubai, in 2018 and 2020.

In order to build a better future on a healthier, more sustainable planet for a happier, safer, and flourishing population, the SDME 2018 Organization goal is to contribute to the knowledge and dissemination of industrialized, solar and sustainable housing.

The competition consist of the following 10 contests:

ARCHITECTURE

It evaluates the design coherence, flexibility of space, innovation, the integration of technologies in architecture and the incorporation of bioclimatic strategies for the Middle East.

ENERGY MANAGEMENT

It evaluates the house’ electrical energy self-sufficiency, management and reduction of energy consumption.

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION

It evaluates the simulation of a typical household driving patterns. In this contest, teams should drive an electric vehicle charged from the house’s electrical system several times during the competition.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

It evaluates the functionality and efficiency of the house design, systems and components, in addition to their contribution in reducing energy consumption.

COMMUNICATION

It evaluates the team’s communication capacity to find creative, effective and efficient ways of transmitting the competition relevant topics (sustainability, innovation and energy efficiency), as well as the team and project’s identity.

ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION

It evaluates the construction and engineering systems design merit and implementation. Teams will have to demonstrate the higher level of functionality of the house structure, envelope, electricity, plumbing, HVAC, solar system, and their integration.

COMFORT CONDITIONS

It evaluates the capacity for providing interior comfort through the control of temperature, humidity, lighting, interior air quality and acoustic performance.

HOUSE FUNCTIONING

It evaluates the performance of the house and the efficiency of the selected appliances. The contest consists of activities and energy use in a contemporary home.

SUSTAINABILITY

It evaluates the reduction of the negative environmental impact of the house design, systems and components, during manufacturing, house construction phase, life-cycle and demolition. Vegetation and water conservation initiatives will also be evaluated in this contest.

INNOVATION

It evaluates the innovation degree of the house, its systems and components, focusing on emergent, radical and revolutionary changes, in addition to the contribution in improving the performance and efficiency of the house.


The Solar Decathlon competition was held for the first time in 2002, when the US Department of Energy started this award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

The houses use solar energy as the primary energy source and are equipped with all the technologies that allow maximum energy efficiency. During the final phase of the competition, teams assemble their houses, which become open to the general public, while undergoing the ten contests of the competition.

Universities from all over the world can meet to design, build and operate a grid-connected, energetically self-sufficient house.

Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has involved more than 200 collegiate teams, promoting a different approach to study and work in multidisciplinary teams and has established a worldwide successful educational program by expanding to Europe, China, Latin America and Middle East, thus making the world a better place, and definitely, a more sustainable one!