Solar Decathlon AFRICA:
The decathletes have to design, build and operate an affordable, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses with which they will compete, side-by-side, in 10 contests during the final stage of the competition, hosted in Benguerir-Morocco in September 2019. The competition focuses on solar energies and sustainable houses, addressing many of the key challenges, and underpinning the key factors to achieve net-zero energy buildings. The contests epitomize the elements and factors that define green sustainable houses.
As follow, an in-depth outlook on contests that shape the international competition SOLAR DEACTHLON AFRICA.
Insight into the contests of Solar Decathlon AFRICA
The aim is to create a green Africa-inspired conceptual architecture, compatible with the semi-arid climate of the region, the prototype houses should beautifully combine the techniques and methods used in our traditional houses with the advanced technologies of the future. The architectural design should make the house a living organism, flexible, transformable and adaptable to the needs of the multi-generation dwellers, and it should provide coherence and seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living and also between the different components of the house. On the other side, the local materials and adopted technologies should demonstrate a quality integration into the design.
The lighting design should be effective and intelligently integrate both natural and electrical lighting systems. The implementation of automated shading systems helps control the intensity of natural lighting, provide the much-needed shade in the summer and allow the sunlight to passively heat the house in the winter.
Engineering & Construction
Engineering & Construction
The team should assess the deep knowledge about foundation, roof, and exterior wall assemblies that meet the minimum of the applicable code requirements. Also, a deep understanding of the technical processes and methods of assembling the building blocks. The structural design and constructive solutions should be innovative and code-complying, the structural design should incorporate advanced framing techniques that help to minimize raw materials. Furthermore, the evaluation of HVAC, electricity, plumbing, lighting, active solar and other systems relative to their high level of functionality, viability, reliability and their well-integration into the spacious architecture.
On the other side, it is important to consider some energy efficiency strategies that lead to low energy-consuming buildings. For a low building envelope energy intensity, we should consider external walls’ insulation, windows’ glazing type, air tightness, solar shading and all the techniques that help to enhance the efficiency of the building. Concerning the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and active solar systems, it is inevitable to adopt energy-efficient building technologies, that can cut energy consumption in the house. For example, a smart HVAC system that minimizes energy load and improves air quality inside the house, plumbing system that adopts the approach of water conservation, since Morocco suffers a water stress, through low flows of water, treatment and/or water reuse, water saving systems and a shading system that is adaptable to the sunlight penetration.
We should make living green affordable for everyone. The houses should appeal to consumers and showcase innovative architectural and engineering design. Of course, the houses should be viable regarding their buildability, livability, marketability and affordability. In addition to that, the renewable energies and energy efficiency are important factors that make the house competitive in the market since they cut down the energy bills and help save money.
The decathletes have to come up with affordable completely new green buildings while providing attractive self-sustaining living environments to middle-class citizens.
The bid is to put the market development of solar energies and green buildings into perspective, and to explore their benefits on our economy, environment and security. On the other side, we aim to strengthen linkages and interactions across the green buildings sector between the scientific bodies and the industry.
It is important to ensure the interior comfort of the dwellers. For that, the decathletes should implement the important measures to reach the comfort conditions in the house.
Comfort needs, which include temperature, humidity and lighting intensity, all of which are addressing the well-being of the dwelling houses. We shed the light, through this contest, on the importance of indoor comfort without excessive use of energy. We will monitor temperature, humidity and lighting intensity; by hygrometer, thermometer and luxmeter respectively; during the evaluation periods.
As home appliances are energy-intensive, energy-efficient appliances help save energy and money. For this contest, we’ve chosen to simulate the every-day life of a standard family through a broad-range of appliances, to test their well-functioning according to the specifications of the solar Decathlon Africa RULES. The appliances that will be evaluated as sub-contests are as follow: Refrigerator, Freezer, Clothes Washer, Clothes Drying, Oven, Cooking, Blender, Dish Washer. The completion of the tasks is necessary to get full marks.
The equipments have to provide ease for everyday tasks. Meanwhile, a maximum efficiency should help us to reduce our carbon footprint and be low energy consuming.
Aware of the increasing needs of the active population of Africa, we strive to balance sustainable built-environment with premium comfort, to integrate energy-saving technologies and to adopt passive solar strategies. Well-conceived design coupled with low energy-consuming systems lead to an advanced level of sustainability in energy consumption. The sustainability is a chance to reduce the energy costs and to improve living conditions for the future generations.
On the other side, it is important to save energy and resources by using low embodied-energy, reclaimed and resource responsible materials, it is a way to promote sustainability in the built environment and enhance the involvement of all the players in the building industry towards the environment issues.
The sustainable house should act as a living organism and create its own microclimate. It should provide solutions to live sustainably in semi-arid climate, integrate new sustainable building technologies? and make water conservation and reuse a vital element in the design strategies: low flows of water, treatment and/or water reuse, water saving systems, greywater and rainwater is to meet home’s irrigation needs when possible.
This contest to push forward the cutting edge of sustainability.
Home & Life Entertainment
Home Life & Entertainment
This contest encapsulates the social impact of green power in Morocco: Changing lives and creating values. It is composed of five sub-contests: Hot water draws, Home electronics, Dinner party, Movie night, Commuting. While showing a productive place, the decathletes should manage intelligently and efficiently their energy consumption without jeopardizing the completion of the tasks assigned to them.
Home electronics, Dinner party, Movie night, all happen in reconfigurable living space. A space where we can live passionately. The best way to socialize is to physically gather. A contest meant to encourage a sense of community within a neighborhood, and the hot water draws is part of our home life activities.
And because we push towards a decarbonized world, renewables must permeate clean energy use in transport means also and contribute to a successful integration of the electric mobility in our transport sector. The house should be equipped with a conveniently located car charging station. The Electric vehicule can foster the smart management of energy and its battery can be used as a back-up of the house needs when possible.
Communication & Social Awarness
Communication & Social Awareness
The decathletes should adopt advanced and sophisticated strategies in their public outreach. Promoting the concept of healthier environment and green buildings is a key for a broad public outreach. Decathletes-led tours are featured to the public, the visitors gather ideas and learn about money-saving products.
We aim to disseminate knowledge and information across different aspects of the green buildings. For that, an assessment of the concerted efforts deployed and their effectiveness to raise awareness and enhance the understanding will be evaluated.
Electrical Energy Balance
Electrical Energy Balance
The rooftop solar photovoltaic system, which is connected to the electrical grid, is used as the unique source of electric energy and supposed to power all of the systems of the house.
The solar photovoltaic modules can be influenced by various factors among which the weather plays a prime role, also the soiling, dust and aging are considered major factors influencing the electricity production, especially in the host city of the Solar Decathlon Africa, and which the participating teams are required to consider while designing their systems.
On the other side, active solar thermal systems may be used to provide hot water, heating in winter and other services. The teams should optimally balance energy production with the energy consumption of the building.
Equipped with photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors, the house can sustain itself and generate power. An electric battery may be used to store the excess of photovoltaic energy output, to keep the systems running at night and pick periods; howerever, the decathletes should reveal the measures to maintain cost-competitiveness and reliability of the power system.
The decathletes are required to adopt innovative solutions that create the greatest synergies between energy efficiency, functionality and reliability of the systems and demonstrate sustainability over the life cycle of the project. An opportunity, through this contest, to generate new ideas, to tackle our energy and energy intensity for buildings challenges.
This contest oversees all the breakthroughs leading to pertinent defined aspects of the green house, it encourages to brainstorm ways to enhance innovation and applied research and pushes towards developing disruptive innovations that lead to creating new industries.
The use of home automation system, ensures the house is operated in the most efficient way, and residents can control the ambiance of their home. We push forward the cutting edge of home energy management systems.
This contest oversees all the innovative solutions adopted in the previous contests.