HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced that registration is now open for the second Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME). SDME was created through an agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA, and the United States Department of Energy. Dubai will host the first two rounds of the Solar Decathlon. The first in November 2018, and the second in 2020. The announcement was made at the Second International Workshop, which DEWA organised for the 21 teams from 36 universities in 15 countries that are participating in the first round of the competition. The workshop was attended by HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, HE Paul Malik, US Consul General in Dubai, HE Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Energy, Richard King, Founder of the Solar Decathlon Competition, Najeeb Al Ali, Executive Director of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, Dr Edwin Rodriguez, SDME Manager, and officials, researchers, and former participants of the Solar Decathlon. In his speech, Al Zeyoudi congratulated DEWA for organising the international workshop, in preparation for the SDME 2018, and welcomed representatives of the teams. “Our environmental impacts are increasingly concentrated in the urban areas. Here in the UAE, more than 90% of the population are living in urban centres. Therefore, how we manage our cities is critical to ensuring sustainable development against the increasing impact of climate change. The UAE Green Agenda 2030 adopted by the UAE Cabinet in 2015 includes a programme on Integrated Green Infrastructure because we believe that the development of green buildings and infrastructure are key priorities,” said Al Zeyoudi. The Minister pointed out that the 10 different aspects of the Solar Decathlon competition clearly encourage this integrated thinking about urban development, not just looking at the performance of individual buildings. “To realise sustainable development throughout our cities, we need more accelerated efforts, innovative ideas, and research and development of promising technologies and solutions. Solar Decathlon is an excellent initiative to provide youth around the world with a great opportunity to showcase their ideas and try them in a real-life setting. I would like to congratulate all teams for the nomination to this important competition and wish you all a great success in the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018,” concluded Al Zeyoudi. In his speech, Al Tayer welcomed the participating teams. “I’m pleased to see you again in Dubai at this second international workshop, which is part of our preparations for the first Solar Decathlon Middle East. 21 teams from 36 universities across 15 countries are competing against each other. This year’s competition is particularly important, not only because it’s held for the first time in the Middle East and Africa, but also because it’s organised during the Year of Zayed, which marks 100 years since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who consolidated the principles of sustainable development in the UAE. This is continued by our wise leadership, represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. These efforts have made the UAE a role model for comprehensive development. This is evident in the development strategies, programmes, and plans to ensure sustainable growth that balances urban development and preserves the environment. This is done by diversifying the economy and increasing reliance on clean and renewable energy. As you know, an area of approximately 60,000 square metres has been allocated for the competition at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar part in the world. It has been selected for its importance in Dubai’s transition towards renewable and clean energy. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to provide 75% of the Emirate’s total power output from clean energy by 2050, and establish a sustainable model in energy conservation that supports economic growth, as well as provide Dubai with the lowest carbon footprint by 2050,” he said. “The UAE has become a hub for creativity, a destination and an incubator for innovators from all over the world, thanks to the efforts of our wise leadership to provide an environment conducive to innovation and investing in shaping the future. Earlier this month, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the National Advanced Science Agenda 2031 to use advanced sciences in the development and creation of solutions to future challenges and support the government’s efforts to achieve the objectives of the UAE National Agenda 2021 and the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, which is a long-term government plan to prepare the UAE and young Emiratis for the future. The Solar Decathlon is the largest and most competitive and challenging competition among international universities. The Solar Decathlon Middle East will be hosted in Dubai as a result of an agreement between DEWA and the United States Department of Energy. This supports our efforts to provide opportunities for youth, to unleash their potential and encourage them to be creative and innovative, and develop effective solutions and support global efforts to protect Planet Earth from the effects of global warming, to ensure a sustainable future. We believe that young people are the driving force for building a brighter future. Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the cornerstone of sustainable development,” added Al Tayer. At the workshop, Al Tayer announced that the second Solar Decathlon Middle East, which will be held in 2020, will now start accepting applications. SDME 2020 will coincide with Expo Dubai 2020, whose theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ fits well with this distinguished competition. Prizes for the two rounds total over AED20 million. “When I met some of you last year during the first international workshop, I saw your determination and desire to make a difference. I was impressed with your innovative designs, which will be a significant addition to viable models for smart and sustainable homes. I want you to be role models for your colleagues at your universities and other universities around the world, to encourage them to participate in the second Solar Decathlon Middle East,” concluded Al Tayer. “I would like to congratulate His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA, and his entire team for the world class organisation and preparation for the first Solar Decathlon Middle East to be held at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in November 2018. It’s great to be back at the DEWA Solar Decathlon workshop; I met many of the student contestants last year. You have been working for more than a year on your innovative houses, and it’s exciting to see the models outside. You are among more than 36,000 students that have been involved in Solar Decathlons around the world since 2002,” said Malik. “We are proud that the Solar Decathlon has become an international movement, with similar competitions now planned in five regions of the world It is not surprising that Dubai and the UAE have taken up the mantle of innovation, hosting the first Solar Decathlon Middle East in Dubai,” added Malik. “This is crunch time. The hardest, most challenging part of the competition is fast approaching, the physical time when resourcefulness, determination and passion prevail. The design time is over. It is time to prove who has the best team and a winning design. The next six months will measure how capable each team is. I can’t wait to see them in action this November,” said Richard King, Founder of the Solar Decathlon Competition. “We expect to get a lot of work accomplished this week. The workshop will be the last time we will all be together before the competition,” added King. The teams that have qualified to the final stage of the first Solar Decathlon Middle East are: Spirit of the Union from Zayed University and the Petroleum Institute; Team Know-Howse from University of Sharjah, UAE and University of Ferrara, Italy; Team ORA from Heriot-Watt University in Dubai; Team NYUAD from New York University Abu Dhabi; Team Jeel from the American University in Dubai; Team Al Bayt Al Kamel from the American University of Ras Al Khaimah; Team UOW from University of Wollongong-Australia and University of Wollongong Dubai, Team Aqua Green from Ajman University; Team KSU from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia; Team SoLLite Salalah from Dhofar University in Oman; Team BaityKool from the University of Bordeaux, France, Amity University in the UAE, and An-Najah National University from Palestine; Team EFdeN from Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, University Politehnica of Bucharest, and Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, Romania and Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani Dubai Campus, UAE; Team FutureHAUS from Virginia Tech University in the USA; Team HAAB from University of Chieti-Pescara Gabriele D’Annunzio University of Pisa, and University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Italy; Team Sapienza from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; Team VIRTUe from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands; Team TDIS from the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan; Team MizanHome from Universiti Teknologi and Universiti Sains Islam in Malaysia; Team Twist Box from the University of Belgrade, Serbia; Team Jordan from the University of Jordan, and Team Bgreen from the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. The competition encourages the participating teams to design, build, and operate sustainable, cost-and-energy efficient models of solar-powered homes, with a focus on protecting the environment, and taking into consideration the climate of the region. The participating teams will be evaluated according to 10 contests: architecture, engineering and building, energy management, energy efficiency, comfort conditions, home functionality, sustainable transport, sustainability, communications, and innovation.