SDME Designs Have Become Sustainable Research Centres In The UAE

SDME designs have become sustainable research centres in the UAE

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Several regions across the UAE are witnessing the implementation of the designs of some of the teams that participated in the first and second Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) to construct sustainable research centres and laboratories. The university teams expressed their happiness at implementing the designs of their homes in several regions in Dubai and abroad, in cooperation with a group of real estate developers and international housing programmes. The teams praised the organisers of the competition for providing opportunities for young people to unleash their creativity, turn their innovative designs into reality, and encourage them to design, build and operate sustainable models of solar-powered homes. 


The SDME was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, and organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), as part of a partnership between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and DEWA with the US Department of Energy.


The first (2018) and second (2021) SDMEs were held for the first time in the Middle East and Africa at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world. 

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“We are pleased to see the positive impact of the competition in Dubai and its support for the Dubai 2040 Urban Masterplan launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which outlines an integrated roadmap for urban development based on sustainable development to make Dubai the world’s best place to live. At DEWA, we are working on launching and incubating initiatives, programmes and competitions that consolidate the UAE and Dubai’s position as a hub for creativity and innovation as well as an incubator for innovators, to develop innovative solutions that fight climate change and engage youth in sustainable development,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and MD & CEO of DEWA.

Among the teams who are implementing their homes in different Emirates in the UAE are the BaityKool team from the University of Bordeaux, France, Amity University in the UAE; An-Najah National University in Palestine; Team Aqua Green from Ajman University; Team Desert Rose from Wollongong (UOW) Australia; Sharjah Team from the University of Sharjah; and Esteem from Heriot-Watt University in the UK and Heriot-Watt in Dubai.

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Professor Tim McCarthy, Director, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, University of Wollongong, Australia; Dr. Naglaa Mahmoud, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering (Architecture) at Ajman University; and Dr. Philippe Lagiere, Assistant Professor Université de Bordeaux, highlighted the importance of the opportunity offered by the SDME to test the projects of the participants in reality and using special programmes for the first time. This has enabled them to improve their designs and better understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as strengthen the experiences of all team members and their communication skills. 

The competition was the largest and most competitive and challenging competition among international universities, with total prizes exceeding AED 20 million. Dubai’s hosting of the competition reflects the Emirate’s position as a futuristic city that provides space for youth from all over the world to demonstrate their creativity and innovation. Eight teams from 12 universities around the world participated in the second SDME, while the first SDME attracted over 600 students and academics from 54 nationalities; 15 teams from 28 universities in 11 countries around the world.

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The SDME is an important addition to the journey of sustainable development, enabling the design of smart, sustainable, solar-powered homes that adopt the latest disruptive technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions. The homes are cost, energy, and water efficient, protecting the natural resources for current and future generations.

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