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DUBAI 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East


Sapienza University has joined the restricted group of 22 universities that will compete in the Dubai 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East to develop the best residence prototype, in real scale, that is sustainable and energetically self-sufficient.

The official announcement was made on October 5 during the opening ceremony of the World Green Economy Summit, an annual event held in Dubai on environmental sustainability and the economy.

The competing university teams from 16 countries around the world were selected by an international jury following a rigorous technical review that lasted over 3 months.

Starting in November 2016, the 50 Sapienza students participating in the challenge will start working on their “house” at the CEFME-CTP Centre in Pomezia (Rome) coordinated by Marco Casini, Professor of Technology and Environmental Certification at the Faculty of Architecture.

“Our project, ReStart_4Smart, will exploit the most advanced technologies to design and construct a residence that provides answers to all the necessities of efficiency, functionality, comfort and cost: a smart house, that is sustainable, completely self-sufficient and focuses on shape, envelope, systems and people,” explains Professor Casini. “We have published a new call addressing our best students, with architectural, engineering, economic and communicational skills. We need a multidisciplinary approach to achieve our goal.”

The Solar Decathlon is an educational opportunity that will allow students to apply theoretical concepts on a practical study case in an international context. For the next two years, the Sapienza Solar Decathlon Project will serve as a permanent educational lab on sustainable architecture, integration of renewable energy sources in buildings, and innovative home automation systems for the management of the structure and its facilities.

Once completed and fully operational, the residence prototype will be transported to Dubai, where the competition takes place. It will be open to public and judged by an international panel based on ten elements: architectural quality, constructive system, energetic efficiency, internal comfort, functionality of appliances, integration with electric mobility, environmental sustainability, use of vegetation, technological innovation and communication efficiency.


The Solar Decathlon is a two-year international architecture, design, planning and engineering contest organised by the United States Department of Energy since 2002. It aims to develop innovation, transmit knowledge and promote research in renewable energy and sustainable architecture.

The challenge posed to universities around the world is to develop a residence prototype (ca. 100 mq) that employs the sun as the sole source of energy, and testing its efficiency and environmental quality for one month in a dedicated site.

The Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 edition, organized by the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) in collaboration with the Department of Energy of the United States of America, is the first edition of this important inter-university contest to take place in the Middle East and will have the additional challenge of having to confront the difficult local climate with extremely elevated temperature and humidity levels.