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Dubai’s Solar Decathlon Middle East attracts innovations in building smart houses

Dubai: The second Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME), organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), “has attracted innovative projects that promote the culture of sustainability in the UAE and Dubai”, Dewa announced on Friday.

SDME promotes sustainable living by encouraging the design and operation of solar-powered houses that are highly efficient in terms of cost and energy consumption to protect the region’s environment. Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles are being used to design solar-powered houses.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa, noted: “Our vision is guided by the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to empower the youth and engage them in the development process, as well as anticipate and shape the future. We also aim to enhance their contribution to achieving sustainable development goals through research using the latest innovative technologies.”

Sustainable house

One of the most notable projects is by the University of Sharjah team, whose sustainable house focuses on comfortable living.

Inside spaces were designated for virtual and physical workshops and a fabrication lab with flexible computer-controlled tools like 3D modelling and computer-aided design to meet home needs. The house also alerts residents on energy and sustainability usage to preserve energy and resources.

‘A box within a box’

The design of the building is based on the concept of ‘a box within a box’, where the outer layer provides protection from the external climate while attracting sunlight to generate solar power. The inner layer, meanwhile, maintains a moderate temperature inside the house.

The house offers ample scope for recycling and sorting kitchen waste, treating and reusing 100 per cent of wastewater, as well as other resources. Various parts of the house can be converted into a design studio or into a virtual reality station to conduct further tests before starting the manufacturing and 3D printing phase.

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Green generation

Maamar Bettayeb

Professor Maamar Bettayeb, vice-chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at University of Sharjah, said: “SDME offers an extraordinary opportunity for university teams to be challenged in a real-life scenario, and for the students to be exposed to the industrial sector. For this reason, the University of Sharjah presents a project that combines sustainability and innovation, by stimulating environmental awareness among future professionals, with the aim of educating a ‘green’ generation that is ready for the world’s next challenges.”

Dewa organised the first SDME in 2018. The second SDME will be held in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park from November 7-22 this year. The event is part of a partnership between Dewa, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the United States Department of Energy.

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