AURAK Team to Take Part in Solar Decathlon Middle East 2020

October 22, 2019,

The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) team was among those to have successfully qualified for the final phase of the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2020, a contest that challenges students to design and build solar-powered houses.

His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, which organize the competition, delivered the opening speech at the event at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

AURAK and the University of Dubai will work together on the project. Other teams participating include the British University in Dubai, the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, South China University of Technology, the University of Bahrain, the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates University, the University of Maryland, and New York University Abu Dhabi.

Students Wiktoria Szylak and Mohab Hamada delivered AURAK’s presentation to an audience of around 200-250 people.

“This competition is about building a zero-energy house. It means a house that generates energy from the sun, from solar energy, to cover the consumption needed for the house like AC, lighting, power. All electricity that’s needed for the house will be generated by the sun. This is the basic idea about the house,” said Mr. Tawfiq Abu Hantash, Associate Professor – Architectural Design, History and Theory of Architecture, at AURAK.

“The whole idea is about creating an innovative house plus new ideas that have new sustainable concepts that can be implemented in residential buildings.”

He said taking part in the Solar Decathlon Middle East would offer a unique experience for the students.

“They will get first-hand experience in how to design and build a house or a project in general. This opportunity does not usually happen in academic life, so this is something they will do before they go out to the market and become real engineers or architects or professionals,” he added.

He said that a team of around 30 AURAK students and faculty would work on the project.

Mr. Tawfiq said that the AURAK team was now looking for sponsors. Last time, AURAK’s project had around 25 sponsors who contributed materials and services.

AURAK’s involvement will not be limited to architecture students. Marketing, management and mass communications students will also participate.

The winners of the Solar Decathlon 2018 competition presented their projects. Architecture student Laurie Booth from the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research outlined the ideas behind her team’s house, which took first place, and how it was built and exhibited around the world.

In the afternoon session Dr. Edwin Rodriguez, the competition manager, offered insights on the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2020. He emphasized the importance of the teams getting sponsors.

Lots were drawn to choose sites for when the teams’ houses are exhibited and AURAK drew second so could choose a good display site for its project.

Teams will now design and build their houses, before shipping them to the SDME site in Dubai where the final judging will take place in 2020.