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Students at AUD join universities across the world to compete in the Second Solar Decathlon Middle East

Under the name “Desert Phoenix” the four universities will compete with 14 teams from around the world

Apr 07, 2021

The American University in Dubai (AUD) will team up with faculty and students of the University of Louisville, American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) for the Second Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME), scheduled to be held in Dubai in October 2021.

Under the name “Desert Phoenix” the four universities will compete with 14 teams from around the world to build sustainable, solar powered homes with an emphasis on protecting the surrounding environment while keeping the Arabian climate and culture in mind. These homes will be assembled at the SDME competition site in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. The multidisciplinary teams compete in 10 different categories, ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling, while gaining invaluable real-world experience in a growing global industry.

Organized by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, SDME is the largest solar decathlon competition for international universities. Its goal is to involve youth in sustainable development processes and encourage them to use their creativity to develop solutions that support global efforts to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

“This is an interesting opportunity offered to AUD students to test and develop their knowledge in the latest technologies used in the field, thanks to DEWA. While developing the architectural proposal, the students have benefited from collaborating with members from other universities, which is a great practice for the professional field. The nature of the competition that requires the proposal to be constructed at the end, has uniquely differentiated this project from the ones offered in academia.'' stated Professor Mohannad Abu Suhaiban, Assistant Professor of Architecture.

Each of the four universities will focus on a specific area in the project. AUD is focusing on the architectural design of the house, UofL will be focusing on the building structure, building envelope and energy conservation, AUS is focused on smart solutions and water management, and HCT is focused on civil engineering, especially water conservation.

“I believe that DEWA has done a stunning job connecting AUD with local and international universities and encouraging their respective students to work remotely on the same project. AUD students, who are supervised by the energetic and talented Professor Mohannad Abu Suhaiban, have been assigned the architectural design. The AUD team has demonstrated competencies in architectural design, integrating form, construction, including cutting-edge concrete 3D printing technology, thermal control, including solar energy and cultural relevance to the UAE. Finally, kudos to our partners in this endeavor, both universities and sponsors for a lifetime experience for our students,”  said Dr. Nabyl Chenaf, Dean of the School of Architecture Art & Design and Professor of Architecture.

The full list of teams for Solar Decathlon Middle East along with more information about the competition is available on the competition website.