Thursday, February 25, 2010

University of Nottingham Zero Carbon Solar Home Ready to Compete in First Solar Decathlon Europe

Image Credit University of Nottingham

Over a year’s planning, design and construction was put to the test at 11am on Friday February 19th   2010 when three sections of a student built, prototype, solar-powered house were craned into place.

A 40 strong team of students from The University of Nottingham are representing Britain in the first ever Solar Decathlon Europe — an international house building competition featuring the very latest in sustainable solar architecture — which takes place in Madrid between June 18 and 27.

The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E (a family home optimizing the use of solar energy) is competing against 19 other universities from across the world to design, build and test drive Europe’s most energy efficient home. Academics, researchers and students from the various disciplines in the Department of the Built Environment have partnered with a select group of industrial sponsors and specialist consultants to make the project possible.

Dr Mark Gillot said: “The full-scale home is designed to the world's most stringent design codes — German Passivhaus Institute Design, UK Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 (Zero-carbon), Lifetime Homes compliant & secured by design compliant. This is the first time all these codes have been complied within a house of this type — this in itself is a massive challenge regardless of the fact we are using students to design and build it. It will be a fully functioning home which is UK building regulations compliant.”

The house has attracted major sponsorship from Saint-Gobain — a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of construction materials. The students are also working with award winning garden designer Ian Dexter and Michelin star Chef Sat Bains to provide and grow ecologically sourced food which will form part of the dining experience in the house during the competition in Spain. Sat has put together an English gastronomic feast for the dinner party guests from the other competing countries — the food has been chosen to use very little energy in its preparation. A solar cooker, developed by the University, will also be used to prepare it.

The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E has many novel features to reduce energy such as a new low energy cooling system developed by the University and partners. The home’s modular volumetric design allows it to be transported and assembled rapidly.

On February 25 the house will be transported from Nottingham to London where it will be showcased at EcoBuild, the world's biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment which takes place from March 2 to March 4.

At the beginning of June the house will head to Madrid where the students have just one week to build the house and landscape the garden before putting its low energy technologies to the test.

Organised and supported by the Ministry of Housing of the Spanish Government together with the US Department of Energy The Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 is judged on 10 separate areas of expertise.

•    The architectural merit of their home
•    Industrialisation and market viability
•    Engineering and construction
•    Solar systems
•    Electrical energy balance
•    Comfort conditions
•    Communication and social awareness
•    Household functionality
•    Innovation
•    Sustainability

The competition aims to educate the general public on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the technologies available to help them reduce their energy consumption; to encourage the use of solar technologies; and to demonstrate that solar houses can be built without sacrificing energy efficiency or comfort, and that they can be both attractive and affordable.

More details about the Nottingham H.O.U.S.E can be found at:
Progress on the build can be followed on the student’s facebook site:
Or Twitter: 

For information about Solar Decathlon Europe go to:


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