Youth are EcoBuilding for an International Competition


Youth from the University of Nottingham and other 19 universities from different countries from all over the world are participating in the International Solar Decathlon Europe competition to be held in Madrid, Spain, in June 2010.

The team – called “The Nottingham HOUSE” – is sponsored by Saint-Gobain, together, they have been building a Code Level 6* (zero carbon house) that is also a Passive House (requires almost no form of active heating) – an industry first for the UK. The house has been constructed entirely from materials supplied or approved by Saint-Gobain’s UK companies, which have joined forces to provide products and technical expertise; working with the students to optimise energy efficiency and create a home that is both eco-friendly and affordable.

A key objective for the students was to ensure that the Nottingham H.O.U.S.E will comply with the UK’s code for sustainable homes (carbon neutral for new build by 2016). The final design is versatile enough to work as a semi-detached house, terraced or even stacked as apartments – a highly marketable starter home – a major requirement in the UK.

This landmark achievement proves that it is possible to build a highly energy efficient, sustainable home that is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, affordable and repeatable.

The competition

The Solar Decathlon is an International competition for universities to design and build Europe’s most attractive, effective and energy efficient house. Each will be judged on 10 separate environmental areas, from solar systems and sustainability to market viability and architectural merit – giving the competition its title, Solar Decathlon.

There are no short-cuts: each team must build and test a full scale house before transporting it to Madrid to be reassembled for the final. The students will also have to live in the house to demonstrate its effectiveness and energy efficiency (SolarDecathlon).

Ecobuild is the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment.

Many companies will be present at the event to demonstrate their capacity in providing a wide range of innovative solutions that can help improve the energy-efficiency and sustainability of buildings. They will highlight the range of solutions available to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings in four key areas; new build and existing, residential, commercial and public sector.

Each company will also demonstrate how their products are designed to enhance quality of life by contributing to more comfortable living and working space as well as enhancing the aesthetics of the built environment.

*To learn more about the Code, check the publication bellow.

Further reading: Architect’s Journal Sustainable Products

Publications: Greener homes for the future (download file)

Photos by Katie Tokarski

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