Rhône Alpes of France Wins Solar Decathlon Europe 2012
Rhône Alpes of France won the second iteration of Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid, Spain, this past Saturday. The team’s Canopea house won the international competition with a total score of 908.72 points. The home took top honors eking out Spanish team’s Andalucía Team’s Patio 2.12 house, which received 897.30 points in the contest.
Solar Decathlon Europe is an international contest based on the original Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in the U.S. Like the U.S. competition, it challenges teams of universities from across the world to make energy efficient homes that use solar power to derive as much of their power as possible.
The competition opened up on Sept. 13 at the Villa Solar complex in Madrid, where the 18 teams constructed and tested their homes. The majority of competitors were from European countries including Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Romania. But teams from China, Japan, Brazil and Egypt also competed in the event.
The teams competed in 10 events with a total of 1,000 points at stake. The competitions included architecture, engineering and construction, energy efficiency, energy balance, living space conditions, function, market viability, innovation and sustainability.
The winning house, Canopea, was designed as a way to address housing density in France’s alpine corridor. The glass encased “Nanotower” allows for an individual house each floor with up to 10 floors–or homes—being integrated into one building. The top floor of the building hosts a common laundry, a summer kitchen and a place for all community and gardens and storage spaces, according to Solar Decathlon Europe.
The second place in the contest went to the Spanish Andalucia team, which consisted of members from the universities of Sevilla, Granada, Málaga and Jaén. Their Patio 2.12 design was developed as a prefabricated, modular home that can be expanded as needed and built within 5 days. The third prize went to the Italian Med in Italy house. Both runners up designed homes suited for more Mediterranean parts of the continent, which have mild winters and hot summers.
Solar Decathlon Europe is the second in the Solar Decathlon series. As solar has grown in popularity across the world, more countries are introducing their own version of the event. For instance, China will hold its first Solar Decathlon in 2013. The U.S. will also hold its decathlon next year in Irvine, Calif.
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