Solar Decathlon: International Competition Comes to Wuppertal

Student competition for innovative buildings to be held in Germany for the first time

  • Press Releases 29.01.2019
The Energy Endeavour Foundation and the project team
The Energy Endeavour Foundation and the project team met on 18 January 2019 at Café Blo in Mirker Quartier, Wuppertal. Source: Wolf Sondermann

At the Energiewendebauen Congress in Berlin on 29 January 2019, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Thomas Bareiß announced that the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021 will take place in Germany for the first time – specifically, in Wuppertal. In another first, the competition will focus on the energy transition and climate protection in the heart of an urban district. The application stage for university teams starts in March.

Universities from all over the world, and their dedicated students in particular, have been taking part in the Solar Decathlon energy-efficient buildings competition for many years. Launched in the USA in 2002, the Solar Decathlon has now taken place 13 times around the globe, most recently in Dubai in November of last year. German universities have also successfully participated on several occasions. Since 2010, the European offshoot of the competition has focused on solar-powered "energy-plus" buildings. The Solar Decathlon Europe last took place in France in 2014; this year it is coming to Hungary.

Germany has long been committed to developing the content of the competition format further and is also leading the Competition and Living Lab Platform working group within the International Energy Agency (IEA). Against this background, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) last year launched an ideas competition within its EnEff.Gebäude.2050 funding initiative and subsequently received proposals for an energy-efficient buildings competition in Germany. The team comprising the University of Wuppertal (BUW), the City of Wuppertal, the Wuppertal Institute and the Utopiastadt ("Utopia City") initiative were awarded first place with their proposal Solar Decathlon goes Urban. This was the basis for the German bid to host the next Solar Decathlon within the European Call for Cities announced by the Energy Endeavour Foundation.

Now the result is official: in 2021, the Solar Decathlon Europe will take place in Germany for the first time – specifically, at the Utopiastadt Campus in central Wuppertal's Mirke district.

The Solar Decathlon goes Urban concept

Renovate, extend, build upwards and close gaps: these are the central architectural tasks of the energy transition in the neighbourhood. Resource efficiency, sufficiency, climate protection and recycling-friendly construction must also be taken into account. In addition to these structural and architectural challenges, the urban Solar Decathlon will focus specifically on the integrated and participatory development of the district and its buildings. The competition concept is part of a broad-based real-world laboratory in which various scientific and practical groups of stakeholders develop the criteria for the competition on an equal footing and put ideas for greater climate protection into practice. Based on real examples of renovation projects in the neighbourhood, different construction tasks in the existing building stock will be planned, implemented and monitored by scientists – from filling in gaps to extending upwards. In addition, 18 model projects are to be realised on the Utopiastadt Campus during the competition – including buildings that will be used in the longer term as part of one of North Rhine-Westphalia's Living Labs for social research.
"The direction taken by the Solar Decathlon is another exciting milestone in the development of Wuppertal into a leading urban testing location for sustainable future designs," says Professor Uwe Schneidewind, President of the Wuppertal Institute.

Wuppertal's up-and-coming Mirke district, with its lively and multicultural character and around 800 buildings, will provide the context for the challenge, and the open space within the Utopiastadt Campus will serve as its venue. The Wilhelmine-style neighbourhood is already known for exciting urban developments and has developed into a real-world laboratory with a reach that extends beyond the region. The creative cluster of the Utopiastadt initiative is based there, and an active civil society operates via Forum:Mirke. The University of Wuppertal, the Wuppertal Institute and the joint Centre for Transformation Research and Sustainability (TransZent) have been active in the area for a number of years by means of various participative and collaborative research formats and are very familiar with the local situation.

Applications open in March

The real-world solutions should make a key contribution on the journey to becoming a resource-efficient, climate-neutral city. This first Urban Solar Decathlon aims to encourage students to put their creative ideas into practice and to shape this journey in cooperation with industry and local stakeholder groups.

The international call for applications from university teams will be published in March 2019. The student teams will then have until the autumn to apply.

 

Press release

Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH

Responsible for content: Professor Uwe Schneidewind, President

Contact: Christin Hasken, Head of Communications and Public Relations

Tel.: +49 202 2492-187

Fax: +49 202 2492-108

E-mail: christin.hasken@wupperinst.org


Printable pictures

Kick-off meeting
At the start of the project on 18 January 2019, the Energy Endeavour Foundation visited the Café Blo in the Mirker Quartier in Wuppertal (from left to right): Emy Ritt (Chairman of the jury of the Call for Cities), Claudio Montero Santos (Energy Endeavour Foundation), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karsten Voss (University of Wuppertal), Louise Holloway (Energy Endeavour Foundation), Andreas Mucke (Lord Mayor of Wuppertal), Dr. Daniel Lorberg (TransZent, University of Wuppertal), Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind (President of the Wuppertal Institute), Prof. Dr. Lambert Koch (University of Wuppertal). Source: Wolf Sondermann

Energy Endeavour Foundation and project participants
From the left: Dr. Justus von Geibler (Wuppertal Institute), Dr.-Ing. Katharina Simon (University of Wuppertal), David Becher (Utopiastadt Förderverein), Christian Popien (Bahnhof Blo), Emy Ritt (Chairman of the Jury of the Call for Cities), (front:) Mira Heinze (Project Management Jülich), (back:) Arndt Wilmanns (Bahnhof Blo), Markus Riedel (Utopiastadt Förderverein), Andreas Mucke (Lord Mayor of Wuppertal), Louise Holloway (Energy Endeavour Foundation), Prof. Dr. Lambert Koch (University of Wuppertal), Prof. Dr.-Karsten Voss (University of Wuppertal), Dr. Daniel Lorberg (TransZent, University of Wuppertal), Ulrich Rieke (Wuppertaler Stadtwerke), Matthias Wanner (Wuppertal Institute and TransZent), Prof. Dr.-Ing.Felix Huber (University of Wuppertal), Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind (President of the Wuppertal Institute), Claudio Montero Santos (Energy Endeavour Foundation), Frank Meyer (City of Wuppertal, Department of Urban Development, Construction, Transport and Environment). Source: Wolf Sondermann

Wuppertal urban quarter
During their visit, the jury and project participants assessed the urban quarter in Wuppertal (from left to right): Emy Ritt (Chairman of the jury "Call for Cities"), Prof. Dr. Karsten Voss (University of Wuppertal), Mira Heinze (Project Management Jülich), Dr. Daniel Lorberg (TransZent and University of Wuppertal), Dr. Katharina Simon (University of Wuppertal), Claudio Montero Santos (Energy Endeavour Foundation), Matthias Wanner (Wuppertal Institute and TransZent). Source: Wolf Sondermann

Energy Endeavour Foundation
The jury of the Energy Endeavour Foundation met on 18 January 2019 with project participants for the final plausibility check at the Wuppertal Institute. Source: Wuppertal Institute

Urban Solar Decathlon
Timeline of the Urban Solar Decathlon. Source: Bärbel Offergeld