Teams selected for the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021 in Wuppertal, Germany!


Smiling SDE19 decathlets.

● The SDE21 is an urban competition for sustainable building and living. © SDE19/ÉMI Non-profit Ltd.

18 international teams have been selected by a high-profile panel of experts to participate in the Solar Decathlon Europe 21. The first urban edition of the renowned competition in sustainable building and living will take place in Wuppertal, Germany. It is hosted by the University of Wuppertal and supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The starting shot has sounded: from a multitude of applications, an international panel of experts has selected 18 university teams from 11 countries for participation in the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 (SDE21) in Wuppertal. The decathlon for sustainable building and living – launched in the USA in 2002 – is taking place for the 21st time in 2021. After prior contest locations in Madrid and Versailles, the European version of the competition, stewarded by the Energy Endeavour Foundation (EEF), is now coming to Germany for the first time, with a new urban profile.

The 18 teams of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 are:

  • The School of Architecture, Bangkok University, Thailand
  • Chalmers Technical University, Sweden
  • Czech Technical University, Czech Republic
  • Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • FH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble, France
  • Biberach University of Applied Science, Germany
  • Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart, Germany
  • Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand
  • National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
  • Rosenheim Technical University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
  • University of Pécs, Hungary
  • Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, Spain

European cities of the future

Innovative ideas for sustainable, energy-efficient and socially responsible architecture are at the heart of the SDE21. Against the backdrop of climate change, the aim of the competition is to advance the energy transition in urban quarters and thus to collectively create liveable and futureproof cities. „The Solar Decathlon Europe is a singular experience for student decathletes who learn by building with renewables, and contribute to our better built environment“, explains Louise Holloway, Director of the Energy Endeavour Foundation.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the project team of the University of Wuppertal in cooperation with the City of Wuppertal, the Wuppertal Institute, the initiative Utopiastadt [Utopia City], the city utilities Wuppertal and the Neue Effizienz GmbH are striking a new path. For the first time in its history, the competition is taking place in Germany. „I‘m proud that Wuppertal managed to convince the panel with its innovative idea of an urban competition. I’m certain that the teams will present ideas which will come to be regarded as best practice solutions for other cities and countries. That’s what a real, lived energy transition looks like!“, announces Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

One competition, ten disciplines

The 18 chosen teams now have roughly 1.5 years to conceive and develop their buildings and concepts. Eventually, in August 2021, representative sections of the overall buildings (scaled 1:1) will be built and operated on the area of the Utopia City campus. The teams will be competing in ten competition disciplines while the fully operational dwellings are open to the public for a first-hand experience.

While the buildings‘ architecture, sustainability and innovation are important aspects, the buildings‘ suit- ability to address social questions will be an important factor for assessment. „The big challenge will be to develop architecturally and socially appropriate solutions for existing buildings to address the urgent task of the energy transition and climate protection“, explains Competition Director Professor Karsten Voss.

First team workshop in Wuppertal in April

In the beginning of April 2020, the 18 selected university teams will be visiting Wuppertal. In addition to topical workshops, the decathletes citizens will have the opportunity to network with the local community and Mirke district during city walks, reports Dr.-Ing. Katharina Simon, Project Director for Architecture and Urban Innovation: „We are looking forward to visionary concepts providing us with unconventional and innovative food for thought towards climate-neutral, urban transformation. In the next two years, Wuppertal will become a real-life laboratory through the Solar Decathlon Europe 21!“ 

Carsten Voss, Katarina Simon and Daniel Lorberg from SDE21

● Project leaders Dr Daniel Lorberg, Dr-Ing. Katharina Simon and Prof. Dr-Ing. Karsten Voss (right-to-left). © SDE21


Smiling SDE19 decathlets.

● © SDE19/ÉMI Non-profit Ltd.

Carsten Voss, Katarina Simon and Daniel Lorberg from SDE21

● © SDE21

Teams selected for the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021 in Wuppertal, Germany!