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urban solar decathlon: the international student competition is coming to germany for the first time


Photo of Dr. Lorberg, Dr. Simon, Prof. Voss, Louise Holloway, Claudio Montero and many more standing around a module of Wuppertal.

● © Wolf Sonderman

Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Thomas Bareiß announced on 29th January at the congress Energiewendebauen in Berlin that in 2021 the Solar Decathlon Europe will take place for the first time in Germany in Wuppertal.

Universities and their committed students from all over the world have been participating in the Solar Decathlon energy building competition since 2002. The Solar Decathlon has seen 13 magnificent editions worldwide, encouraging widespread behavioural change.

German universities have been successful participants in several international Solar Decathlon editions. The Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) has been held since 2010; brilliant editions took place in Madrid and Versailles, and the upcoming SDE19 in Szentendre, Hungary will galvanise audiences toward the exciting SDE21 in Wuppertal.

Germany has long been committed to furthering the content of the competition format and is also leading a working group within the framework of the International Energy Agency. Against this background, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) last year awarded an ideas competition as part of its funding initiative “EnEff.Gebäude.2050” and received proposals for an energy building competition in Germany. The team comprised of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, the city, the Wuppertal Institute, the local utility WSW, the Neue Effizienz and the Utopiastadt initiative received the first prize for their proposal “Solar Decathlon goes Urban”. This was the basis for the German application as host of the next Solar Decathlon in the European “SDE21 Call for Cities”, produced and stewarded by the Energy Endeavour Foundation.

The SDE21 concept: In 2021, the Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE21) will take place in Germany for the first time! Wuppertal will host a truly urban SDE21, in the middle of the city. This urban energy building competition addresses our energy transition in the district, and further development of the existing housing stock with and for the people. Indeed, this stock is the focus of architectural and construction activities in Germany and Europe. Rebuilding, evolving, building up and re-defining vacant lots are the central architectural tasks – resource efficiency, sufficiency, climate protection and recycling-friendly construction are the central themes.

The Mirker Quartier in Wuppertal with its character and its people places the building task in context. The competition will be part of a large-scale real laboratory in this district. Wuppertal is a transition city in which the change to sustainability occupies a central place. Framed by the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, Wuppertal represents the archetypal European city where most citizens live. The lifelike solutions that are developed by the Teams in this competition will be key contributions toward resource-efficient, climate-neutral cities. This first ‘Urban Solar Decathlon Europe’ is a call for students to put their creative ideas into practice and shape this dynamic path toward tomorrow’s built environment. 


Press Release German

Solar Decathlon Europe – The university competition is coming to Germany