Media Release

Dementia friendly solar powered home competes in world energy Olympics

Team UOW strives for gold

A team of students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and TAFE NSW Illawarra are set to take on the world in a new sustainable energy Olympics challenge.

The team, which also includes students from UOW’s Dubai campus, has reached the finals of the Solar Decathlon Middle East competition to be held in Dubai during October/November 2018. Twenty-two teams from around the world will compete in this competition, following an announcement made at the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai yesterday (Wednesday 5 October).

Team UOW – a partnership between the University and TAFE NSW Illawarra – were the first-ever Australian team to take out gold in the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition held in China. The team currently holds the world record decathlon score with their sustainable retrofit Illawarra Flame House.

The Solar Decathlon requires teams to design and build an affordable and architecturally beautiful net-zero energy house. The full sized house must then be transported to the competition site in Dubai to compete against the top universities and vocational education and training providers from around the world.

For the 2018 competition, Team UOW is developing an innovative dementia friendly solar powered home known as Desert Rose.

Using architectural and technological features, the house will showcase how a sustainable home can create a supportive environment for occupants with dementia and other aged related disabilities. By incorporating the latest research into wellbeing, the team hopes to create another world-winning design.

“This concept of a sustainable house built for the wellbeing of its occupants, coupled with the climate in the Dubai environment and a few other technical details in the individual competitions, make this new adventure a significant intellectual and practical challenge for our students and staff,” said Professor Tim McCarthy, Faculty Advisor for Team UOW Australia-Dubai.

“The Desert Rose house must also meet the market needs of a Middle East client which adds interesting cultural elements.

“While the final competition does not take place until late 2018, Team UOW is already busy developing our concept design in collaboration with community groups and stakeholders.”

Belinda Mackinnon, TAFE NSW Illawarra’s Relieving Institute Director, said the team’s place in the finals confirms UOW and TAFE NSW’s position as leading Australian education and training organisations which compete with world’s best across a range of disciplines.

“This is a huge opportunity to show the world how far advanced the Illawarra is when it comes to clever, sustainable construction and design – and to establish our region as a global leader in this field,” she said.

“This project also highlights the importance of tertiary and vocational education organisations working together to bring theoretical concepts to life through practical applications.”

More information on the Solar Decathlon Middle East can be found on the Solar Decathlon website.

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