Solar Decathlon India net-zero building challenge awards announced

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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New Delhi, July 01: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh on Friday presented the Solar Decathlon India net-zero building challenge awards for 2021.

What is Solar Decathlon India?

Solar Decathlon India is an annual contest designed for undergraduate and postgraduate students from Indian colleges and universities to address climate change by developing innovative, net-zero energy and climate-resilient solutions for the construction and building sector, estimated to be contributing to 38% of the global CO2 emissions.

The programme is intended to enable student teams to explore affordable building solutions that are innovative and forward-looking. By partnering with the industry, they design resilient, net-zero-energy-water buildings for real building projects. The entries were evaluated on ten criteria: energy performance, water performance, resilience, affordability, innovation; scalability and market potential, health, architectural design, engineering and operations, and presentation.

The awards were presented in six sections. In the first section, which covered community resilience shelters, a team from IIT, Ropar won the prize, and a team from Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture, Pune was the runner-up; in the second section that pertained to housing for onsite construction workers, a team from Jamia Millia Islamia was the winner and a team from Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture was the runner up; in the third section, which related to office buildings, R.V.College of Architecture was the winner and a team from School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada was the runner up; in the fourth section, which was for housing for single-families, a team from SMEF’s Brick School of Architecture was the winner and a team from R.V.College of Architecture was the runner up; in the fifth section, which covered educational buildings, both the winners and the runner-up came from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi; and in the sixth section, which related to multi-family housing, a team from Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University was the winner and a team from Engineering and Management, Kolkata, was the runner up.

Congratulating the winners, the Union Minister recalled the Panchamrit climate action agenda presented by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi at the COP26 meeting that sets a target for net-zero emissions by 2070. He hoped that the innovative ideas mooted by the students would turn out to be practical realities and not remain on paper. It is not enough to launch startups. They also need to be able to sustain themselves over the long term, he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh also emphasised the need for real estate developers, builders, industry, and academia to work together to pool and synergise their experience, expertise, and resources for the overall welfare of society.

Dr S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, the Department of Science and Technology, expressed hope that the Solar Decathlon India would go a long way in building a culture of innovation in colleges to benefit the building industry at large.

Solar Decathlon India is an India-US collaboration under an MOU between the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the US Department of Energy. It is conducted by the Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE) and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS).

(India Science Wire)

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