The last I checked in with the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe, a motley assemblage of
20 18 collegiate teams (more on that in a bit) from across the globe had already converged on Madrid’s Casa de Campa and were in the process of readying their solar-powered homes for the big competition.
Now that the solar-powered show-down — or as Smart Planet’s Jennifer Riggins aptly describes the event, “a hardcore international race to build the most self-sustaining home” — has entered its second week and the closing ceremonies are just a few short days away, I thought I’d take a look at the standings thus far.
But before I do, I should point out that two teams that I originally featured in my pre-competition round-up posts have since withdrawn from SD Europe: London Metropolitan University and The American University of Cairo. It’s sad news for both but especially for the latter team, which apparently faced some formidable obstacles — funding issues and, umm, major revolutions — leading up to the event. If the Egyptian team had been able to participate, they would have been the first African team to compete in a European Solar Decathlon or its original, Department of Energy-sponsored counterpart. Here’s hoping that both teams who spent so much time and energy designing their homes will show in future competitions.
Now on to the official scores as of today (Sept. 24). Keep in mind that three of the competition's 10 contests have yet to be judged and they are juried biggies — innovation, sustainability, and energy-efficiency — so there’s still plenty of room for major upsets. Will Germany win SD Europe after taking second and third places during 2011's competition? Will France be able to hang on to first or will a Spanish team prevail and make its host country proud?
540.46 points. First place in the architecture contest; second place in the communications/social awareness, house functioning, and market viability contests.
522.35 points. First place in communications/social awareness and energy balances contests; third place in the engineering/construction contest.
508.26 points. First place in engineering/construction and market viability contests. Fourth place in architecture contest.
505.06 points. Second place in energy balance contest; third place in architecture and communications/social awareness contests.
495.21 points. Second place in architecture contest; third place in communications/social awareness and market viability contests.
15. Japan: Chiba University — The Omotenashi House
18. France/Italy: Astonyshine (ENSA Paris-Malaquais, University of Ferrara) — Astonyshine
There are also several out-of-contest awards and two decided-by-the-public awards yet to be handed out (one through online voting and the other through on-site voting). Although the people's choice awards could very well go to a homegrown team, I have a hunch that Germany’s Counter Entropy is be a crowd favorite given that its shingled façade is completely composed of melted CDs and the overall design cleverly incorporates a ton of recycled materials. Plus, the interior appears to be quite beautiful.
Me? I’m fond of the merrily low-tech, low-impact charms of Romania’s prefab PRISPA (it’s certainly the most “house-like” of the homes erected at Villa Solar). The prototype of the home, which emphasizes comfort and coziness over an overabundance of gadgets and gizmos, has already sold at auction. I’m also intrigued by Denmark’s FOLD house and Hungary's Odooproject. And although it's not scoring all that well, I'm also quite fond of the concept behind Team Brazil's wood-clad, water-conserving Ekó House. Like PRISPA, it's less about the razzle-dazzle and more about merging sustainability with affordability.
Have you had the chance to visit Villa Solar over the past week? Any particular homes that stood out to you?