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SAINT-GOBAIN & Nottingham University Count Down To The Solar Decathlon Final 

Students from the University of Nottingham’s Department of the Built Environment (DBE) are putting the finishing touches to The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E (Home Optimising the Use of Solar Energy) in preparation for the final of the first international Solar Decathlon Europe Competition which takes place in Madrid next month (18 – 27 June).

The University of Nottingham’s H.O.U.S.E, which is constructed almost entirely of materials supplied by Saint-Gobain, the main sponsor and materials partner, is the UK’s only entry in the competition which will see 19 universities from nine countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas compete to design a highly sustainable, solar powered home. More than 100,000 visitors are expected at the final of the competition which is supported by the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Housing and the US Department of Energy.

Students will be judged on ten separate areas including architectural merit, market viability, construction, solar systems, electrical energy balance, comfort conditions, communication of the project to a wider audience, household functionality, innovation and sustainability. They are also required to host a dinner party at the final to demonstrate their design’s practicality.

Construction of the H.O.U.S.E. is now nearing completion at the University’s King’s Meadow Campus. In the next few weeks, it will be packed up and transported on a fleet of low-loaders supplied by logistics partner DHL to the competition site on the banks of the Manzanares river, where Avancis photovoltaic panels will be installed and the electrics will be commissioned to attach it to the Spanish grid.

Earlier this month, the H.O.U.S.E played host to a cookery demonstration from Michelin-starred chef Sat Bains who cooked a low-energy tapas style meal and helped the students to create their sustainable dinner party menu. John Lewis has also specified sustainable furnishings for the H.O.U.S.E as part of its support for the project. It has identified the most energy efficient products from its range to ensure that the H.O.U.S.E’s sustainable credentials follow through into all furnishings and fittings.

Dr Mark Gillott, the project leader from the Department of the Built Environment said: “In an era where solutions to combat global climate change are of paramount importance, the education of the next generation of engineers and architects must incorporate sustainable design principles as a fundamental part of their taught curriculum. Here at Nottingham, sustainable design is an integral part of our student’s education. The participation in the International Solar Decathlon Competition has provided our students with a unique opportunity to work closely with industry and to work on a live project that has excellent environmental credentials."

Peter Hindle MBE, General Delegate for Saint-Gobain in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, comments: “Saint-Gobain is committed to the creation of sustainable living environments and because of the breadth and depth of our organisation we are uniquely placed to support the University of Nottingham with the creation of the H.O.U.S.E. The project has also highlighted the benefits that both business and academia can gain from working together on innovative projects that will help to deliver the whole-house solutions we need to create the homes of the future.”

The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E has been constructed almost entirely from material supplied by Saint-Gobain’s UK companies. It will show how low-energy architecture can lend itself to the mass market with an L-shaped, modular design so versatile it can be worked into terraces, rows or stacked as apartments.

The resulting concept is a highly marketable, zero carbon starter home for a new family – a major requirement in the UK. Products from companies including Saint-Gobain Isover, British Gypsum, Weber, Saint-Gobain Glass, Solaglas, International Timber and Jewson will be incorporated to optimise energy efficiency.


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