DEWA’s SDME encourages teams to use the latest technologies to create innovative and sustainable smart houses

  • By : Nahla Makled 


    The Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) that Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) organises promotes using disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI); 3D printing; and unmanned aerial vehicles for designing solar-powered houses. This enhances the UAE’s position as a key platform for innovators and creative minds around the world. It also supports DEWA’s efforts to promote innovation in sustainability and encourage youth from around the world to develop innovative solutions that support global climate action as well as the transition to a more sustainable lifestyle to protect the environment and its natural resources. The SDME is organised under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council in Dubai.


    HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, said that the second SDME has attracted innovative projects that promotes the culture of sustainability in the UAE and Dubai. The SDME promotes sustainable living by encouraging the design and operation of solar-powered houses that are highly efficient in terms of cost and energy consumption to protect the region’s environment.


    “Our vision is guided by the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to empower youth and engage them in the development process as well as anticipate and shape the future. We also aim to enhance their contribution to achieving sustainable development goals through research using the latest innovative technologies,” said Al Tayer.

    One of the most notable projects is by the University of Sharjah team, whose sustainable house focuses on enhancing cooperation between humans and machines to perform daily tasks for a comfortable living. The house develops the industrial, social and environmental skills of its residents, with spaces designated for virtual and physical workshops and a fabrication lab with flexible computer-controlled tools like 3D modelling and computer-aided design to meet home needs. The house alerts residents on energy and sustainability usage to preserve energy and resources. The design of the building is based on the concept of ‘a box within a box’ where the outer layer provides protection from the external climate while attracting sunlight to generate solar power. Meanwhile, the inner layer maintains a moderate temperature inside the house.

    The house offers ample scope for recycling and sorting kitchen waste, treating and reusing 100% of wastewater, as well as other resources. Various parts of the house can be converted into a design studio or into a virtual reality station to conduct further tests before starting the manufacturing and 3D printing phase.


    “The Solar Decathlon Middle East offers an extraordinary opportunity for University teams to be challenged in an international real-life scenario, and for the students to be exposed to the industrial sector. For this reason, the University of Sharjah presents a project that combines sustainability and innovation, by stimulating environmental awareness among future professionals, with the aim of educating a ‘green’ generation that is ready for the world’s next challenges”, said Professor Maamar Bettayeb, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate studies from the University of Sharjah.


    DEWA organised the first SDME in 2018, for the first time in the Middle East and Africa, and is organising the second SDME in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park as part of a partnership between DEWA, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and the US Department of Energy.

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