The Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 competition began with a call for participation proposals launched during the final phase of SDE2010, in June of that year. In January 2011, after detailed evaluation of all the proposals received, 20 teams were selected to take part in the competition. Once they were officially declared SDE2012 participants, the teams started working on tasks specified in the SDE2012 Rules. Documentation required by the rules had to be delivered on the dates stipulated by the Competition Calendar.  The deliverables were related to stages in the project’s development, allowing the organization to check on progress of individual projects and ensure that they met the requirements of the Rules and Health and Safety demands.

Universities taking part have carried out their work in multi-disciplinary teams, which gives students an opportunity to learn, not only about technical matters, but also to develop important skills for their professional life, such as working in a team and improving their negotiation and communication skills.  The students concentrate, not only on designing and building their houses, but also on conceiving ways of improving the incorporation of solar systems, on generating knowledge of sustainable building and raising public awareness about SDE values.


First SDE2012 Meeting

The First SDE2012 Meeting was held on 16th May 2011 at the Feria de Barcelona (Barcelona showground), coinciding with the Construmat Expo and the “Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: from research to real construction” international conference, organized by the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE).  The models and videos of the participant houses formed part of the exhibition. In addition to attending talks and general activities, the teams took part in working groups, rotating around each of the four sections set up by the Organization, to explain and clear up any doubts about different aspects of the SDE project.


SDE2012 Workshop

The Workshop was held from 4th to 6th October 2011 in Madrid’s City Council.  The different areas of work were the main activity.  Each team had nine private sessions, where they had the different areas of the SDE competition explained to them. In addition, meetings were held between the SDE Directors and officers of each participating team, and students had a chance to visit the Casa de Campo, where the Villa Solar of SDE 2012 will be set up.


Final Phase of the Competition

The final phase of the Competition started at the beginning of September, with assembly of the houses developed by teams participating at the Villa Solar in Madrid’s Casa de Campo.

Once the Event officially opened, the 13th September, the period of competition, prize-giving ceremonies and public exhibition started, in accordance with the timetable set out in the Competition Calendar.  From 17th to 28th, the houses took part in 10 contests, with prizes given to the three teams with most points in each of the contests.  Later, in the Final Prize-Giving Ceremony, the three teams with most points in the Competition overall were awarded. The team with most points at the end of the competition TeamRhoneAlpes was the final winner.

Ways of gaining points

SDE Rules set out three methods of evaluation, depending on the type of contest: Completed tasks, Measurements in situ and Jurors’ appraisal.

Points for Task Completion. Teams gain points by successfully completing a task or coming as close as possible to completing it.

Points for Measurements in situ. The houses are monitored constantly during the competition, with additional spot measurements of extra parameters. Points are awarded depending on how close measurements approximate the objectives established for a given contest.

Points awarded by Jurors: Juries of specialists in each area will award points according to the evaluation criteria and guidelines laid down by the Solar Decathlon Organization.


Photo: Houses assembly. Madrid, june 2010
Photographer: Javier Alonso Huerta

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