HU University of Applied Sciences is proud of its student team “Selficient” for achieving the seventh place overall with their self-designed zero-energy house at the finals of the 2017 Solar Decathlon international sustainability competition in the USA. The team also achieved second place for “Market Potential” and third place for “Water Efficiency”, as well as receiving the audience award.
In the final of the Solar Decathlon, which is known as the “Olympics” of sustainability, eleven international universities competed against each other for the highly coveted title “Winner of the Solar Decathlon 2017”. For two weeks, the teams competed in Denver (Colorado), where they could earn points in the categories of energy, engineering, architecture, water efficiency, innovation, communication, home life, market potential, health and comfort and home appliances. Although the HU students participated in the contest for the first time, they were able to put down a great performance. The Selficient team was the only representative from a university of applied sciences among the university teams.
The trip to America, which started in September 2017, did experience some setbacks. The shipping of the house was hampered by no less than two hurricanes. The containers with the components intended for the construction of the sustainable house in Denver, were severely delayed. However, the team was eventually able to build the house in just eight days, despite also having to deal with illnesses due to constant weather changes.
Follow-up prizes and the audience award
These setbacks did not keep the Selficient team from winning second place in Market Potential and third place in the category of Water Efficiency. The students also scored well in Architecture and Home Life and they left a good impression on the jury in the categories of Engineering and Innovation. On the last day of the event, the Dutch team was honoured with the “People’s Choice Award” by pulling in a whopping 2,000 votes.
Very happy with the result
Jason Hoogerbrug, the Selficient team captain, stated: “We are extremely pleased with the results achieved by our fantastic team. We not only designed a smart, sustainable and affordable house, we are an enthusiastic team of people from various disciplines who worked together to make a difference. I am extremely proud of the entire team, which really showed incredible perseverance.”
Epitome of cooperation
Bas van der Veen, the institute director of HU Built Environment said: “We, all of us at HU, are very proud of this wonderful performance by these eighty smart, enthusiastic students. They are the epitome of how HU works together with different disciplines to achieve distinct and relevant innovations.” The Executive Board of HU personally congratulated the team on their achievements.
The most important aspect of the design is its modularity. The standardized elements, such as the frame and the roof, form the base of the design onto which parts can be attached or detached, thus allowing the house to be easily adapted. The house grows with the housing needs of the residents and bulk production means the base components can be brought onto the market at competitive prices. This means that the Selficient house is sustainable, innovative and affordable for all social classes. The team was awarded 80 points out of 100 for the concept’s architectural design and its adaptability.
The jury found the concept “suitable to the needs of the target group”. The costs would also be feasible for different social classes. Special mention was made of its ability to respond to the changing American climate. Its energy efficiency and added value in terms of the housing market were rewarded with an admirable second prize.
Solar panels generate the required energy for the house. This energy is stored in the home for personal use and any residual energy can be shared with others. The temperature inside the house is regulated by a heat pump. The floor is equipped with tubes which carry the warm water, thus heating the floor in a fuel-efficient manner. The shower makes use of a unique concept whereby the water that drains off is filtered and reused. This water efficient system was awarded third place.
Selficient house at the Utrecht Science Park
The Dutch student team will be returning to The Netherlands on October 23. The plan is to reconstruct the Selficient house in the autumn after their return, this time at the Utrecht Science Park, where it may be visited by those who are interested. The Dutch building industry has already shown an interest in implementing this sustainable building concept. The concept of the Selficient house – flexible, energy neutral and affordable – can make a serious contribution to the sustainability of Dutch housing while also helping achieve Dutch climate goals.