Solar Decathlon 2014

Solar Decathlon 2014 – actively promoting young talent

The Solar Decathlon is a competition for students which combines architecture and energy technology.
Originally an initiative of the US Department for Energy, the European version of this competition started in 2008. In summer 2014, the Solar Decathlon Europe took place in Versailles, France. 20 student teams from 16 different countries submitted projects, all of which met the competition’s high standards of ecological, economic and social sustainability. Participants included the ROOFTOP team from the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and the Technical University Berlin (TU), and OnTop from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (FHFFM).

The long journey to Versailles
Following their selection for the Solar Decathlon, participants faced around two years of solid work before embarking on the two week competition in Versailles. This included the application process and the development of the concept, right through to the detailed planning and acquisition of sponsors. The participants’ task was to find solutions for the various social, ecological and planning challenges faced in their home countries.

Actively promoting young talent
In their work, the Berlin ROOFTOP team strongly incorporated the architecture of the capital city, where older buildings in heritage style are highly sought after. Yet these kinds of buildings are often highly inefficient when it comes to energy. To address this, the ROOFTOP team sought to create new living spaces by converting roof trusses. Well familiar with the need to offer solutions for the future, JUNG supported the team with electrical installations in the classic LS 990 design in the Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier colours. This exclusive JUNG range is available in 63 unique colours and was recently deemed to be the “best of the best” by the German design council (Rat für Formgebung), receiving the highly sought after Iconic Award 2014 in the “product” category. JUNG also actively promoted the OnTop team, from the Frankfurt University of Applied Science. Their project was fitted out with light switches and sockets in the classic LS 990 design in aluminium.

OnTop chose to focus their entry on the densification of Frankfurt’s city centre. One way of addressing this issue is to build on top of existing buildings, helping to create much needed residential space. At the same time, such locations are generally free of shadow and are thus ideal for generating additional energy using solar technology. The interdisciplinary jury, made up of architects, engineers, and designers, awarded the team from the University of Rome with first place for their design of a wooden attic floor. ROOFTOP came fourth and OnTOP seventh, which was nonetheless in the top third of the field.

This unique exhibition of contemporary architecture was brought to a finish by the Solar Decathlon 2014 prize ceremony. The ROOFTOP project, however, will find a new home on the rooftops of the Berlin universities, and continue to promote research and education in the future.
Pictures: RoofTop
Pictures: OnTop

Used Designs and technologies