The contest indicates how the projects’ design and planning radically reduce the potential for negative environmental impacts. This includes the manufacturing of house components, the construction, the prototypes’ operation and their legacy and potential after-life.
Teams have tuned their prototypes technical details to its on-site functionality. At the same time, the building evaluations include comparisons to similar dwellings and annual calculations in their local context.
The contest reveals how Decathletes understand ‘the sustainable built environment’. Design strategies respond to how density solutions on both urban and dwelling scales contribute to environmental, economic and social sustainability, e.g. reduction of the urban heat island effect and affordable housing. They show how public, low impact transportation strategies in relation to housing can enhance local as well as global energy efficiency.
Teams shall describe the production and flexibility of the structure and any possibilities for reuse or adaptation to future technologies, while articulating approaches to efficient maintenance. The viability of industrialisation is determined by energy consumption, solid waste, water use, construction time, social and economic aspects. The functioning of bioclimatic passive and hybrid design strategies (glazing, daylight use, heating and cooling) is vital. Success in the selection of systems (HVAC, domestic hot water, artificial lighting) and appliances, with consideration for their contribution to energy efficiency, is evaluated. Active strategies and systems improve hydrothermal and artificial lighting efficiency as well as acoustic performance and air quality. They minimise the associated energy consumption.
Circularity addresses the system-wide redefinition of products, services and strategies to reduce consumption, and design waste cycles with minimised negative impacts. Teams specify solid waste management during construction, operation and disassembly. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluates how green the chosen materials are (renewable, recyclable, reusable), and how these relate to embodied energy, CO2 and pollution emission, durability and necessity of maintenance. For instance, circularity involves the operation time that PVs need to recover their production’s environmental costs. Evaluations are made of water management cycles: saving, re-collection, conservation, treatment and reuse. The jury for circularity assesses approaches that build economic, natural and social capital, underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources.
Decathletes ensure that visitors gain strong insights into what could lead a house to win the World’s Most Sustainable House title! What is more, you can expect to see some extraordinary features representing social aspects, such as green walls, urban farms, interior-expanding glasshouses, and more.