The Solar Decathlon is the most important biannual university contest worldwide and was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Energy with the purpose of promoting technical innovation and the wise use of economic and natural resources applied to sustainable housing solutions among university students. The competition has been held biannually (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017) in the United States, in 2010, 2012 and 2014 in Europe and in 2013 China. Future competitions will be held in the Middle East in 2018 and 2020, in China in 2018, in Europe in 2019, in Africa in 2019 and in Latin America in 2019.
TUHOUSE is one of the 15 selected teams to be part of the second Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean. It is formed by students and teachers from Universidad de San Buenaventura and Autónoma de Occidente, both located in Santiago de Cali, city that hosts the SDLAC2019 event. In order to work in the project, both universities integrated Solar Decathlon into the academic curriculum of the interdisciplinary group of students.
The team will also engage with local sponsoring companies to prove that it is possible to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry. The ambition is to use local materials and introduce an innovative construction process. The Latin American version of the contest will take place in Cali Colombia during 2019 and it will challenge 15 collegiate teams to provide social housing solutions for low-income families living in the Colombian Pacific region.
The winner of the contest is going to be the team whose housing proposal demonstrates an attractive and affordable solution that achieves the highest score after the sum of the scores gathered through the following 10 contests: architecture, engineering and construction, energy efficiency, electric balance, comfort, sustainability, house functioning, marketing and communications, urban design and economic accessibility and innovation.