Forget going for the Olympic ‘gold’, Israel will go for Beijing ‘green’ in 2013

Students & researchers from 20 countries will submit their entries in the Solar Decathlon China competition set to take place in August, 2013 • The Israeli team has developed a green house that generates more electricity than it uses.

By lan Gattegno


An Israeli team will submit an entry for the prestigious Solar Decathlon China competition scheduled for August 2013. The competition will include academic teams from 20 countries who will compete for the title of champion of ecological construction. The Israeli team, including members from Tel Aviv University, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Neri Bloomfield School of Design and Education, and the College of Management Academic Studies, will present an innovative ecological (“green”) house that will generate more electricity than it needs to function.

Israeli team’s model entry in the Solar Decathlon China competition scheduled for August 2013. – Photo credit: Courtesy

The Israeli team has been preparing for the competition since last year when Dr. Yossi Kuri of the Department for Interior Design, Structure and Environment at Shenkar College, in cooperation with architect Chen Shalita, announced his intention to gather a team of students to compete in the upcoming event.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Web page, Solar Decathlon China is the most recent addition to the international family of Solar Decathlon competitions. The page says “Solar Decathlon China is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed Jan. 18, 2011. According to the memorandum: … the Governments of the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have a common goal in fostering sustainable economic and social development while encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and recognize that solar energy development and use is an important part of their collaboration.”

Israel’s cutting edge project is currently on display in its planned format at a gallery presented at Shenkar by students of the Department for Interior Design, Structure and Environment.

Kuri and Shalita, who serve as academic guides for the project, head a team of architectural, ecological and design students from various leading educational institutions. Oded Chai, head of extension studies at Shenkar, joined the team as well and serves as the project’s administrative manager.

“The fact that we are participating in the competition is a victory itself,” Kuri said. “This is a very prestigious competition, which is actually the Olympic Games of green construction. We have created a ‘Team Israel’ for green construction and the Infrastructure Ministry has agreed to fund the project.”

Teams from Egypt, Iran and Turkey are also expected to submit entries for the event.

The Israeli team’s novel concept of green construction lies in its energy-independent approach. The house presented by the team will be completely independent energy-wise and will generate more electricity than it requires.

Team leaders are looking for additional sponsors for the 1 million shekel ($247,000) project. Up to this point, Shenkar and the Infrastructure Ministry have invested 150,000 shekels ($37,000) each in the project and the international competition committee provided an additional $100,000.

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