In its third edition, Solar Decathlon India (SDI), net-zero building challenge, has empanelled four leading organisations – Lodha Group, Mahindra Lifespaces, Infosys, and UN-Habitat as Project Partners. SDI is a challenge for postgraduate and undergraduate students to design and develop net-zero, climate resilient and market-ready building solutions for real building projects. The four Project Partners have offered their real-world construction projects for the student teams to work on. By working with these developers, students can get first-hand experience of the complexities of the buildings sector, and develop solutions that are implementable and scalable. Thirty-two student teams participating in the 2022-23 challenge are collaborating with these project partners and developing net-zero, resilient, affordable, market-ready solutions for their projects.
Sunita Purushottam, Head of Sustainability at Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd. says, “Mahindra Lifespaces has been an active partner of SDI since its inception. We are happy to offer our projects and guidance to young professionals who participate in SDI to develop net zero projects. SDI interns have added tremendous value to our net-zero journey.”
SDI’s Project Partners have offered their project information to participating teams, including site plans, pictures of sites, hydrology, budgets, and other technical details, and their design expectations such as energy reduction. The partners have scheduled individual calls with teams to answer questions regarding the projects, and will work with the students throughout the challenge. Multiple teams working on each of their projects will enable the Project Partners to evaluate a variety of competing alternatives.
Sonal Bhide, Head of Architecture, Townships, Lodha Group says, “At Lodha, we have a sense of urgency and are very passionate about addressing climate risks. We feel we can foster success through collaborations like SDI where the generation of future designers are encouraged to join us in Building a Better Life and leaving a better planet for the generations to come.”
India is a rapidly urbanising country with 51 percent of its population projected to live in urban areas by 2047. This will necessitate a massive expansion of urban centres and buildings which will, in turn, affect energy consumption because of cooling demands, electricity, etc, to support this population. For India to become a net-zero emissions country by 2070 as committed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the buildings sector must reimagine ways to build energy-efficient constructions that can help mitigate warming and climate crises. Empowering students with knowledge and skills for designing and operating net-zero buildings during their early education will influence the buildings they will work on over their careers, spanning at least three decades.
Prabin Bajracharya, Senior Programme Officer, UN-Habitat Nepal says, “It is really inspiring to be involved with the youth and guide them towards conservation of heritage in Kathmandu Valley. We would like to thank Solar Decathlon India for bridging the gap between the community and youth innovators to work together for this conservation work, which is really applaudable.”
This year, SDI has students from 116 architecture and engineering colleges across India that are participating, working on providing super efficient, net-zero energy and net-zero water for real projects located in 55 cities. Over 1600 students will develop the ability to design buildings that contribute to India’s Panchamrit goals, and their exposure to real projects and partners will help them hit the ground running to enter the profession several steps ahead of their peers.
Prasad Vaidya, Director, Solar Decathlon India, says, “Our empanelled project partners are the leaders in providing students with the opportunities to work on their projects to propose innovative solutions. Over the 3 years of SDI, students have also brought 150+ projects from other developers and owners into the challenge. By participating in SDI, project partners and educational institutions are able to build industry-academia relationships that will be mutually beneficial and possibly long-term. SDI provides a platform for these collaborations to engage on climate change solutions.”
Registrations for the challenge began in July 2022, and the teams will work to compete in the Design Challenge Finals event held in May 2023. Stay tuned for more information at solardecathlonindia.in/2022-23-challenge.
About Solar Decathlon India
Solar Decathlon India is a Net-Zero Building Challenge for students from Indian institutions to learn and design net-zero-energy-water, affordable, and resilient building solutions for real, live projects to combat Climate Change through the buildings sector. Student teams develop affordable and industry-ready solutions for real projects with the help of online Self-Learning Modules and expert mentorship provided during the year-long challenge. It is a hands-on, practical, innovation-based challenge that moves the construction and real estate industry towards implementing net-zero solutions.