Wuppertal, here we go again! This sums up the current mood of the FIRSTlife team. Our group, composed of both students and staff of Czech Technical University in Prague, is competing in Solar Decathlon Europe 2021, one of the main events dealing with sustainable, energy-efficient, and socially responsible development. And we are far from giving up the challenge, no matter the pandemic.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, Solar Decathlon Europe 21 has been postponed to June 2022. By this time, our prototypical sample of modular and universal extension of student dormitories should stand at the Wuppertal Solar campus in Germany, where the final expo of designs of 18 teams is held.
Our goal is to use this given time to create and build the original design of FIRSTlife idea and show other teams from Germany, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Thailand, and Taiwan our idea of modern and sustainable building extension, which is the assignment of SDE21 competition.
Right now, we are in the phase of bringing FIRSTlife to the next level. We have reassembled the original team, with the notable expansion of newly recruited students, as they surely are a necessary element of the success. As Zdenko Malik, student team leader says: “The creation, expansion and maintenance of a team is challenging in these days of virtual-only meetings and it is therefore encouraging to see new motivated students joining us ‘mid-way’ and creating a real team effort.”
This team is currently working hard to achieve desired outputs, such as energy-efficient and sustainable ideas, architectural and urban concepts, civil engineering designs, renders, and much more. We have also started searching for partners and sponsors. “We are at the beginning of this matter. There has been a long discussion about the course of the competition, concerning the pandemic situation. Now that I see that the work on the project is starting intensively, you can start the search.”, says Professor Jan Tywoniak, Faculty Advisor.
And what are we bringing to Wuppertal? FIRSTlife is the acronym symbolizing bearing elements of our design: Feasible and Innovative Residence for STudent Life. It is a concept of modular building storey extension. Design is aiming to improve the living situation in student dormitories in the Czech Republic. As a model dormitory for the competition is used Větrník dormitory building in Prague, but the goal is to create a universal design, which can be applied to many similar buildings across the whole country. After the concept is complete, we will build a prototypical sample of the modular unit, which will be tested and furtherly improved at CTU UCEEB – University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings. The unit will be then sent to Wuppertal and rebuilt on the Solar campus in June 2022.
Yes, the pandemic is far from over here in the Czech Republic, but we won’t let this situation affect our goal to participate in Solar Decathlon Europe 2021. Climate crisis is still the major issue of our time, no matter the virus, and these challenging times are as good as any, or maybe even better, to strive for sustainable development and carbon-free society. These ideas are the main goals of the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 competition, and we intend to compete with other teams from all around the world to find the best possible design of such criteria.