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Solar decathlon competition lights up greener life

This photo taken on Sept 28, 2021 shows the work of a joint team from Southeast University, ETH Zurich and Sanming University for Solar Decathlon China in Zhangbei county, north China's Hebei province. (SOLAR DECATHLON CHINA ORGANIZING CMMITTEE / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)

SHIJIAZHUANG – On the vast grassland in north China's Hebei province, a cluster of houses of different types shining under the sun has become a new landmark.

The 15 houses, designed by professors and students of 29 universities from 10 countries, are for Solar Decathlon China, a competition to contribute to sustainable development, human health, and smart connections.

The 15 houses, designed by professors and students of 29 universities from 10 countries, are for Solar Decathlon China, a competition to contribute to sustainable development, human health, and smart connections

Starting in October, the houses built in Desheng village in Zhangbei county will function on clean energy, mainly solar power. The generated power will meet or exceed the energy consumption of the houses themselves.

Teams will compete in 10 divisions, including architecture design, energy utilization, indoor environments, and market potential.

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A design by Xi'an Jiaotong University looks much like a traditional house in north China. Using solar and hydrogen power, the team has strived for a healthier and more intelligent housing mode that consumes almost zero external energy, said team leader Zhen Meng.

Zhen said his team has taken into consideration the living environment and the aging problem in rural China. "If the design is applied in the countryside in the future, the architecture and equipment components could increase or reduce based on residents' demand, habits, and financial conditions," he said.

Zhang Hong, a professor of Southeast University, said the competition, focusing on China's carbon emission reduction goals, is significant to achieve sustainable development through intelligent means.

China has announced that it would strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

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Li Ang, secretary-general of the event's organizing committee, said the houses would challenge the freezing weather below minus 30 degrees Celsius in Zhangbei in winter. The teams will then make corresponding adjustments to the clean heating system so that a feasible, clean heating solution can be promoted in north China in the future.

The results will be announced next year. The houses will stay in the village to serve the rural vitalization after the competition, said Li. 

This photo taken on Sept 26, 2021 shows the work of Chongqing University for Solar Decathlon China in Zhangbei county, north China's Hebei province. (SOLAR DECATHLON CHINA ORGANIZING COMMITTEE  / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)