Winners of the Solar Decathlon India (SDI) 2023-24 Challenge Announced

● The 4th edition of Solar Decathlon India (SDI), saw participation from 2,111 students from 188 academic institutions.

● Student teams presented innovative solutions for 31 real building projects and 6 product innovations.

● Solar Decathlon India (SDI) is conducted by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the Alliance for an Energy Efficiency Economy (AEEE) under the aegis of the Indo -U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).

Bengaluru, May 20, 2024: Solar Decathlon India (SDI), aimed at building the next generation of leaders to combat climate change in India, is an annual student competition for undergraduate and postgraduate students from Indian academic institutions to develop innovative, net-zero energy-water and climate resilient solutions for the building sector in India. The finals event was held at Infosys’ campus in Mysuru, one of the most sustainably operated campuses in the world. Infosys hosted the event pro bono and provided accommodation and food for all attendees for 4 days.

The event started on May 17, 2024, with student presentations to the Jury. These were followed by the Climate Smart Innovation Exhibition where innovators from the building industry displayed products and solutions addressing climate change mitigation or adaptation. The exhibition was followed by pitch presentations to the jury comprising Aruna Newton, VP- Global Head- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, ESG Governance and Reporting – Infosys; Guruprakash Sastry, AVP Head, Climate Action – Infosys, and Dr. Chaitali Bhattacharya, Principal Science Officer – IUSSTF. Subsequently, Hexpressions Megatech Pvt. Ltd. and VayuJal Technologies Pvt. Ltd. were declared joint winners of the Climate Smart Innovation Award 2024.

On May 18, 2024, 6 student teams were declared winners of their respective divisions. This included 5 building divisions that focused on critical building problems that India is currently facing and one product design division that challenged participants to ‘make’ solutions that improve cooling performance in existing residential buildings. These 6 teams pitched their solutions to a Grand Jury made up of investors, real estate and media stalwarts, and Team Genesis, led by NMIMS’s Balwant Sheth School of Architecture with NMIMS’s Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering as the partner institution, won the Grand Prize for proposing the most promising and investment-worthy design. The 37 Finalist projects were exhibited at the finals to the audience of over 800 people.

Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman and Co-founder, Infosys and Founding Chairman UIDAI (Aadhaar), and Ms. Gagandeep Bhullar, Founder of SuperHumanRace, gave inspiring talks to the audience.

On May 19, 2024, Solar Decathlon India holds its career fair where leading organisations working on climate change and net-zero buildings look to hire the best and brightest minds.

Infosys generously hosted the 3-day Finals event pro-bono. Infosys also ensured that the entire event was carbon neutral. The SDI trophies awarded to the winners were themselves carbon negative, showcasing how climate change mitigation can be addressed with creativity and perseverance.

‘I was most impressed by the professionalism of the students in their presentations and in their interactions with the Jury and industry experts at the Infosys Campus. The finalists demonstrated an ability to design net-zero buildings that is head and shoulders above the average building industry professional. There was positive energy throughout the event. Clearly the drive to solve the climate crisis is bringing out the best in these students, in terms of their hard work, creativity, and their temperament.’

– Prasad Vaidya, Director Solar Decathlon India.

‘Net-zero buildings to reduce the carbon intensity of India’s economy need a creative integration of STEM and design, and innovative technologies for the construction industry. At the Department of Science & Technology, we provided funding for research in this area. I saw at the Solar Decathlon India Finals event, that now industry is also stepping up. As a Jury member for Climate Smart Innovation Award, I was able to witness 25 industry innovations that address climate change. This Finals event for Solar Decathlon India also shows what young students are able to do when they apply building science to design and innovation. The product development category had 6 teams who have developed prototype solutions to reduce heat stress and improve cooling for all Indians. As the Executive Director of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum I will look for opportunities to increase the collaboration between India and the US on such innovation.’

– Dr Nisha Mendiratta, Director, IUSSTF.

‘India’s Climate mitigation targets will only be achieved through deep and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from multiple sources. One of them is by constructing new high-performance, net-zero buildings and retrofitting existing ones. IIHS is helping accelerate the Urban and Infrastructure transition by retrofitting and constructing all our buildings to meet High Performance Buildings standards that use 1/4th to 1/5th the energy of conventional buildings and reduce embodied carbon emissions by 40%. This has saved us over INR 37 Lakhs a year in electricity costs. At the 2024 Finals, we have seen how Solar Decathlon India has trained over 6,000 of the next generation of building professionals who can plan, design, construct, and monitor High Performance Buildings. They are going to be the backbone of the low-carbon revolution in India’s building construction and operations that industry, investors, governments and homeowners will need, to make the net-zero transition a reality.’

– Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS.

‘With a visionary focus on net zero buildings, SDI is shaping the future of architecture and fostering an ecosystem for its realization. Through immersive learning and a commitment to comprehensive understanding of net-zero, we are cultivating a workforce prepared to lead toward a sustainable built environment. We also recognize the urgency of addressing existing structures lacking resilience to heat and climate changes. This year’s introduction of the residential cooling retrofit category is a game-changer, offering solutions for enhanced cooling performance with minimal need for disruption. This holistic and inclusive approach solidifies SDI’s status as the world’s largest net zero design challenge.’

– Satish Kumar, Founder and President, AEEE.

Solar Decathlon India is conducted by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) under the aegis of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). It is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The 2023-24 challenge saw 175 teams competing, comprising 2,111 students from 188 academic institutions, guided by 272 faculty mentors. At the finals, over 50 organisations offered internship and early career opportunities to the SDI finalists. Additionally, the event received support from JSW Cement Limited as a Bronze Sponsor.

Full list of division wise winners of the 2023-24 Challenge:

Multi-Family Housing

Winner: Genesis from NMIMS’s Balwant Sheth School of Architecture and NMIMS’s Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering

Runner Up: Team Green Warriors from D Y Patil University School of Architecture Ambi, Pune and D Y Patil University School of Engineering and Technology Ambi, Pune

Educational Building

Winner: Team NOVA 2.0 from Jamia Millia Islamia

Runner Up: Team Solastra from RV College of Architecture and RV College of Engineering

Office Building

Winner: Team AKANKSE from BMS College of Architecture and B.M.S. College of Engineering

Runner Up: Team EUNIX from IES College of Architecture, CEPT University, and Fr. C. Rodrigues Institute of Technology

Community Resilience Shelter

Winner: Team Ekatvam from SMEF’s Brick School of Architecture and BRACT’s, Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology

Runner Up: Team ADVAYA from MBS School of Planning and Architecture, CEPT University, and Delhi Technological University

Construction Worker Housing

Winner: Team Samarthan from SMEF’s Brick School of Architecture and BRACT’s, Vishwakarma Institute of Information Technology

Runner Up: Team AIKYAM from Manipal School of Architecture & Planning and Manipal Institute of Technology

Residential Cooling Retrofit

Winner: Team Resolution from IES College of Architecture, Dwarkadas J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, Maratha Vidya Prasarak Samaj’s Sharadchandraji Pawar College of Architecture, and Unitedworld Institute of Design

Runner Up: Team Nāvyā from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur

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