By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — Inspired by the traditional Omani architecture, a team from the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) is designing and building an Eco house as it takes part in an ‘Eco-friendly House Competition’. The Eco-friendly House Competition is an award-winning programme for teams of college students to design, build and operate eco-friendly houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.
The winning team is one that best blends consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The Research Council (TRC) has kick-started the competition with a view to fostering a culture of research and innovations of high quality, so as to promote cost-effective and cost-efficient eco-buildings. The competition is open to all higher educational institutions, both public and private, which offer academic programmes such as architecture, engineering and design etc.
Prof AwniShaaban, Architectural Engineering Programme Co-ordinator of Civil and Architectural Engineering Department at the College of Engineering, SQU, cited the competition as a public event designed to enhance awareness about energy for residential use.
The evaluation criteria of the competition are comprehensive; it requires the teams to design, build and operate highly energy-efficient zero-energy homes that can generate enough energy to meet the electricity needs and maintain comfortable indoor thermal conditions using sustainable construction techniques.
About the participation of SQU, Prof Awni said the innovative contributions of its team includes the optimisation of building thermal performance for minimum air-conditioning, and the use of sustainable materials.
He added: “We are also planning to generate 100 per cent photovoltaic power supply. The design will use water-efficient sanitary appliances and incorporate grey water treatment unit and solid waste management system.”
The SQU team, he said, had done research on the traditional Omani architecture and adopted typology idioms based on traditional collective experience, and knowledge of the land and climatic conditions.
The idea is to promote building of residential houses that are functionally working, technically feasible, energy efficient, climatically appropriate and socio-culturally acceptable.