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Turkey Returns Home from Solar Decathlon with Three Awards

09 March 2020 Issue: Year 2020

Team Bosphorus that represented Turkey in the Solar Decathlon Africa competetion on September 2019, which was organized by the US Energy Department in the Ben Guerir city of Morocco, came first with their ReYard House Project upon receiving 99, 91 and 96 points in the respective categories of "Innovation", "Engineering and Construction" and "Communication and Social Awareness".
Team Bosphorus consists of undergraduate, graduate, doctorate students and their leading faculty members from different disciplines of Yıldız Technical University and Istanbul Technical University; such as Architecture, Mechanical, Environmental, Electrical, Industrial and Civil Engineering, Industrial Product Design, Interior Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Prof. Dr. Özden Ağra from Yıldız Technical University and faculty member Dr. Murat Çakan from Istanbul Technical University coordinated the team; Fatma and Süleyman Akım from Akım Mühendislik, Erden Güven from E-G Architecture were project partners; Dr. Neslihan Say, who currently works on the micro algae technology in the UK, was the academic advisor. In the competition held in Ben Guerir, Morocco between August-September 2019, 18 teams built their projects in Green Energy Park, which is under the patronage of King of Morocco VI. Mohammed. The projects were evaluated under the categories of innovation, architecture, market potential, comfort and health, energy balance, sustainability, engineering, domestic life, home appliances, communication and social awareness. The team, which received the highest score in each category as a result of evaluations over 100 points during the 40-day competition, won the awards in these categories.
The success of the ReYard House, which returned with three big awards from the project, stems from the facts that the building material that makes up the house is sourced from soil and wood that can be obtained by local means; that phosphate plaster, which is obtained from the phosphate amply extracted in Morocco, can be transformed into a building material; that it includes innovative heating and cooling devices in the mechanical installation design of the house; that it suggests micro-algae technology and benefits from natural ventilation facilities. With the ReYard house, Team Bosphorus brings together the soil, which is one of the local materials belonging to the residential typology of Mardin, Antakya and Şanlıurfa provinces, with the renewable and sustainable energy resources of the modern day and proposed a new, local, economic, ecological and sustainable housing project to Morocco in specific and to African continent in general. Soil based panels that were started out from the Alker method developed by Prof. Dr. Ruhi Kafescioğlu, and were produced in Fibrobeton factory, which is amongst the leading building materials companies of Turkey, made Team Bosphorus earn points in the category of innovation and sustainability. Another very important innovative aspect of Reyard House is that it purifies its own waste with the biological waste treatment systems using micro algae and turns it into fertilizer to be used in the landscape. ReYard House minimizes the carbon and water footprint of the project by means of its algae pool that acts as a forest by taking in CO2   and releasing O2, thus enabling the reuse of wastewater as irrigation water. In addition, the use of new technologies such as solar panels, evaporative cooling air-to-water heat pump, natural ventilation and phase changing materials maximizes the energy efficiency.

Fatma-Süleyman Akım  (Akım Engineering)
“It is our greatest desire to host Solar Decathlon 2023 in Turkey. The house
we built in Moroccan was so successful that the Germans wanted to participate in the next contest in partnership with Turkey, we accepted gladly. In the next Solar Decathlon Europe competition, Germany and Turkey will participate as partners. Networks and experiences acquired in the competition, values such as gaining the ability to work under different conditions are not easy to achieve.”