Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spain Disqualifies Israeli Team From Bi-Annual Solar Decathlon

Logo of Ariel University Center of SamariaThe Spanish Government has disqualified the Israeli team from the bi-annual Solar Decathlon because the team is located in “occupied territory” - Samaria. Engineers, architects, solar experts and other visitors to the Solar Decathlon will thus be denied the opportunity to study and benefit from the solar-powered energy-economical “Stretch House” designed and built by students of the Ariel University Center of Samaria.

The Solar Decathlon, organized by the U.S. Department of Energy, has taken place until now in Washington, D.C., but is to take place next month in Spain under the terms of a 2007 agreement between the U.S. and Spain.

The competition features 20 teams from universities around the world that have worked for two years to design and build self-sufficient houses using solar power as their only source of energy. The Israeli team even received 100,000 Euros from the competition organizers to build a 75-square-meter model house in the final stage,

The Ariel University released a statement accusing Spain of violating international charters regarding academic freedom.

Ariel University announced in response that “together with the Foreign Ministry and the Organization of Universities Against Academic Boycotts, we will take all measures to liquidate this phenomenon, which stands in opposition to all standards of scientific and academic freedom.”

Prof. Pascal Rolette, Dean of the School of Architecture in Grenoble, France, wrote to Ariel, “I do not agree with the Spanish decision, because the activity of Ariel University is designed towards academic excellence on behalf of peace. Accept my utmost support in this difficult situation.”

The houses must compete in ten contests: Architecture, Market Viability, Engineering, Lighting Design, Communications, Comfort Zone, Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment, and Net Metering (producing as much energy as the house needs or, preferably, more).

The Ariel University students designed a building they call the “Stretch House.” Inspired by the "Tent of Abraham," the Stretch House is modular, versatile, welcoming and expandable according to its owner's wishes. In its closed state, when additional space is not required, it uses only half the energy necessary to operate a regular house, and when needed, it opens up - much like a modern tent – to include an extra room and more.

The interdisciplinary team of Ariel University students that worked on the project study in various faculties of the university, including Civil and Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics, Economics and Business Administration, Mass Media and Architecture.

Original source - Israel National News

I am much too disgusted to comment. I will say, however, that Spain must not be allowed to host this competition anymore - or any other international event for that matter.

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