UMD Returns to Solar Decathlon

Photo courtesy of Emma Schrantz.

The University of Maryland will once again chase solar victory next October at Solar Decathlon Middle East 2020 (SDME2020) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Maryland is the only team representing the United States in the competition, and will go head-to-head against 19 other collegiate teams from around the world to create a high-performance, affordable, net-positive home powered entirely by the sun.


“We are thrilled to represent the United States on the international stage at SDME2020,” said Donald Linebaugh, dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “The competition will offer new challenges for our students as they draw elements from past successes and integrate the latest design techniques and technologies.”


Unlike previous Solar Decathlon entries, Maryland will present an adaptive reuse and regenerative iteration of the university’s 2017 Solar Decathlon-winning house design, reACT, using lessons learned then to improve design and systems while tailoring it for the Middle East’s desert climate.


reACT—for “Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology”—took second place overall and placed first in the United States in 2017 for its kit-of-parts design that configures to size, climate and budget restraints, with features like a clothes-drying solar attic, four-season courtyard and innovative mechanical core.


The University of Maryland has competed in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon five times over the past 15 years; this is the first time a full UMD team will compete outside of the United States.


Maryland’s SDME 2020 team is a partnership between the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the University Libraries, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Education and the Facilities Management Department of Engineering & Energy. To learn more about becoming a part of the team, visit


-By Maggie Haslam.

Posted on January 31, 2020 by Jelena Dakovic