Solar Decathlon

Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 (SDE 21/22) is an international competition for sustainable urban living and building. 18 teams of youth from 11 countries will bring their ideas on how cities can be good for the environment and good for their inhabitants to Wuppertal in 2022. The teams will plan real construction projects – either for the Mirk Quarter or for a neighborhood in their home city.

In the grand finale, teams will build scaled sections of their projects as usable and fully functional Wuppertal apartments in the summer of 2022. This will take place in the heart of the city – north of the Nordbahntrasse opposite the Mirk train station. Through this process, all citizens can see whether the implemented solutions meet the high architectural and energy requirements, and whether or not they can make their lives in the city better.

Active climate protection starts where people live. But the best structural and technological solutions are of no use if they are not implemented. The SDE 21/22 urban research team is therefore using the example of the Mirker Quarry in Wuppertal to investigate how citizens can help shape urban climate protection and how social rethinking can succeed. In doing so, they are focusing on concrete measures that will help to sustainably improve lives in the city. These include educational programs for children and young people, discussions with experts from the region, events with local partners, and a comprehensive neighborhood survey in cooperation with the city of Wuppertal.

Even after SDE 21/22, sustainable and climate-neutral urban development will continue through a follow-up project. Eight of the buildings will remain on the Solar Campus for at least three years and form the Living Lab.NRW real laboratory. This enables innovative research and the demonstration of holistic concepts for climate-friendly, energy-efficient building and living in the city. As North Rhine-Westphalia’s central research and education platform, it not only houses a research college, but also offers guided tours and regular (specialist) events.

Researchers and institutions are invited to use the Living Lab.NRW as a platform to advance knowledge, pathways and discourse for a climate-neutral future. In a permanent exhibition, visitors will be introduced to challenges and approaches to solutions for sustainable living in the city.

A former glass workshop in the direct vicinity of the Solar Campus and the Living Lab.NRW is currently being sustainably transformed into the communication and event center “Alte Glaserei”. The transformation is being created in collaboration with several Wuppertal stakeholders.

Facts and Data

  • The Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 is part of the German government’s energy research program and serves the goal of a nearly climate-neutral building stock by 2050. The concrete target of the initiative is to achieve an 80% savings of non-renewable primary energy compared to 2008.
  • The impact of SDE 21/22 and the follow-up project Living Lab.NRW will go beyond universities, research and professional communities, and will raise awareness in civil society. Around 150,000 people are expected to attend the event phase of SDE 21/22 alone. The Solar Campus in Wuppertal is a meeting place for everyone interested in a good life in the cities of tomorrow.

Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22: 01/01/2019 – 12/31/2022
(Events: 10th -26th of June 2022)


German Overshoot Day is far too early. Together we can #MoveTheDate. This project supports urban actors in finding solutions which create the future they desire.

The project is lead by the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) of Wuppertal and Global Footprint Network and financed by Stiftung Mercator.

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