Brighton University will compete in a world competition to design and build a house using new technologies and reclaimed materials.

Brighton is the only UK university to be shortlisted in the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial ‘Solar Decathlon Europe’ contest which challenges teams of students and staff to combine innovation, market potential, and efficiency. The university’s team, ‘BrightNest’ will be competing against 14 universities from across Europe, the US and Asia.

Dr Ruoyu Jin, senior lecturer of the School of Environment & Technology, will be leading the team.

He said: “The project will be a completely new concept in sustainable design and construction through prefabrication, a living house incorporating state-of-the-art technologies where the roof and walls will nourish as well as protect.

“It will incorporate the concepts of energy efficiency, indoor well-being, and the circular economy.”

The design aims to address the global need for low-cost housing, built with sustainable and recycled materials.

The university’s design uses recycled materials including old shipping containers, an organic roof that encourages biodiversity targeted at bees and insect life, and living walls which provide food.

The team will include technologies that treat waste water and monitor air quality as part of their design.

The house will be built at the university, disassembled for shipping to next year’s contest site near Budapest, Hungary, and later returned to Brighton.

The university’s vice-chancellor , Professor Debra Humphris, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved and demonstrates the quality of research and innovation being conducted here. It also complements the University’s ethos of ensuring that sustainability is embedded in everything we do.”

BrightNest needs the support to take part in the competition. They need to raise £100,000 for the construction and shipping of the house.

To support them, head to