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Icebox Challenge – Glasgow's Energy Efficient Building Competition 

Icebox Challenge – Glasgow's Energy Efficient Building Competition 
20 July 2021 | Updated 21 July 2021

In the lead up to COP26, Glasgow is hosting a public installation to demonstrate the benefits of energy-efficient buildings.

Students from across Scotland were challenged with creating a building that was both innovative and eye-catching. The competition asked students to design one structure built to Scottish Building Standards and another built to a more environmentally friendly, Passivhaus/ Passive House standard. 

The four winning students from Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment will see their structures appear as part of a public installation when the structures will be filled with an equal amount of ice.

How much ice remains in the structures over three weeks will demonstrate how well each keeps out the heat and the difference between the Scottish Building Standards and the Passive House Standard.

The boxes will be on display from 23 July – 8 August 2021 in St Enoch Square, Glasgow, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26.



Picture: a graphic demonstrating the two ice boxes that will have equal amounts of ice held inside them. Image credit: The Ice Box Challenge


The Winning Design


The team of architecture students from Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School created the winning design celebrating a traditional highland building using timber, herringbone cladding, stained red, green and yellow, that was inspired by the natural colours of the highlands.   They also took inspiration from the Integra House designed by RGU Professor Gokay Deveci.

Lina Khairy, a member of the winning design team and student at Robert Gordon University said of the project: “Such an amazing experience to get to build these boxes and gain insight into the construction process! This is honestly a dream come true!” 


Efficiency: The First Renewable Energy


The Ice Box Challenge is a part of the International Passive House Association’s 2021 awareness-raising campaign “Efficiency: The First Renewable Energy #EfficiencyFirst”. The campaign emphasises the foundational role an efficiency first approach plays in any building project, as embodied or upfront carbon reductions are at risk of being overwhelmed by operating emissions over the building’s lifecycle. Equally, converting to an all-renewable energy future is not possible unless we achieve energy-efficiency at scale.

With this public display, the group hope to raise awareness for the vital role energy efficiency in buildings plays in meeting our climate goals.

Project Coordinator, Giorgia Tzar noted: “Better building design can help us reduce our carbon pollution without changing our behaviour. Buildings that prioritise efficiency first are comfortable and healthy.” 

Picture: a photograph of the winning team outside of a workshop. Image credit: The Ice Box Challenge

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 July 2021


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