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May 2, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Bright Future For Vic Students’ Solar House

Victoria University students have designed and built an entirely solar-powered house to compete in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington DC.

The team, made up of Architecture students Ben Jagersma, Anna Farrow, Nick Officer and Eli Nuttall, is the first ever from the Southern Hemisphere to be selected for the competition—one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world.

The team will travel to Washington in October to display their house for ten days alongside 19 others in a temporary ‘solar village’ on the National Mall.
The challenge is to produce a solar-powered house which is cost-effective and energy-efficient, judged through ten contests: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and energy balance.
The Victoria team has attracted interest from Meridian Energy, which is now the main sponsor of the project.

“We’re 100 per cent committed to renewables and have demonstrated this with our investments in New Zealand and offshore. With our interest in solar power this project was a natural fit with us,” said Meridian’s General Manager (External Relations), Guy Waipara.

“In addition, it’s great for us to be involved in supporting some of New Zealand’s top young talent.”
Officer said the team is thrilled to have energy experts from Meridian helping out with the project.
“Everyone here is very excited to be working with Meridian not least because the company is just as invested in sustainable, renewable energy and building as we are.”

Nick Officer told Stuff.co.nz that they were confident about their chances, but admitted it would be a new concept for the Americans.
“We’re trying to find a balance between how Americans love to live—inside with the airconditioning on—and how we live, we open the windows when it’s hot.

“It’s a 21st century reinterpretation of the Kiwi bach.”

The house, now called Meridian First Light house, has been fully constructed and is in place in Frank Kitts Park ready for its official launch and public exhibition from 7 to 24 May.

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