Shin­ing light

Kiwi in­ge­nu­ity comes to the fore in an award-win­ning, so­lar-pow­ered bach.

Element - - Clean technology -

Kiwi in­no­va­tors and aca­demics are cut­ting it with the world’s best in sus­tain­able hous­ing de­sign. The Merid­ian First Light house, the high-tech bach built by Vic­to­ria Univer­sity and shipped to the US for the Depart­ment of En­ergy So­lar De­cathlon com­pe­ti­tion has been awarded third place. It was cho­sen as one of 20 univer­sity teams to com­pete in the com­pe­ti­tion – the only en­try, ever, from the south­ern hemi­sphere. The So­lar De­cathlon chal­lenged the teams to de­sign, build and oper­ate so­lar-pow­ered houses that are cost-ef­fec­tive, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient and at­trac­tive. The com­pe­ti­tion is made up of 10 con­tests which chal­lenge teams in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ar­eas in­clud­ing en­ergy bal­ance, home en­ter­tain­ment, ar­chi­tec­ture and en­gi­neer­ing. The team had high scores in many of the con­tests, win­ning the En­gi­neer­ing con­test, gain­ing first equal in Hot Water and En­ergy Bal­ance, sec­ond for Ar­chi­tec­ture and third for Mar­ket Ap­peal. The house man­aged to pro­duce more en­ergy than it con­sumed over the com­pe­ti­tion pe­riod achiev­ing net zero en­ergy con­sump­tion, de­spite 10 days of un­de­sir­able weather. LEAP Aus­trala­sia Ltd, which supplied the water sys­tems to the Merid­ian First Light house, say they are thrilled with the re­sult for the team. Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jay Wester: “Our New Zealand tech­nolo­gies have been taken to Washington and it has been proven they are equal to those avail­able world­wide. This is a great re­sult.” LEAP’S water heat­ing sys­tem com­prised of a So­large­nius so­lar water heat­ing sys­tem and a Ther­ma­ge­nius heat pump water heat­ing sys­tem more than pro­vided hot water for the house even through a num­ber of over­cast and rainy days. The bach also fea­tured an in­no­va­tive hot water dry­ing cup­board pow­ered by the ex­cess hot water pro­duced by LEAP’S sys­tem.

The Merid­ian First Light house on show in Welling­ton be­fore it was shipped to the US for the com­pe­ti­tion.

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