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