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Fist pumping abounds as Kiwi solar bach design nets third place at prestigious Solar Decathlon competition

Fist pumping abounds as Kiwi solar bach design nets third place at prestigious Solar Decathlon competition

Having battled it out for over a week, and with years of preparation behind them, the hard work has paid off for members of Victoria University’s First Light team, with the team coming third in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. First Light is the first team from the Southern Hemisphere to reach the finals of the competition. 

With 18 other international university teams competing, the third place ranking is impressive in and of itself, but the team also aced a number of individual contests within the competition. There are 10 contest in total that challenge teams in a number of different areas including energy balance, home entertainment, architecture and engineering. First Light won the Engineering contest, came first equal in Hot Water and Energy Balance, second for Architecture and third for Market Appeal. 

The overall competition winner was the University of Maryland with 951 points, followed by Purdue University with 931 points and First Light with 919. 

“While we may not have won overall we are incredibly proud to have represented New Zealand on the world stage. We had such and amazing response from the US public here along with supporters back home,” said team member Nick Officer. 

And proving just how effective energy efficient power solutions can be, the house managed to produce more energy than it consumed over the competition period achieving net zero energy consumption, despite 10 days of not-so-perfect weather. 

“Our house performed how we designed it to and it looks great too!,” said Officer. 

Commenting on the team’s victory in the engineering contest, juror Dr. Hunter Fanney said:  

“The New Zealand house was beautifully executed, with extreme attention to detail and craftsmanship and an intuitive tree-ring visualization system, which makes it easy to understand energy use throughout the house.”  

The First Light team has been keeping us updated on its progress in the build up to the competition for the past year with regular blogs on the Design Daily site (see blogs below). The house was also featured in Idealog 33 and you can check out the piece here.

The First Light House

University of Maryland's winning entry

Second place getter Purdue University