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A team explosion (of size)

The First LightNZ team started with a design created by Victoria of University architecture students Anna Farrow, Ben Jagersma, Nick Officer and Eli Nuttall. They were put together by their lecturer based on shared interests, and over the past year they’ve become a tight unit and good friends. But, as time has gone by, the team explains why four no longer cuts it when you're exporting your idea to the world stage of design. 

Sitting around a table for the first time, the four of us sketched a rough design inspired by sustainable bach living, which focused on the central socialising zone of the house.  This initial concept has stayed with the project and informed all other design decisions. But a lot has happened since that first meeting. Since then, we’ve grown to over 40 students who are involved with various aspects of the design phase. The bigger student team comprises a variety of departments around Victoria University, with each new member working hard to achieve the project goals. It means that there is an excitement and energy around the project office, which is constantly packed with students coming in and out to meet and discuss plans and ideas for their solar bach.  

All of the students are excited about competing in the U.S Department of Energy's 2011 Solar Decathlon competition. However, the more important motivation comes from the chance to be involved in a real world project where their designs and input will be fully realised. Generally university revolves around theoretical learning but this project is a rare opportunity to get real world experience while studying.  

The students have taken responsibility for areas of the design and planning process including landscape design, interior design, environmentally sustainable design, architecture, PR, marketing and health and safety.  

Members of the larger student team have started to take on specific responsibilities and roles. One architecture student has taken on the role of “resident model maker” and has been whipping up scale models for the team to test different materials around the project office.  

It’s a good thing then that the Solar Decathlon has no restriction on team size. We need students to construct the house on the National Mall in a bid to compete in the 10 competitions of the Solar Decathlon, and show an impressive 300,000 plus visitors through the house. Most teams in the past have taken at least 30 team members to cope with the hectic 21-day competition. We want to take as many people as our sponsorship will allow. 

The high profile international Solar Decathlon competition will be held on the National Mall, near the White House in the U.S. capital. Student teams compete to design, build and operate a solar-powered house that is cost effective, energy efficient, and well-designed. 

Check out the team’s other blogs below, and keep an eye out for video blogs to be featured on Design Daily shortly. 

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