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Photo of Solar Decathlon Director Richard King being interviewed by a videographer.

Solar Decathlon Blog - New Zealand

Below you will find Solar Decathlon news from the New Zealand archive, sorted by date.

Progress, Delays, and Generosity Characterize Second Full Day of Team Assembly

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carol Anna

Construction of the solar village on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park continued today, as student teams worked throughout the day and night to assemble their competition houses for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.

While always a top priority at the Solar Decathlon, safety is particularly important during this seven-day construction phase. At today’s daily team meeting, Lee Ann Underwood, Solar Decathlon safety officer, praised the following teams for their excellent safety practices:

  • New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • Tidewater Virginia (Old Dominion University and Hampton University)
  • Canada (University of Calgary)
  • Parsons NS Stevens (Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology)
  • The University of Tennessee.

As of this meeting, 12 of the 19 team houses had passed their foundation inspections, with the University of Tennessee and Team China (Tongji University) leading in the number of building inspections passed.

Unfortunately, only part of Team Massachusetts’ house has arrived. The team members expect the rest of the house to arrive tomorrow.

Photo of woman wearing a hard hat and holding her arms wide.

A member of Team Massachusetts demonstrates good humor while standing in the empty lot where her team house will be assembled. (Credit: Carol Anna/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The truck carrying the foundation footings for Florida International University finally arrived, and the team was busy today setting the foundations.

Michele Markovits, project engineer for Florida International, couldn’t say enough good things about neighboring teams, whose generosity included Parsons NS Stevens, who helped by buying gas for their generator; Tennessee, who helped charge a battery and accepted safety glasses in return; and Appalachian State, whose loan of surveying equipment helped the team set its foundation footings.

Photo of smiling people standing next to about 30 blocks about a foot square that are spaced along the grass.

Michele Markovits, project engineer for Florida International University, and other team members work on the foundation footings for their house. (Credit: Carol Anna/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

“Our fellow teams have been so generous, They’ve shown truly great sportsmanship,” Michelle said. “It’s important to all of us that we make it to the finish line.”

Carol Anna is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

New Zealand Design Places People and the Outdoors at Its Heart

Friday, May 27, 2011

By Erin Pierce

Editor’s Note: This entry has been cross-posted from DOE’s Energy Blog.

In honor of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon—which challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive—we are profiling each of the 20 teams participating in the competition.

New Zealand is the first place morning light hits at the start of each new day—and now it is home to the first team from the Southern Hemisphere ever to compete in the Solar Decathlon.

The team, composed of students and faculty from Victoria University of Wellington, has looked to revamp an iconic symbol of New Zealand’s beach holiday lifestyle—the modest coastal “Kiwi bach.”

Dotted along New Zealand’s coastline lie thousands of cherished summer homes called bach (pronounced batch). Traditionally small and spare, these homes were made for summertime on the beach, where life takes place as much outside as it does inside.

By incorporating energy-efficient design strategies to keep energy consumption at a minimum, the team hopes to redefine what the bach symbolizes, not only as the ideal way to enjoy summer but also as a model of sustainable home design.

Although the traditional bach is meant to be enjoyed during the warmer months, the team’s house—which they’ve named First Light—is intended for year-round living. To ensure the interior stays comfortable regardless of weather conditions, the walls are insulated with locally sourced wool insulation made from sheep fibers.

An external canopy on the rooftop houses a solar water heater as well as polycrystalline solar panels durable enough to withstand harsh coastal storms. LED lights are used both inside and outside, and a centrally spaced skylight supplements with daylighting.

Photo of a group of students standing in front of First Light.

Members of the New Zealand Solar Decathlon team (Courtesy of the New Zealand team's Flickr photostream)

With the challenging work of construction complete, the house now sits along the Wellington Waterfront, where it is open for tours to the public. And, judging by a recent post on the team’s blog, the revamped bach is drawing a lot of attention:  “It’s wowing its thousands of visitors … . Even though it’s autumn here in New Zealand—wind, rain, fog, and sunshine all in one day—there were queues of patient people.”

Soon enough, the team will have to prepare for the long (literally) journey ahead of packing up and shipping the house all the way to Washington, D.C. But for now, it can enjoy sharing with fellow New Zealanders its clean-energy take on a time-honored tradition.

Erin Pierce is an energy technology program specialist for the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.