First Light House Third in USA

By Ken Collins 03/10/2011 1


A few months back I wrote about the First Light House that was too have competed at the Solar Decathlon in Washington DC.

The First Light House team in front of their house in Washington DC (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)
The First Light House team in front of their house in Washington DC (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

As a quick refresher, the US Department of Energy web site summarises the competition thus — ’The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate (University to us Kiwi readers) teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

It has been reported over the weekend that the team from Victoria University has come in third place overall!! A fantastic result considering they were up against some very highly respected universities from the US and around the world.

In the process, the team were placed 1st for Engineering, which is fantastic because Victoria University doesn’t have an engineering school, 1st equal for Hot Water and 1st equal for Energy Balance, as

Mike Moore visits, photo from the First Light web site
Mike Moore visits, photo from the First Light web site

well as 2nd for Architecture and 3rd for Market Appeal. For a description of what these mean, see the US DoE descriptions here.

This result has garnered coverage in international media and is now making news in NZ. It has been a demonstration of what is achievable with products that are commercially available in this country. Although at this stage the up front capital cost is still very high, but hopefully that will drop to the point of common affordability in the coming years.

Helen Clark visits, photo from the First Light web site
Helen Clark visits, photo from the First Light web site

The Dominion Post reported today that — ’The Wellington team will spend the next four days packing the house up and then it will be shipped back to New Zealand. The bach has been purchased by a Christchurch woman who is planning to purchase land somewhere in the South Island for the bach, for which she paid $326,000 at auction.’

For those who want to know more, see the First Light House web site, and this is a direct link to a video explaining the architecture of the ’bach’.


One Response to “First Light House Third in USA”

  • Kudos to the Vic team!!!
    Also it is important is to remember that the engineering and craftsmanship that is recognized by the judges is a consequence of the practical “engineering school that isn’t in Victoria Univ” : the backing, supply, involvement, hands on effort and installation guidance by the vendors and suppliers from all over NZ. the purchaser of the bach certainly got a great deal!