Kiwi bach takes third place in Solar Decathlon in US capital

A conceptual image of the Meridian Frist Light house

Photo / Meridian Energy

Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington

2 October 2011

In a contest that went down to the wire the Victoria University team has been awarded third place at the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, just a few points behind the winner.

The Meridian First Light house ended with a total of 919 points in the competition against 19 university teams from around the world. The winner of the competition was the University of Maryland with 951 points. Team member Nick Officer says, “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.”

The Solar Decathlon challenges 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 Victoria University 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.

“Even though we didn’t get the top spot overall, we feel like a winning team. Our house performed how we designed it to and it looks great too!,” says Nick. The Meridian First Light house managed to produce more energy than it consumed over the competition period achieving net zero energy consumption, despite 10 days of undesirable weather.

The final results were announced today at 2:30pm in Washington DC (7:30am NZ time). The houses will be open to the public for the last time tomorrow. Teams then have just four days to pack up their houses and get them off the West Potomac Park. The Meridian First Light house will then be packed back up and put on a ship back home to New Zealand.