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Meridian-backed Vic Uni solar house wins honours in global contest

Friday 30th September 2011

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Kiwi engineering smarts has been recognised with a win for Victoria University’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C.

Backed by state-owned renewable electricity generator Meridian Energy, the New Zealand entry took out the Engineering Award, one of 10 categories competed for in the contest, which saw novel solar houses erected on Washington’s central park, The National Mall, near Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial obelisk.

“Innovative engineering that maximises energy efficiency in a home is the heart of the Solar Decathlon,” said Solar Decathlon director Richard King.

Entries were judged on functionality, energy efficiency, innovation and “true market potential”, reliability and the quality of documentation.

“New Zealand’s house represents an accomplishment of modern engineering and delivers significant energy savings,” said Hunter Fanney, a competition judge and a chief mechanical engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The win jumps the Victoria University entry into sixth place in the event, with projects from three U.S. universities currently in the top spots.

The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The contest challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in.


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