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Visit Kiwi bach in middle of Wellington city

May 6th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

VICTORIA University students have designed an energy efficient bach that could mean never paying a power bill again – and it’s in the middle of Wellington.

Passing drivers may have been surprised to see the builders, cranes and construction at work in Frank Kitts Park this week, pictured right.

A team of 25 students have been assembling the bach, named First Light, with the hope of promoting energy efficiency.

The house will be open to the public this Saturday in Frank Kitts Park from May 7-24.

Four final year students came up with the original idea two years ago as part of an assignment based on entering a prestigious competition held by the US Department of Energy called the Solar Decathlon.

Nick Officer, one of the original four students working on First Light says they followed the competition brief.

“[We were] designing a prototype house that can be shipped from one side of the world to another, but it also includes all the solar technologies so you’ll never pay another power bill”.

The bach, which has 28 solar panels and energy efficient appliances, was built at a site in Lyall Bay and moved to Frank Kitts by truck in six parts.

It will be shipped to Washington for the competition later in the year.

“We have to make sure everything is working because we are trying to win a competition in the end.”

“We’re testing everything from the air conditioning units and the solar panels to how we present the house to the public.

“Also our sponsors are given an opportunity to put what they’ve committed to this project down in the public eye and they get to see the final product as well.”

The project has been a challenge for most of the students but also a great experience, Mr Officer says.

“You probably don’t get dropped in this kind of position while you’re in architecture school, learning how to actually get something built, so that’s been a fairly big learning curve for all of us.”

Twenty teams from different countries will compete in 10 contests which will include affordability, design and even hosting a movie night and two dinner parties.

The Solar Decathlon competition has run every second year since 2002 and First Light is the first entry from the Southern Hemisphere to get into the finals.




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