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Christchurch to get experimental solar house

Jul 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

ONE of the first post-quakes houses built in Christchurch will get there via Washington following the auction last week of the Meridian First Light house.

The bach is now Susan Wauchop’s First Light house and she plans to put it in Christchurch.

Ms Wauchop, a Wellington policy analyst, paid $326,000 for the bach which is on its way to the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition, for which it was built.

Ms Wauchop says she is overwhelmed with the result because she has been looking at it ever since it was first built and even used a picture of the house as her screen saver.

“Since I was 15 or 16 I used to draw houses.

“I would love to have been an architect, but I never had the creativity.”

PROUD OWNER: Susan Wauchop with project team members Tobias Danielmeier (left) and Bob Burgess.

The auction night at Harcourts Real Estate started with nibbles, followed by speeches from the vice chancellor of Victoria University, Pat Walsh, and by Ben Jagersma from the First Light team.

“We put our focus in designing a house that really felt like a home,” Mr Jagersma says.

“For the lovely person who gets to make this house their home, I have no doubt that it will mould beautifully around their lifestyles and become an important part of their day to day lives, my only hope is that you let us come visit you once in a while.”

It has taken two years and about $NZ500,000 to build the bach for the Solar Decathlon.

The sale of the house will help fund its trip to the United States before it returns to Ms Wauchop, who may place it in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner where she owns land.

“I’ll try not to put it on any known fault lines,” she says.

First Light’s Sophie Prebble was pleased with the night’s success, calling it “a great result”.

“It’s nice to see it go to someone who’s pleased to have it,” says Ms Prebble.

“It’s great to see it go to Christchurch because they need as many houses as they can get.”

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