Team UOW Australia from the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, has won the 2013 Solar Decathlon China with the Illawarra Flame Australia house.
The house is a demonstration of how typical Australian homes built in the 1950-60s can be retrofitted with a wide range of advanced energy management technologies, thereby avoiding many of the environmental impacts that would have resulted from building a new home from scratch.
This was the first time a retrofitted home was entered in a decathlon – an international contest held by the US Department of Energy. The competition challenges international colleges and universities to design, build and operate the most attractive, effective and energy-efficient solar-powered house within 10 days.
Team UOW marketing and communications manager Jack Breen said the idea to target existing housing stock fits with the university’s focus on retrofitting already-developed infrastructure.
“The team clearly understands that as a society with the goal of a sustainable future, we need to find an effective way to make our existing houses energy efficient – in a way that is beautiful, functional and affordable,” Mr Breen said.
Schneider Electric is a major sponsor of the Solar Decathlon – one of the largest global university competitions focused on energy management in homes. To help Team WOW achieve the goal, Schneider Electric donated a C-Bus Control system, along with occupancy and light sensors, sweep fan control relay and a 6.4 inch C-Touch colour touch screen.
“The research from our involvement in the project will live on and continue at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) as the house becomes a living laboratory,” Mr Breen said.
“We will also be researching different tiers of a retrofit and the payoff periods for each of them.”