Australia's solar ingenuity

The University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra have taken first place in the Solar Decathlon in China highlighting, once again, that Australia is a world leader in solar innovation.

If anyone was worried that Australia was losing its edge on solar innovation, think again.

Thanks to a stellar effort by the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra, Australia is back on the winners board after they took out first place in the Solar Decathlon in China, ahead of 19 other teams from around the world.

Team UOW chose a unique angle on this project – which aims to build kit style sustainable homes – by retrofitting one Australia’s ubiquitous fibro shacks, so familiar to many of us. However, the requirement to assemble and disassemble the house (twice!) in Australia, ship it to China and rebuild it in less than two weeks for the competition required a twist and a re-design of the standard Aussie shack.

They clearly used their collective heads down at the 'Gong too, with a design aimed at appealing to Australia’s ageing population who will represent a quarter of all Australians by 2050. They named their project “the Illawarra Flame” after the famous Flame Tree that reinvents itself each season, and going by the awesome images on their website, have combined a familiar Australian icon with world class design and the opportunity for real people in the real world to take this design on.

They also have a fantastic time lapse video showing the construction – and deconstruction of the entire home.

The University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra team received the following awards for their Illawarra Flame House at the first Solar Decathlon China finals:

-- First place in the Solar Decathlon final with 957.6 of a possible 1000 points.

Juried contests

-- First place in ‘Engineering’

-- First place in ‘Architecture’

-- First place in ‘Solar Application’

-- Second place in ‘Communications’

-- Second place in ‘Market Appeal’

-- Measured contests

-- First place in ‘Energy Balance’

-- First place in ‘Hot Water’

-- Second place in ‘Appliances’

Congratulations to everyone involved in this great example of Aussie ingenuity.

This article first appeared on Solar Business Services.