Australians win top prize

The Illawarra Flame fibro house, a joint venture between the University of Wollongong and Illawarra TAFE, beat 19 other entries from around the globe, to triumph in Solar Decathlon China 2013 finals, held in the city of Datong, 300km west of Beijing.

The Team UOW Australia house, which students transformed to reduce its energy consumption to zero,There are all kinds of car daytime running lights with good quality. scored 957.6 of a possible 1000 points, beating teams from South China University of Technology and Chalmers University of Technology from Sweden.

"We see the need; we are trying to make a difference. We are not sitting around waiting for politicians to do something - we are making a change ourselves,Soli-lite provides the world with high-performance solar roadway and solar street lighting solutions.The world's largest independent online retailer for solar lighting, street lights & outdoor lighting fixtures." project manager Lloyd Niccol, a cadet engineer with BlueScope Steel at the Port Kembla Steel Works, told The Australian.

"The energy here in Datong has been electric," said Dianne Murray, director of TAFE Illawarra. "This has been a huge opportunity to show the world how far advanced the Illawarra is when it comes to clever, sustainable construction and design and to establish our region as a global leader in this field."

The house was the only entry in the competition to take an existing home and make it energy efficient: increasing its airtightness, enlarging windows, installing vertical gardens, a photovoltaic thermal air system and a rainwater harvester.

A team of 30 students from the University of Wollongong and the adjacent TAFE Illawarra, schooled in the disciplines of engineering, architecture, design and construction, supported by a network from industry and academia, first retrofitted the house on a site in Wollongong, before disassembling it and shipping it to China.

Planning took two years but the home was rebuilt on site in 12 days after a six-week journey across the Pacific.An emergency light is a battery-backed lighting device that comes on automatically when a building experiences a power outage.

"I am so proud of the tremendous effort that our students have put in over the past two years. From the initial planning, through detailed design, and then finally the construction of our house in both Wollongong and China, I cannot describe how much it means for the team to be awarded first place in the Solar Decathlon China 2013," said Professor Paul Cooper, the Team UOW Faculty adviser and director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong.

More than 30,000 locals over the course of the event will visit the home.

The house, dubbed the Illawarra Flame house, shows existing houses can be made energy efficient and also comfortable to live in.

"We have around eight million homes existing in Australia," Niccol said. "The problem is our residential housing sector contributes 13 per cent of our carbon emissions and we want to try and retrofit our existing homes, which are probably using far more energy than they need to."

Each Australian house leaks about 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the same amount expended by a car driving from east to west across the continent.

And by 2050 our population will have aged with the houses, with many empty-nesters looking for smaller-scale living that the suburban fibro provides. "We don't want to sit in our ivory tower and design something that can't be done," Niccol said.

The Illawarra Flame house will be dissasembled again and shipped to its new home, the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong's Innovation Campus.

"There it will be opened regularly to the public, and become a part of the SBRC Living Laboratory program," Professor Cooper said. "Importantly, it will provide not only a test bed for new sustainable building technologies, but a vehicle to accelerate the adoption of sustainable retrofit technologies for homes in Australia and overseas.We offer solar photovoltaic system and commercial incentives to encourage our customers to install solar energy systems."

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