Team UOW from the University of Wollongong in Australia has been awarded first place at the 2013 Solar Decathlon China, taking top honors for its net-zero, water-conserving design. Selected from 22 teams and 35 universities, Team UOW’s winning entry – the Illawarra Flame House – was the first retrofitted house ever to be submitted in decathlon history.
The Illawarra Flame demonstrates how a ‘fibro’ house, a common and extremely energy-inefficient Australian icon, can be modified and retrofitted to be an ultra-sustainable home for the future.
Modifications to the layout included the conversion of a third bedroom to an open plan living and dining area, as well as the inclusion of clerestory windows to increase natural lighting and ventilation. Using Living Building Challenge standards, sustainable features included a 9.4 kW photovoltaic array, greywater treatment and rainwater capture systems, garden, skylights, and ample ventilation. All materials where low in VOC content and came primarily from recycled sources.
The Solar Decathlon China was the first decathlon to be hosted in Asia. Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Energy Administration China, the competition challenged university teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and stylish.
Team UOW acquired 957.6 out of a possible 1,000 points. The Second place prize went to the E-Concave house of Team SCUT (South China University of Technology) at 951.8 points, while the Halo house of Team Sweden (Chalmers University of Technology) won third with 948.3 points.
Teams were judged on the following 10 categories: Architecture, Market appeal, Engineering, Communications, Solar application, Thermal comfort, Hot water, Appliances, Home entertainment, and Energy balance.
More information on the winning design can be found here.