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Hundreds of thousands to tour Kiwi bach in US

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Victoria University students are getting ready for US visitors in the hundreds of thousands to walk through their Kiwi bach inspired solar house starting in just a few hours.

The Victoria University team is the first ever from the Southern Hemisphere to compete in the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011.

The Solar Decathlon is a prestigious and highly anticipated international competition challenging university teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

The competition takes place every two years in Washington DC and the last competition drew over 300,000 visitors over a 10 day period.

Teams have worked 24 hours for almost seven days on the National Mall's West Potomac Park to complete their homes in time for the start of public exhibit today. Not all competing teams were ready in time for the final call to stop work but the Victoria team had their house signed off with a few hours to spare.

Team member Nick Officer says: "We all breathed a sigh of relief when the last inspection on the house was signed off. Now's the fun part, we get to share our handy work with the US public, we will just have to make sure they understand our Kiwi accents."

The team's entry - the Meridian First Light house - was assembled on Wellington's waterfront earlier this year to a fantastic public response. The team now hopes this success will carry over to the US.

Nick says: "Putting the house together on Frank Kitts Park earlier this year gave us a huge advantage both for assembly and public exhibit. Thousands of visitors to the Meridian First Light house will come away learning about what makes the New Zealand lifestyle unique."

Throughout the 10 days of the competition the 19 student teams will take tours along with competing in a series of 10 contests to assess how well the house performs. The winner of the competition will be announced on the 1st of October.

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