Solar-powered House

3 May 2011

Frank Kitts Park is the place to head over the next few weeks to see solar power and energy-efficient technologies in action.

An artist's impression of the solar-powered house

An artist's impression of the solar-powered house

A team of Victoria University students has been assembling a solar-powered Kiwi bach as a practice run for the United States Department of Energy Solar Decathlon later in the year. The team is one of 20 worldwide and the first from the Southern Hemisphere to be chosen to compete in the prestigious finals.

The Meridian First Light House, aka the bach, will be open to the public on the waterfront from Saturday 7 May to Tuesday 24 May, 12 noon to 4.00pm most weekdays and 10.00am to 5.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Among other things, it features photovoltaic panels and solar water heaters, highly energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting and a reverse cycle heat pump.

The Council's Principal Climate Change Advisor, Chris Cameron, says the project is an inspiring example of smart, green thinking and design.

"More than 40 percent of the city's greenhouse gas emissions relate to the energy used in buildings. To get them down, we have to think about how we heat and insulate our homes and offices and the appliances we choose. Most of us aren't about to design or build a new house, but it's a great opportunity to see what these young local designers have achieved."

We've made changes to our building consents process in recent years to make it easier to install solar heating systems on rooftops.

We also provide grants of up to $300 to encourage homeowners to install sustainable energy features including solar water heating.