This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 01, 2011

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 House Design Places People, Outdoors at its Heart

New Zealand is the first place morning light hits at the start of each new day—and, now it is home to the first team from the Southern Hemisphere ever to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition. The team, comprised of students and faculty from Victoria University of Wellington, have looked to revamp an iconic symbol of New Zealand's beach holiday lifestyle—the modest coastal "Kiwi bach."

Dotting New Zealand's coastline are thousands of cherished summer homes called bach (pronounced batch). Traditionally small and spare, these homes were made for summertime on the beach, where life takes place as much outside as it does inside. By incorporating energy efficient design strategies to keep energy consumption at a minimum, the team hopes to redefine what the bach symbolizes not only as the ideal way to enjoy summers but also as a model of sustainable home design. See the Energy Blog post.