The Solar Decathlon has been called the “solar olympics” by some people. It is a regular global competition
sponsored by the US Department of Energy to build a totally sustainable house.
For the first time there is an Australian team, the team from UOW and they have a really good value proposition for their entry. It is that in 2050 more than 70% of the housing stock in use will have been built before 2012. All new houses inevitably have a sizeable CO2 footprint. Therefore retrofitting existing housing stock is of strategic importance in order to achieve CO2 neutrality. Pretty blindingly simple, when you think about it. You wonder why no one has before!
The task ahead of the team is quite monumental: other than the competition itself, which requires the team to build a house locally, which has to be designed first, they have to be able to knock down the house, ship it to Datong in China (in the heart of coal country) and then re-build the house over three days. To achieve all of this they have to also raise capital, build a media profile bar none, and learn from the ground up, project planning, building, media, management, and capital raising skills. Each one of these is no small task.
I have been mentoring and coaching the team leader, Lloyd Nicholl for the last few weeks to enable him to develop the confidence and skills that are required to manage a loose group of students, all of whom are busy with their main tasks, which are to keep their course work up to date. Most of them have part time paying jobs as well in order for them to support themselves on the way through university.
This is truly a remarkable group of people. Every one of these students has both a strong work ethic and a tremendous social heart as well. These are, in truth, the leaders of this country that we don’t have at the moment, in Canberra – young people driven by a desire to improve the world through actions rather than words.
They have recently launched their facebook page so please go along and like it. It needs support!