Team UOW Australia, a partnership between the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra, has recently been announced as the winner of the Solar Decathlon China 2013 finals ahead of 19 other entries from around the globe.
The University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra team received the following awards for their Illawarra Flame House at the first Solar Decathlon China finals:


  • with 957.6 of a possible 1000 points

Juried contests

  • First place in ‘Engineering’
  • First place in ‘Architecture’
  • First place in ‘Solar Application’
  • Second place in ‘Communications’
  • Second place in ‘Market Appeal’

Measured contests

  • First place in ‘Energy Balance’
  • First place in ‘Hot Water’
  • Second place in ‘Appliances’

The second place prize went to Team SCUT (South China University of Technology) with their EConcave house on 951.8 points, with third being awarded to Team Sweden (Chalmers University of Technology) with their Halo house on 948.3 points. This is not only the first time an Australian team has won a Solar Decathlon, but the first time an Australian team has even made it to a Solar Decathlon final. In a demonstration of effective collaboration, students and teachers from both the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra have pooled their knowledge, skills, research and experience to create their net-zero and innovative home.

Present at the closing ceremony of the Solar Decathalon China competition was University of Wollongong Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Judy Raper and Director of TAFE Illawarra, Dianne Murray. Professor Raper said, “Our students have achieved a remarkable feat here today. The tremendous effort that they have all put in over the past year or more has been recognised as world-class, and has demonstrated once again that the University of Wollongong is a world-leader in research and education in advanced environmentally sustainable technologies and in reducing the environmental impacts of our built environment”.

“The energy here in Datong has been electric,” said Dianne Murray, Director of TAFE Illawarra. “This has been a huge opportunity to show the world how far advanced the Illawarra is when it comes to clever, sustainable construction and design – and to establish our region as a global leader in this field.”

Exceeding all expectations, during the week of public exhibition at the Solar Decathlon China, Team UOW showed over 20,000 Chinese locals through their home. It is estimated that over 300,000 people will have visited the Solar Decathlon China, making it the biggest in Solar Decathlon history.

The net-zero energy Illawarra Flame home, designed and built by students from the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra, has been constructed from the ground up at the competition site in Datong and all materials shipped over from Australia. Nineteen other innovative solar powered houses designed by the world’s young sustainability experts of the future have been built alongside at the same time.

Giving it the winning edge that led to its first place finish, Team UOW Australia’s entry was the first house in Solar Decathlon history to demonstrate a retrofit of an existing home. Modelled on a 1960s Aussie fibro house floor plan, the Illawarra Flame House shows how to make existing houses energy efficient and comfortable to live in.

UOW Flame HouseTeam UOW Australia in front of the Illawarra Flame House