For the Architecture contest of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, teams are required to…
The design of the First Light house is oriented towards the outdoors. Decking runs around the house and right through its centre, allowing occupants to effectively live outside during summer and bringing a sense of the outdoors inside all year round.
The central section of the house is surrounded by glazing and functions as a bridge between the natural environment and the indoors. This is at the heart of the design—reflecting a Kiwi lifestyle where the outdoors, socializing and entertaining are central to living.
Prefabricated and modular, the First Light house has been designed to be easily transported. The house is made up of six independent modules that can be quickly assembled using a crane.
This level of prefabrication allowed the team to fit out the modules with finishes, fixtures, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical equipment which makes for a simple and fast connection on-site.
Wooden decking from Verda Outdoor surrounds the house linking the interior to the surrounding environment. The decking is also constructed in modules which are carried into place for quick assembly.
The Herman Pacific Western Red Cedar canopy provides independent support for the photovoltaic (PV) panels while providing shade for the windows during the warmer seasons when the sun is high. The canopy also keeps the solar panels cool and allows the waterproof membrane roof below to remain uncompromised by the supports for the PV panels.
A skylight with triple-glazing supplied by Metro Glasstech illuminates the central section of the house. Sunlight penetrates the space to provide heat and light, bringing the outdoors in. A shading system has also been incorporated to allow for additional control and flexibility of the interior climate.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The First Light house has been designed using environmentally sustainable design principles. Where possible we have:
• made use of materials that use recycled content and/or can be recycled
• selected materials that have certification with environmental agencies
• used locally sourced, low cost, low energy materials