Publication Details

Ma, Z., Yan, R., Fiorentini, M. & Cooper, P. (2016). Team UOW solar decathlon house: refurbishment demonstration. 11th Conference on Advanced Building Skins (pp. 790-799). Switzerland: Advanced Building Skins GmbH.


This paper describes a practical demonstration of how to refurbish a typical Australian timber framed fibro house to become a net-zero energy, Solar Decathlon (SD) home. The Team UOW Illawarra Flame House was entered in the SD China 2013 competition and was eventually the overall winner of the competition. The house refurbishment method was illustrated initially through architectural changes to the design of the nominal original house in order to improve functionality, daylighting and natural ventilation. Energy simulations for the original house and the house with the architectural refurbishment were then carried out to determine the thermal envelope retrofit targets and investigate the thermal performance enhancement of the house due to its envelope upgrade. An innovative air-conditioning system, which included solar photovoltaicthermal collectors and a phase change material thermal storage unit, was developed and employed to maintain indoor thermal comfort conditions. The results from both experiments and simulations showed that the thermal and energy performance of the house was significantly improved through the effective implementation of the suite of retrofits. The house demonstrated the potential for existing Australian housing stock to achieve net-zero energy consumption while meeting high indoor thermal comfort standards.