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Kiwi Students Built the Greenest, Most Livable Beach Cottage

As it turns out, before the debut of that perfectly Scandinavian solar-powered tiny house built by Swedish students, a team of New Zealand students already created a solar-powered prefab dwelling that elegantly modernizes the traditional Kiwi "bach," or beach cottage. The First Light Home, which took third place at the U.S. solar decathlon several years ago, is still standing today by New Zealand's Waimarama Beach and can be customized for potential customers. On the outside, the most striking feature of the dwelling is the wing-like canopy made of wood battens, which both provide shade and ensure an optimal angle for energy capture in the overhead photovoltaic panels.

The structure features detachable red cedar siding and is insulated with recycled sheep's wool. Two main living areas are connected via a heavily-glazed passageway. On one end, there's a bedroom, bathroom, and study. And on the other, a bunk room comes with a concealed day bed and storage space. For the bathroom, the students also designed a neat "drying cupboard" that pumps solar-heated hot water through a heat exchanger to dry towels and clothes. Detailed overview of features and efficiency figures can be found here. Below, a closer look inside:

· Students' Award-Winning Home Leaves Small Footprint [Houzz]
· First Light Studio [Official Website]
· All Student Projects posts [Curbed National]