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08 / July / 2019
Desert Rose, a house that includes materials donated by Lysaght, has taken out second place in the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, a competition that challenges students from around the world to design and construct solar powered houses that are sustainable, stylish and cost effective.

Though officially a University of Wollongong (UOW) entry, with students from TAFE Illawarra also contributing to the project, it was a genuine team effort.

And, far from being the exclusive domain of the architectural, building, engineering and design departments, students from various other disciplines also contributed to Desert Rose’s success.

“When I arrived at the initial information evening, I was surprised to see that Marketing students had created all the flyers, banners and so forth; and that Hospitality students were handling catering for the evening,” said Richard Barnes, Account Manager - Commercial & Industrial at Lysaght.

“That was the first thing that impressed me about the effort. The fact that it drew in students from so many fields and gave them hands-on experience in a real-life project.”

Lysaght’s involvement in the project centred around the donation of LYSAGHT® steel building products. These included 0.55mm Custom Flashing, Cold Formed sections (CFLC06425Z6), and Handy Cleats.

In addition, there were LYSAGHT® Zed & Cee Purlins, which are ideal as eave purlins or where compact sections are required for detailing; and LYSAGHT® TOPSPAN® 22 and LYSAGHT® TOPSPAN® 40, which are ideal for use as ceiling battens for internal fixing of ceiling or wall liner.

“On top of that, I provided technical assistance as the students needed it. I helped them out with things like hole punching, questions about maximum cut lengths, and so forth – topics that they may have covered in their studies but probably hadn’t yet encountered in the real world,” said Richard.

“I was also able to provide them with all the technical information we keep here at Lysaght – the information, brochures and so forth that we supply to clients as a matter of course. The quality of this material is one of our real strengths, so that was also a great help to them.”

Asked how he found the experience, Richard couldn’t speak highly enough about what he had seen.

“The students’ enthusiasm was quite amazing. I was getting emails at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock in the morning, asking my opinions. Then when I attended their information evenings, there were always several people there to greet me. They’d introduce themselves, show me how our products were being incorporated, explain how they’d come up with the ideas, and so forth,” he said.

As he pointed out, practical projects like this prepare students in ways that books, study and exams simply can’t.

“Just getting the opportunity to talk to a supplier – and realising the importance of being prepared and having all the information at hand before you make that call is invaluable,” he said.

Desert Rose focussed on more than sustainability. Acknowledging the fact that, around the world, higher life expectancy combined with declining fertility rates are contributing to aging populations, it was designed to cater for the needs of residents with access requirements and so forth.

“Congratulations to Team UOW for their second placing. From what I saw of their efforts, it was thoroughly deserved,” said Richard.

As Australia’s leading supplier of steel building products, Lysaght was delighted to have been involved in a project of this type. Not only was it a great opportunity to give back to the community of Wollongong, but also a chance to nurture the industrial leaders of tomorrow.