Meet the Team

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Staff Members



About Our Team

Team UOW is a dynamic collaboration between a number of faculties from the University of Wollongong, the local technical college TAFE Illawarra, and local industries. This diverse mix of groups will ensure Team UOW has excellent technical and creative solutions, while allowing the project to be managed and marketed effectively. The collaboration with TAFE will ensure all of the students gain hands on experience and ensure 'the theory meets the practice'.

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Get to Know Us

There are over 30 members of Team UOW Australia, so it's hard to sum it all up! Why not get acquainted with some of our team members...


Lloyd Niccol

Lloyd Niccol

Team Position: Project Manager

Faculty: Engineering and Commerce

Area of Study: Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) 

Previous Work Experience: Before joining the solar decathlon team I spent over 5 years as a cadet engineer with BlueScope Steel at the Port Kembla Steel Works. I have worked in a number of roles including fitting/machining, maintenance planning, reliability engineering and design engineering. I have worked in many departments including Steelmaking, Plate Mill, CPCM and Crane Engineering.

Why Solar Decathlon: I have a very strong passion for the environment and sustainable design and I believe this competition is a great way to make a real environmental difference and educate our friends, families and communities. This project will also help me hone my knowledge on renewable energy, sustainable housing, and practical design and the opportunity to join such a diverse and exciting team was too much to resist. 

Hobbies/Interests: I have a keen interest in rock climbing, snow sports, cycling and kayaking. I spend much of my spare time in the bush or on the water.


Scott Redwood

Scott Redwood

Team Position: Design and Construction Manager

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Masters by Research

Previous Work Experience: Before returning to the University for further studies and joining the solar decathlon team, I spent several years working with Brookfield Multiplex in varied capacities across four of their projects which ranged from hospitals, casinos, data centres, and retail. I have also completed a Master of Project Management during this time to complement my professional experience in construction management.

Why Solar Decathlon: My true passion is engineering and construction management. I feel that the Solar Decathlon will allow the opportunity for me to extend my skill set into sustainability and high performance buildings. But continually focused on the practically and add value of detail and solutions.

Hobbies/Interests: My hobbies and interest vary from laying around at the beach, to camping, to photography to travel and everything in-between!

Visit Scott's Website (external link)



Michael Whitehouse

Michael Whitehouse

Team Position: Services Manager

Faculty: Informatics

Area of Study: Masters by Research

Previous Work Experience: Before joining the solar decathlon team, I spent 4 years working with Lend Lease in Sydney as a mechanical engineer on a variety of projects across the commercial, retail and residential sectors.  I have also had experience building my own homes and property investment.

Why Solar Decathlon: I have an interest in learning about sustainable houses, but focus on the practical and financially beneficial solutions.  I have a passion for residential design and construction and want to learn more through this project.

Hobbies/Interests: I have a keen interest in tennis, surfing, cycling, swimming, underwater treasure hunting and property investment and development.




Jack Breen

Jack Breen

Team Position: Marketing and Communications Manager

Faculty: Commerce

Area of Study: Bachelor of Commerce - Marketing and Public Relations (Graduated Dec 2012)

Previous Work Experience: Before joining the Solar Decathlon team, I spent 6 months in industry as a Marketing and PR intern at Gazal Apparel in Sydney. Throughout my degree I have also spent time working on other student projects including being the Advertising Manager for UOW’s ‘Paper, Rock’ magazine. I have spent two years working in administration at the University.

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon is the largest student run project the University of Wollongong has entered and with Team UOW being the first Australian team to make it to a Solar Decathlon final – this is obviously a huge deal for UOW and Australia. With US competitions achieving over 920 million media mentions, and the sheer scale of the planned event in China, I realised that this was an opportunity to gain experience and showcase my skills that I could not miss.

Hobbies/Interests: I have a keen interest in technology, particularly in personal computing and web design, and enjoy travelling around Australia (and now the world!).

Visit Jack's website (external link)



Emily Ryan

Emily Ryan

Team Position: Sponsorship, Marketing and Communications Team and Logistics 

Faculty: Commerce

Area of Study: Supply Chain Management 

Previous Work Experience:  Various casual jobs within the hospitality industry. 

Why Solar Decathlon: To have the chance to help build and transport such an innovative house to China is amazing in terms of what I'm studying and in general. It's also a great way to meet people from other faculties and hopefully travel to China!

Hobbies/Interests: I love travelling, reading and hanging out with friends. 






Fiona Hudson

Fiona Hudson

Team Position: Creative Team Coordinator

Faculty: Creative Arts and Communications

Area of Study: Graphic Design

Previous Work Experience: Marketing Intern at the Co-op Sydney Office, Publication Designer for the Migration Heritage Project Wollongong and Junior Designer at Future Studio.

Why Solar Decathlon: This project was an excellent opportunity to improve my design and communication skills, make new friends and help improve sustainable practices in the Illawarra region.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy drinking cappuccinos, drawing letterform and listening to The Beatles.

Visit Fi's website (external link)



Yi (Eva) Guo

Yi (Eva) Guo

Team Position: Service Team

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering

Previous Work Experience: I have worked in areas such as heat transfer calculation and the design of HVAC systems. 

Why Solar Decathlon: I thought this would be a great opportunity to show my support of energy saving devices, sustainable building and eco-friendly air conditioning. It is also a good chance for me to apply my acquired knowledge in a practical situation. 

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy watching movies and cooking. 





Rui Yan

Rui Yan

Team Position: Energy Modelling and Innovation Manager

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: PhD
Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering (Graduated Dec 2012)

Previous Work Experience: Worked in BlueScope research department for 3 months during summer.

Reason for joining Solar Decathlon: As I have already worked in the sustainable building area for more than a year before I joined the Solar Decathlon team, I thought this could be a great project which can help me to extend my knowledge and horizons in the sustainable buildings field. Though this project, I also gained value practical skills and enhanced my team work and communication skills which are often hard to get before having a job.

Hobbies/Interests: Photography, badminton and outdoor sports are what I spend most of my spare time doing.



Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

Team Position: Project Manager - Innovation Campus Event

Faculty: Commerce/HBS

Area of Study: Logistics, Physiology and Exercise Science

Previous Work Experience: Set Builder and Sign writers assistant at Thomas Creative, Youth Internship at Figtree Anglican Church, Orientation and Enrolment assistant at UOW, Fire Fighter at Fire & Rescue NSW.

Why Solar Decathlon: Most of our houses have insulation qualities about on par with a cardboard box. As a result, we need houses designed for our country and ready for our future. This project is awesome.

Hobbies/Interests: Surfing, listening to Tchaikovsky, Hiking, Camping, Praying and Road and MTB cycling.




Chelsea Cook

Chelsea Cook

Team Position: Graphic Designer

Faculty: Creative Arts 

Area of Study: Graphic Design

Previous Work Experience: Social media and marketing and graphic design at Mambo Australia

Why Solar Decathlon: To be involved in such an innovative, creative and student driven team like Team UOW is a once in a lifetime chance, how could I say no?! I also get to jump on site and teach the boys a thing or two about how to handle a hammer and a drill!

Hobbies/Interests: I like singing, playing guitar, typography, drawing, painting, blogging and travelling. I also enjoy spectating and participating in sport.




Jason Hamilton

Jason Hamilton

Team Position: Sponsorship Team

Faculty: Commerce

Area of Study: Double Major: Management & Marketing

Why Solar Decathlon: It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put my degree to practical use and be part of a project that is changing the way we see the construction industry in Australia. The project will bring sustainable building practices to the attention of all Australians and also has great potential to influence the construction industry in Australia. The opportunity to transfer what I have learnt so far at University into practical use is also fantastic as I can relate the theory to actual examples.  

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy watching all types of sport, hanging out with friends and I love to play tennis. I also enjoy gardening and keeping my eye on the stock market.  




Matthew Fuller

Matthew Fuller

Team Position: TAFE Design Team - Drafting, Windows, Doors, Landscaping & BASIX

Faculty: TAFE

Area of Study: Architectural Technology

Why Solar Decathlon: With goals of becoming a registered architect by continuing my studies at university, I think sustainable design is a key area that architects will need to explore in continually increasing depths. This is why I believe that currently the most pressing issue of the built environment is how it affects not only its inhabitants but its impact on the environment. With intelligent design, cutting edge technology and the right attitude I believe we can make buildings that have a positive impact on both the environment and its occupants. I believe the Solar Decathlon is a great project to be involved with and an even greater opportunity to learn about sustainable design and what the future of architecture and design holds.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy water sports such as wakeboarding and jet skiing, also snowboarding, travelling and keeping fit are all part of my favourite pastimes.



David Everitt

David Everitt

Team Position: Student Governance Committee Representative

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Water Engineering

Why Solar Decathlon: Innovation, creation and competition...What more could you want?

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing guitar, cricket, cooking, gardening and surfing. I also like brewing beer and making T-shirts and my favourite TV show is the Simpsons.






Nalin Piyaratna  

Nalin Piyaratna

Team Position: Electrical Services Engineer

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Electrical and Power Engineering

Previous Work Experience: As a vacation student I worked at BlueScope Steel in the Coke making department. 

Why Solar Decathlon: The idea of utilising renewable energy as a way of minimising our use of natural resources like coal, is a great idea. Aside from learning a thing or two about construction, this project has been a great way to meet other students, academics and industry professionals who are enthusiastic about sustainable design. 

Hobbies/Interests: Badminton, jogging, cooking, reading tech journals and designing electronic circuits/gadgets. 




Darren Koppel

Darren Koppel

Team Position: Landscape

Faculty: Science Health and Medicine

Area of Study: Environmental Chemistry

Previous Work Experience: CSIRO Land and Water - Environmental Contaminant program.

Why Solar Decathlon: Being a part of Team UOW gave me an opportunity to expand my interest in environmental sustainability through the development of the innovative Illawarra Flame house. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to be a part of this multidisciplinary approach to achieve a practical solution to one of the most confronting issues the world faces. 

Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, travelling, playing piano, photography, community service/engagement, 'hobby' chemistry and tea - all the tea. 




Chris Nicholson

Chris NicholsonTeam Position: Landscape

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Environmental Engineering

Previous Work Experience: I have worked on a Dairy farm and an Oyster farm.

Why Solar Decathlon: The solar decathlon gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience the design and construction processes of an engineering project. It also allowed me to put my imagination to use in designing some of the landscape features. The project itself represents a real trend in the building industry towards sustainability and efficient, green building design. To be at the forefront of this trend as part of team UOW is one of the best things an environmental engineering student such as myself could ask for.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy surfing, travelling and building things



Christopher Pearson

Chris PearsonTeam Position: Construction 

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil Engineering

Previous Work Experience: Customer service and construction in a factory. 

Why Solar Decathlon: I initially became involved in the Solar Decathlon as part of a summer vacation scholarship, working on quantity surveying and construction and not quite knowing what I was getting into. I have not regretted being on board since as the project has offered me so much.  Through the project I have gained valuable insight into theoretical and construction related engineering roles, and have become attached to the principles of sustainable design and environmental awareness and the significance they will play in the near future.  The project also brought a great bunch of people together, without which the success of the house would not have been possible.

Hobbies/Interests: Soccer, riding, being active, and helping Gav and Terry deal with the overburdening workload of promoting the “Vince” label.



Gavin Treseder

Gavin TresederTeam Position: Construction 

Faculty: Engineering/Informatics

Area of Study: Mechanical Engineering/Software Engineering

Previous Work Experience: BI-LO - Where the brands you know cost less, Coles - Save Every Day, PASS leader at the University of Wollongong and the Australian Defence Force.   

Why Solar Decathlon: I was offered a summer vacation scholarship that provided me with a 10-week crash course into the Solar Decathlon project, during which I became involved in many areas. After this period finished I continued with the team as I wanted to see the project through to the end. As deadlines approached, it has been about overcoming every challenge thrown our way with a great bunch of mates. 

Hobbies/Interests: Motorbikes, going on all manner of adventures and promoting/managing the emerging fashion label, "Vince". 



Vincent Tang

Vincent Tang

Team Position: Construction

Faculty: Engineering and Commerce

Area of Study: Civil and Finance

Previous Work Experience: I have done some work as an Assistant Surveyor and an Assistant Architect's Draftsman. I am also the ambassador of "Vince's" Fashion label. 

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon is a fantastic way to get practical experience working on something that I actually care about. It's refreshing to work with a group of students who are excited about making a positive impact on the environment and our community. In the last few years it seems like environmental issues have been hijacked by a cynical mainstream media and opportunistic politicians, and I enjoy contributing to the discourse in a positive, constructive way.

Hobbies/Interests: Writing (mostly opinion), reading (contemporary literature, fantasy, autobios), squash, basketball and listening to music. 



James Maguire

James Maguire

Team Position: Construction and Logistics

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil

Previous Work Experience: 

Why Solar Decathlon: I have a large interest in sustainable engineering projects and saw the Solar Decathlon as an opportunity to obtain some valuable practical experience during the course of my degree. I’ve learnt more than I could have imagined working with a bunch of great people in Team UOW and can’t wait to get to China to show off our house.

Hobbies/Interests: I have a strong interest in playing Football and Ultimate Frisbee. I also enjoy rock climbing, hiking, camping, surfing and a bit of reading.




Paul 'Terry' McKenzie

Paul McKenzieTeam Position: Exterior Structural Design and Construction

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil Engineering

Previous Work Experience: Summer Research Projects with the University of Wollongong, sales assistant at a Bottle Shop, Service Station and Camping Store.

Why Solar Decathlon: I initially applied for the Solar Decathlon as a Summer Research student admittedly having little idea as to what the project was actually about. Since then I could not think of a better project to be involved in. The Solar Decathlon has allowed me to experience so many practical applications of engineering in both design and construction providing me with skills and knowledge that will greatly benefit me in the future. At the same time the project is aimed at sustainability and environmental awareness which are highly important to me. Plus, I get to share the experience with an awesome group of people. Plus a trip to China! Yew!

Hobbies/Interests: Surfing, playing netball, skating, being active and spending time at the beach. 



Ryan Dobbs


Ryan Dobbs

Team Position: Architectural Draftsman

Faculty: Former TAFE student

Area of Study: Architecture technology

Why Solar Decathlon: To have the opportunity to be a part of a sustainable design project, which is the future of design, has been really rewarding.

Hobbies/Interests: Surfing, architecture and travelling.  





Charlie Prior

Team Position: Construction

Charlie Prior

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil/Environmental

Previous Work Experience: Within the engineering industry, I've completed vacation work with a steel fabricating company in Sydney as an estimator and as a labourer with a civil engineering company in Nowra.

Why Solar Decathlon: When I was deciding on a thesis topic, I went with the Solar Decathlon thinking a real project would be far more motivating and interesting than completing a thesis that would spend its life on a dusty book shelf, or as some 'light reading' in the toilets of a big engineering company. However, since getting involved as part of my studies, I have become completely wrapped in the project. The chance to help build something full of so many innovative ideas, with some incredibly creative and smart people, has been unreal. Add in the fact that this project is allowing Australian students to genuinely pave the way in environmentally friendly buildings, plus the opportunity to travel to China, has made this a recipe for greatness.

Hobbies/Interests: I love being active and am frequently spotted climbing Mt Keira, making a mess of myself in the surf or singing out of key with an acoustic guitar. 



Lachlan Roder

Lachlan RoderTeam Position: Construction

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil/Environmental

Previous Work Experience: I have completed 6 months work placement with an Engineering Consultancy Firm during which time I worked primarily with Construction Service/Management to ensure that the clients and contractors needs were met.  I am also a serving member of the Australian Defence Force.

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon provides the opportunity to work as a member of a student run project team and to gain practical experience in an area of study I am passionate about; Sustainable Design. Our concept also has the potential to change the face of the Australian housing industry entirely.  How could I say no to that!

Hobbies/Interests: I have a passion for architecture and design, as well as sports, exercise and the great outdoors.  Not a day goes by where one or both are not a part of my life. 


Fiona Sparks

Fiona Sparks

Team Position: Marketing and Communications Intern

Faculty: Commerce/Law

Area of Study: Management

Previous Work Experience:  I am currently working for the Illawarra Disability Trust within the Sport and Recreation Department. I also waitress at Figtree Gourmet Kitchen and I am a tutor within the Graduates of League Program run by the University of Wollongong.

Why Solar Decathlon: When I heard about the opportunity to become an intern with Team UOW,  I was really excited about the whole idea of the Solar Decathlon as well as working with such a diverse group of other students. It was also a great chance for me to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. 

Hobbies/Interests: I love keeping fit and playing sport, especially basketball. I also enjoy cooking and travelling and appreciate a good cup of coffee. 



Teiya Thornberry

Teiya Thornberry

Team Position: Events Intern 

Faculty: Commerce and TAFE

Area of Study: Event Management 

Why Solar Decathlon: I saw the Events Internship that Team UOW offered for the Solar Decathlon as an opportunity for me to develop my skills in the Events industry as well as be a part of a project that could potentially make an impact on the sustainability of a vast majority of Australian housing in the future.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy water-skiing, playing sport, camping and hanging out with family and friends.





Eli Taylor

Team Position: Entertainment Contest

Faculty: Science

Area of Study: Human Geography

Eli Taylor

Previous Work Experience: Research Assistant at the University of Wollongong, Internship at the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership in Cairns, Indigenous and non-Indigenous workshops in the Northern Territory and I am also a Circus and Acrobatics tutor.  

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon challenge was incredibly forward thinking, and appeared to be the perfect opportunity to advance public engagement in living ‘sustainably’. Studying Human Geography has illustrated the complexity and challenges associated with engaging individuals in ‘doing sustainability’. The Illawarra Flame for me is a very real and tangible example of how to connect the dots between everyday practices and the concept and actual ‘act’ of sustainability. The Illawarra Flame entry was also an opportunity to engage with Australia’s incredibly rich Indigenous heritage both past and present. This is reflected in team UOW’s entry: both in traditional and contemporary art pieces, acknowledgement of specific Indigenous cultural practices and native Australian ingredients, flora and fauna.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy gymnastics, acrobatics, rock climbing and camping. I am interested in Indigenous affairs, Indigenous land management, climate change and Youth Arts. 



Laia Ledo

Laia LedoTeam Position: Electrical Team

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Improving thermal comfort and reducing energy consumption in University buildings. 

Previous Work Experience:  Previously, I did my Masters by research where I explored the effects of diffused augmented micro wind turbine features on the device performance via computational fluid dynamics. 

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon is a unique opportunity for students to be involved in a real hands-on project! In addition, the competition concept promotes and raises awareness about sustainability across the community and in particular, with students. 

Hobbies/Interests: I love karate, bike riding (with pancakes and coffee at the finish line), reading and swimming in the Mediterranean.



Brooke Henderson

Brooke HendersonTeam Position: Construction

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Civil

Why Solar Decathlon: I have a keen interest in sustainable infrastructure. I saw the Solar Decathlon as a great opportunity to learn more about sustainable design of housing and put theory into practice. This project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to network and work with people who share the same interests and passions from all over the world.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing and watching all sports. 





Nathanael Charlesworth

Nathanael CharlesworthTeam Position: Chef 

Faculty: TAFE

Area of Study: Commercial Cookery

Previous Work Experience: A la carte cookery and work within the building industry.

Why Solar Decathlon: It is an ethical and challenging project. The opportunity to represent Australia internationally and promote our culture is very exciting. 

Hobbies/Interests: I have a keen interest in motorcycles and sailing and I enjoy travelling. 





Massimo Fiorentini

Massimo FiorentiniTeam Position: Electrical Team Coordinator

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: PhD, Mechanical Engineering

Previous Work Experience:  Before joining the Solar Decathlon team I worked as a Product Manager at ABB, since February 2011. In this role my responsibilities were defining the product strategy, undertake profitability and market analysis, and brief and train the sales force.

Why Solar Decathlon: The cost of energy is increasing every year and the trend of energy consumption per person is higher than ever before. As such, sustainability in the energy sector has become one of the most important international strategic issues. Being involved in this project will allow me to participate in the design, development and construction of a cutting-edge residential building, with the possibility to explore all the different areas involved in this project.

Hobbies/Interests: I have a strong interest in tennis, but I like to play most sports.


Evan Huang

Evan HuangTeam Position: Beihang Exchange Student

Faculty: Management School (Beihang University)

Area of Study: Master of Management (Finance) and Bachelor of Automation

Previous Work Experience: I have a years working experience as an assistant engineer in one of China’s main steel companies after graduating from my Bachelor. I then transferred into a shipbroker in a famous German shipping company, working there for more than three years. I think I gained a lot from that job. Firstly it is a very competitive work which means you should be very professional, get a good command and analyse on market information and expectations. Now I am working in international trade sector and studying management school, where I will graduate next year.

Why Solar Decathlon: It is a great opportunity to broaden my horizon and I am really happy to work with Team UOW.

Hobbies/Interests: Clubbing, swimming, badminton and music.



Dan Meng

Dan Meng

Team Postion: Beihang Exchange Student

Faculty: Civil Engineering (Beihang University)

Area of Study: Seismic analysis of structures

Why Solar Decathlon: Solar Decathlon combines architecture and new energy. The competition will be of vital significance to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Moreover, it is a good opportunity to put what I’ve learned into practice.

Hobbies/Interests: I like photography, listening to music, travelling and trying local foods.





Daniel Daly

Daniel DalyTeam Position: Design Team

Faculty: Engineering

Area of Study: Retrofitting Commercial Buildings for Energy Efficiency

Previous Work Experience: Honours thesis in Minimising Energy Consumption from Educational Buildings.

Why Solar Decathlon: It’s a great project that enables students from a range of backgrounds to engage with sustainable building design and gain an appreciation for a broad range of sustainability principles.Hobbies/Interests: Surfing, music and coffee.  





Ziyun Su

Ziyun SuTeam Position:
 Beihang Exchange Student

Faculty: School of Energy and Power Engineering  (Beihang University)

Area of Study: Utilization of Solar Photovoltaic and Thermal

Why Solar Decathlon: It is a good chance to practice what I have learned from theory - I couldn’t miss it.

Hobbies/Interests: I like outdoor activities, to breathe in the fresh air! Now I am a freshman in photography, but taking perfect photos to record the beautiful landscape and the people I meet is what I pursue. Welcome to exchange with me!




Nicholas Underhill

Team Position: Media and Communications 

Faculty: Arts

Area of Study: Journalism and French Language

Previous Work Experience:  As well as working casually as a reporter for ABC Radio and making some pretty delicious coffee on campus, I have volunteered for a range of not-for-profits. Most recently I helped organise the 'Celebrity Swim to Papua New Guinea' at Bondi Icebergs for Rugby League Against Violence, an organisation that's using Rugby League as a vehicle to reduce domestic and sexual violence against women in PNG.

Why Solar Decathlon: The Solar Decathlon is a fantastic way to get practical experience working on something that I actually care about. It's refreshing to work with a group of students who are excited about making a positive impact on the environment and our community. In the last few years it seems like environmental issues have been hijacked by a cynical mainstream media and opportunistic politicians, and I enjoy contributing to the discourse in a positive, constructive way.

Hobbies/Interests: Writing (mostly opinion), reading (contemporary literature, fantasy, autobios), squash, basketball and listening to music. 


Staff Team Members

Paul Cooper 

Paul Cooper

Team Position: Faculty Advisor

Faculty/Division: Director, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)

Area of Work: Sustainable buildings research, energy modelling, retrofitting, natural ventilation systems, renewable energy, etc.

Previous Work/Study: Previously Head of the UOW School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic Engineering.

Why Solar Decathlon: For many years I have been inspired by the entries to previous Solar Decathlon competitions. With the genesis of the UOW Sustainable Buildings Research Centre in 2010 I believed that we could mount a competitive entry to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competitions. I was one of a key group of academics and students that formulated our entries to both the China and US Solar Decathlon competitions in 2013. We were accepted into both competitions and chose to compete in SD China 2013 because China is such an important country for both Australia and our University.

Hobbies/Interests: Bushwalking, mountaineering and playing jazz piano.



Marty Burgess

Marty Burgess


Team Position: TAFE Management Representative 

Faculty/Division: TAFE Illawarra Trades and Technology

Area of Work: Management

Previous Work Experience/Study: Within TAFE I have held various college and faculty director positions. 

Why Solar Decathlon: Because it is visionary, practical, doable and teachable, not to mention the region needs it!

Hobbies/Interests: Renovating our miners cottage.




Alexandra McPaul

Team Position: Interior Designer

Faculty/Division: Bachelor of Design (Honors), UNSW

Alex McPaulPrevious Work Experience: Spending some time in graphic design led me to pursue interior design, combining my fields of interest. I worked for a national company designing residential interiors for aged care, then worked in business development for a recruitment company. I then moved to UOW Facilities Management Division as a Space & Property Officer, working on projects including the University’s first green star building. This sparked my interest in sustainability and led me to study Carbon Management. I currently work full-time in the Environmental & Sustainability Initiatives Unit, heading up ‘sustainAbility’ UOW’s Green Office program. 

Why Solar Decathlon: As UOW doesn’t have a design or architecture school there was a gap in the skills for the team which I was asked to assist in filling. I have loved creating interiors for the house which are uniquely Australian such as the colours, patterns and textures. I was passionate about showcasing Australian 

designers/manufacturers and combining these with up-cycled 1960s furniture items (from the era of the original house), giving something old a new life.

Hobbies/Interests: In my spare time, I love getting physical outdoors, whether it be bike-riding, walking, running or swimming at the beach. I also enjoy gardening, knitting and cooking!



Tim McCarthy 

Tim McCarthy


Team Position: Deputy Faculty Advisor

Faculty/Division: Professor, Engineering and Information Sciences

Area of Work: Structural engineering and construction

Previous Work: Professor of Structural Engineering

Why Solar Decathlon: To provide the most exciting and authentic learning experience about sustainability for our students. Also, the Solar Decathlon is a great opportunity to foster inter-cultural competency in our students. 

Hobbies/Interests: Playing chess, writing and riding my electric bike.





Zhenjun Ma

Zhenjun MaTeam Position: Academic Support and International Liaison

Faculty/Division: Lecturer, Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)

Area of Work: Energy efficiency in the built environment

Previous Work/Study: I am currently a Lecturer at the University of Wollongong. I received my PhD and was a Research Fellow at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

Why Solar Decathlon: It provided me with a very good opportunity to demonstrate how to apply low energy and renewable energy technologies in buildings to achieve building energy efficiency and sustainability. 

Hobbies/Interests: Sports and reading.


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