June 27, 2010 update: Virginia Tech’s Lumenhaus has won the overall competition at the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe. See images of its transport to Spain and the exhibition.
Jan. 29, 2010 update: Students and faculty from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering brought the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus to Duffy Square in Times Square, New York City on Jan. 26.
The house was on exhibition in Times Square from Jan. 27-28, and it was also featured live on ABC’s Good Morning America. See a video of its arrival in Times Square.
A team of faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students spanning four colleges — the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the College of Engineering, the Pamplin College of Business, and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences — has created a solar-powered house for the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.From Oct. 4 through Oct 17, 2009, the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus will be displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it will compete against 19 other universities to determine which team has designed and built the most efficient, operational solar-powered house to address evolving quality of life issues.
The major phases of the Solar Decathlon Competition include:
Virginia Tech is the only university in the commonwealth represented in the U. S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition. The teams, which were selected from universities in the United States, Canada, Spain, and Germany, were charged with creating houses that utilize energy-efficient technology and demonstrate that houses powered entirely by the sun do not have to sacrifice all the modern comforts and aesthetics homeowners are accustomed to.
Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus website includes a documentary, a video build-up that shows how the house is constructed from the inside out, detailed information about the technologies featured in the house, and a video experience of living in the house.
An exhibition about the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus was open at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va., June 12 – Aug 23, 2009. The exhibition showcased the house’s Eclipsis system.
The Eclipsis system is an advanced building façade comprising two layers: a metal shutter shade and a translucent insulating panel. The shutter shade slides along the north and south façades, providing protection from direct sunlight while simultaneously allowing for indirect, natural lighting, views to the exterior and privacy to those inside. The sliding insulating panel is a translucent polycarbonate panel filled with aerogel. Aerogel is a super lightweight, highly insulating translucent material that provides insulation equivalent to a typical sold wall during harsh weather conditions without blocking natural light.
The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus was on exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 5-27. The house was displayed on the museum’s west lawn while the team tested the systems and components.
Virginia Tech is one of only two U.S. universities invited to compete in the first Solar Decathlon Europe, which will take place in Madrid in June 2010. The Solar Decathlon Europe competition is modeled on the biennial U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Look through previous Spotlight stories