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Virginia Tech Solar House journeys to Madrid, Spain, for Solar Decathlon Europe


   

The house uses a facade called the Eclipsis system. It consists of two layers: a metal shutter shade and a translucent insulating panel. The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus uses a facade called the Eclipsis system. It consists of 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.


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 20, 2010 – The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus, an innovative, solar-powered house designed, constructed, and operated by Virginia Tech students and faculty, will be launched at a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 23.

This weekend, the solar house begins its journey to Madrid, Spain, where it will compete in the Solar Decathlon Europe.

After the ceremony, the house will be prepared for shipping and will depart Blacksburg on Sunday, April 25. From Blacksburg, the house will travel to Baltimore, Md., where it will be loaded onto a ship bound for Hamburg, Germany. In Hamburg, the house will change ships and continue to Bilbao, Spain. Then, the house will travel by land to Madrid on June 7. The team will have some time to prepare the house for the competition, which begins June 18.

The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus is a modern pavilion. Where most energy-conscious houses are closed with strategic openings to resist heat transfer, Lumenhaus has open, flowing spaces linking occupants to each other within the house and to nature outside. Inspired by the Farnsworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe, the north and south walls are all glass, maximizing the exposure to bright, natural daylight. The fully automated Eclipsis System, comprising independent sliding layers, permits a revolutionary design in a solar-powered house, while filtering light in flowing patterns throughout the day.

The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus employs a “whole building design” construction approach, in which all the home’s components and systems are designed to work together to maximize user comfort with environmental protection. Lumenhaus can operate completely self sufficiently, responding to environmental changes automatically to balance energy efficiency with user comfort. Sustainable features include the use of passive energy systems, radiant heating and building materials that are from renewable and/or recyclable sources.

The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus will travel to Madrid, Spain, to compete in the first Solar Decathlon Europe in June of 2010. It was one of only two houses from the United States to be invited to participate in the competition.

Lead faculty on the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus project are College of Architecture and Urban Studies faculty Joseph Wheeler, associate professor of architecture; Robert Dunay, the T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture; Andrew McCoy, assistant professor of building construction; and Robert Schubert, associate dean of research; Ben Johnson, professor of landscape architecture; and from the College of Engineering, Denis Gracanin, associate professor of computer science.

Lead College of Architecture and Urban Studies students on the project are David Clark of Fredericksburg, Va., graduate architecture student; Alden Haley of Glen Allen, Va., fifth-year architecture student; Corey McCalla of Rockville, Va., fifth-year architecture student; Chris Taylor of Aldie, Va., fifth-year architecture student; Christian Truitt of Bloomfield, N.J., fifth-year architecture student; Osamu Osawa of Stamford, Conn., fifth-year architecture student; and Travis Rookstool of Buchanan, Va., graduate architecture student; and Joseph Paredes of Dumfries, Va., a fifth-year landscape architecture student. Lead College of Engineering student Brian Zaremski of Manassas, Va., is a graduate student in the Center for Power and Energy.