The Virginia Tech Lumenhaus, an innovative, solar-powered house designed, constructed, and operated by students and faculty for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, will be exhibited in Times Square in New York City Jan. 27-31 and was be featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday, Jan. 28.
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 European Solar Decathlon in June of 2010. It was one of only two houses from the United States to be invited to participate in the European Solar Decathlon.
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, and from the College of Engineering, Denis Gracanin, associate professor of computer science.
Travis Rookstool of Buchanan was one of the lead College of Architecture and Urban Studies students on the project.