The Virginia Tech solar house will be open for tours on Sunday, Aug. 30 from 4-6 p.m. when faculty and students will be on hand to answer questions and describe the final stages of construction.

The house is currently located the parking lot of the Blacksburg Square shopping center on South Main Street in Blacksburg. The solar house, which the team designed and is working to finish constructing, will compete in U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in October.

The Virginia Tech solar house, which is named LUMENHAUS, epitomizes a “whole building design” construction approach, in which all the home’s components and systems have been designed to work together to maximize user comfort with environmental protection. LUMENHAUS uses technology optimally to make the owner’s life simpler, more energy efficient and less expensive.

On the cutting edge of responsive architecture, LUMENHAUS can operate completely self sufficiently, responding to environmental changes automatically to balance energy efficiency with user comfort. It is a zero-energy home that is completely powered by the sun. Sustainable features of the house include the use of passive energy systems, radiant heating and building materials that are from renewable and/or recyclable sources.

On Sept. 1, the house will move to the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., where it will be on exhibition until it relocates to the National Mall in early October for the Solar Decathlon. In June 2010, the house will be shipped to Madrid, Spain, where it will be one of only two United States entries invited to the Solar Decathlon Europe competition.

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