An innovative solar house that has been designed and constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon by a team of Virginia Tech faculty and students will be on exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 5-27.

Virginia Tech and the National Building Museum have a long history of collaboration. Through tours of the house and public programming, the museum and Virginia Tech aim to educate the public about the importance of sustainable design within the built environment. The Virginia Tech solar house, named LUMENHAUS, will be on display on the museum’s west lawn at the intersection of 5th and F Street, in Northwest Washington, while the team makes final improvements on the construction of the house.

At 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, to augment the exhibition, the museum will host a panel discussion about how cutting-edge sustainable technologies are conceived, developed, and ultimately brought to the market. Panelists include: Richard King, director, Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon; Paul Torcellini, senior researcher, National Renewable Energy Laboratories; Bill Sisson, director of sustainability, United Technologies Corporation; and Lance Hosey, architect and journalist (moderator).

For more information about the Virginia Tech solar house, visit the LUMENHAUS website. The website includes announcements about exhibitions; 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.

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.

Lead students on the project are Alden Haley of Glen Allen, Va., fifth-year architecture student; Corey McCalla of Rockville, Va., fifth-year architecture student; Casey Reeve of Shelter Island Heights, N.Y., fourth-year industrial design student, all in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, also Brian Zaremski of Manasas, Va., electrical engineering graduate student; and Ji-Sun Kim of Blacksburg, a doctoral computer science student, both in the College of Engineering.

About the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The teams, which have been selected from universities in the United States, Canada, Madrid, and Germany, are charged with uniquely designing, building, and operating energy efficient, fully solar-powered homes for this unique competition. Each home will utilize energy efficient technology and demonstrate that homes powered entirely by the sun do not have to sacrifice all the modern comforts and aesthetics Americans are accustomed to.

The Solar Decathlon gets its name from the 10 specific areas of competition: architecture, engineering, market viability, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, lighting, energy balance, and net metering. Each house must produce enough electricity and hot water to perform all the functions of a home, from powering lights and electronics to cooking and washing clothes and dishes. The team that finishes the week of competition with the most points wins.

In the 2005 competition, the Virginia Tech team won first place for best architecture, liveability, daylighting, and electric lighting, and fourth overall. The 2005 house also won the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) best house award.

About Solar Decathlon Europe

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.

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