LUMENHAUS arrives in Madrid to compete in Solar Decathlon Europe

The Virginia Tech LUMENHAUS has arrived in Madrid, Spain to compete in the Solar Decathlon Europe. The Lumenhaus departed from Blacksburg on April 27th, traveling to Baltimore, Md., where it was loaded aboard a ship bound for Europe. The house was transferred to another ship to reach Bilbao, Spain and then traveled overland to Madrid.

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Seventeen university teams from seven countries on three continents are participating in the Solar Decathlon Europe competition in Madrid, Spain. Each team has constructed a sustainable, self-sufficient, and comfortable house, powered exclusively by solar energy. The Lumenhaus is one of only two houses from the United States to be invited to participate in the competition.

The Solar Decathlon Europe is organized by the Ministry of Housing of Spain, with the collaboration of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the support of the U.S. Department of Energy. The main sponsor of the Solar Decathlon Europe is Saint-Gobain, along with collaboration from Schneider Electric, Rockwool, Kömmerling, and FCC.

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.

Primary faculty advisors for the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus project from the School of Architecture + Design are Joseph Wheeler, associate professor of architecture, Robert Dunay, the T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture, and Robert Schubert, Associate Dean for Research.

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