Virginia Tech has been selected to compete in the Solar Decathlon Middle East, to be held in Dubai, U.A.E. in 2018, one of 22 universities chosen through a worldwide competitive process and the only U.S.-based team.
LumenHAUS, Virginia Tech’s entry in the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe, won the international competition six years ago, and the project has since been exhibited extensively, earning the first American Institute of Architects Honor Award ever presented to a university team.
Virginia Tech’s latest solar decathlon team will be made up of students and researchers from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS), the College of Engineering, the College of Science, and the Pamplin College of Business. Over the next two years, the interdisciplinary faculty-student team will design and build FutureHAUS Dubai, a high-performance, net-zero energy home that meets the complex space and climate needs of the Middle Eastern region.
Michael Folta, a second-year architecture student, Dennis Grove, Business Development Manager for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), and Prof. Robert Schubert, CAUS Assoc. Dean for Research, represented Virginia Tech at the Solar Decathlon Middle East kickoff in Dubai on Oct. 5th. Folta accepted the challenge on Virginia Tech’s behalf on stage at the World Green Economy Summit at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Lead faculty members for the project will include Joseph Wheeler, professor of architecture and co-director of the Center for Design Research, and Denis Gracanin, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. Wheeler says that FutureHAUS Dubai will be a model of intelligent infrastructure, combining the energy efficiency and sustainability of LumenHAUS with the responsive design, prefabrication, and integrated technology of Virginia Tech’s more recent innovation, FutureHAUS.
The final phase of the competition takes place in Dubai in Oct./Nov. 2018, where teams will demonstrate their homes and will be judged in 10 categories. The winning team will blend design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market appeal, and energy and water efficiency.