Solar Decathlon Champ: Cool House, Cool Video
Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus shows the way we'll live in the future.
August 27, 2010 by Steven Castle

We featured the Lumenhaus, a project built by Virginia Tech students as part of the 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., in our March issue and online last November, but we just couldn’t resist pointing to it again.

The experimental house recently won the Solar Decathlon Europe competition in Madrid, Spain.

But what we love about it are:

  • Movable polycarbonate panels filled with aero gel insulation that automatically slide across the windows at different times during the day to effectively shade and insulate the interior space.
  • A 9-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system with silicon wafers mounted between transparent glass plates, so some sunlight passes through the panel, reflects off of the roof, and bounces to the back side of the wafer to generate additional electricity.
  • A weather station that relays information to a home control system, which decides what systems to deploy to optimize energy use and maximize comfort.
  • The house automatically locks up, powers down and hibernates in an energy-saving state when you drive away.
  • Oh, and there’s iPhone control as well. Sweet.

Just how cool is Lumenhaus? The structure has also been on display in Times Square in New York and the National Building Museum in Washington.

You can also see one of the coolest videos, which happens to explain Lumenhaus technology.

Go to the end of the video to play with the smart phone shading and lighting controls. Click here to view additional photos of the Lumenhaus.

 

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

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