This Hokie Team is in the Top Ten, Too

Virginia Tech has a great football program this year, but the team that gets me stoked is the squad of architectural-engineering students competing in both the U.S. and European Energy Solar Decathlons, the only U.S. team to do so. The challenge: to build the most attractive energy-efficient house. The solution: The Lumenhaus.

I don’t know whether or not there’s a mass market for the 800-square-foot house, even one as cool as this — Americans love their square footage like they love their cars — but many of the concepts described in the video are bound to enter the marketplace. I’m especially intrigued by the notion of “responsive architecture,” made possible by new information technologies.

Go Hokies!

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8 responses to “This Hokie Team is in the Top Ten, Too”

  1. very alluring.. notice there are no other homes in sight…

    I want to see the EMR (32 units to the acre) version of this before I get all twitter-cated.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Looks like a Sea Container with awnings.

    How much per square ft?


  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Very cool.

    Does Laura make the controls for it?

  4. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, I don't know if Tridium has any involvement or not. I'll find out. If it doesn't, it should. Jim

  5. E M Risse Avatar

    Jim: The key points seem to have been touched on:

    How do these ideas translate to functional and efficient patterns and densities of human settlement?

    (Larry, the minimum for urban fabric within Clear Edges is 10 persons per acre, not 10 Units per acre, but you raise an important question. In addition, and EMR has yet not gotten to this, the 10 Person Rule was derived from what was actually built between 1960 and 2000 (aka, the era of cheap energy and massive subsidy for dysfunctional scatteration). That era is now over FOREVER. So is the era of subsidy and debt to pretend it is not yet over that lasted from 2002 to 2006.

    EMR would like to see these ideas applied in Ziggurat configurations in a shared-vehicle system station area before he hands out any gold stars. It would not be hard per EMR’s 1970 “Hudson Housing” proposal for Affordable and Accessible housing inspired by the Montreal Expo – use water to transport the modules, …

    Another big question is the cost per sq foot to have all this technology applied to things that humans can do themselves like opening and closing windows and shades TIMES the number of square feet that the market would demand for amenable living.

    As presented, this Unit is well suited for a very well-to-do single person who owns / controls the use of a huge parcel of land in a location it is worth the effort to drive a long distance to reach – alpine valley, barrier island, etc. and which has a low-boy accessible roadways. Even then there are questions: Where to store the umbrella needed use the deck except at sunset? How about the grill? More that two changes of clothes?

    It MAY be suitable for SOME very compatible adult couples in the first years of a relationship who have off-site storage.

    The question is: Can these ideas be translated into something that citizens can afford in places that are accessible to Jobs and Services?

    Lumen House is just what one would expect from a group of technophiles who choose to live in Blacksburg.

    That is not bad, it is just not a solution to the Affordable and Accessible Housing Crisis OR the need to drastically reduce energy consumption in way that citizens can afford.


  6. that was a pretty good analysis from EMR… all things considered.. and he got big points for keeping it short and concise…

    here's the money question:

    Can you take an existing functional settlement pattern and reconfigure it to be what this home is in terms of functionality and energy use?

    Think Jetsons… here.. except that we are actually getting closer and closer to a real Jetson's world in some respects…

    I keep hearing that they are going to build skyscrapers with solar-generating 'skins" and wind turbines on top and on the corners….and geeze if you have to use power to pump water to the top …why not "harvest" it as it leaves the building as sewage – you know like the hybrid cars that 'harvest' the regenerative braking…

    bonus question:

    If someone lived in one of these houses – in the country – and they made a living by NOT commuting but by doing something using the internet.. would it qualify as a "functional" settlement pattern?

    It would seem to me – that if we distill down the essence of what functional settlement patterns are about – is energy use…

    the amount of energy that one uses is working, playing, shopping and being mobile.


    so is the ONLY answer to a "green" energy footprint – is to live 10 people to the acre or are other options also acceptable?

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    "that was a pretty good analysis from EMR… all things considered.. and he got big points for keeping it short and concise…"

    Seconded. EMR stated his concerns well, if you get the drift of the jargon.


  8. Anonymous Avatar

    "and wind turbines on top and on the corners…."

    Wind turbines on the tops of buildings are particularly inefficient, because of the turbulent wind conditions caused by the cityscape.


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