Daily Journal - October 6, 2009
Emerging Technologies Define Solar Decathlon
It's nail-biting time as teams wrap up the construction process. All houses must be grid-connected by 2 p.m. tomorrow, with assembly completed and lots cleaned by 5 p.m. That gives teams less than 24 hours to finish. Most teams remain upbeat, but you can sense a quickness to the pace and a sense of urgency from others. A look at the time-lapse camera may give the impression that a huge amount of work remains, but you'll be surprised how fast things will come together tomorrow afternoon.
The solar village is like one big puzzle with highly innovative pieces. As they are fitted together and nearing completion, we learn more about what makes each house special.
The Virginia Tech entry, Lumenhaus, is a high-tech marvel. Movable wall systems make it instantly recognizable. Sliding polycarbonate doors filled with Nanogel can be opened or closed for heat gain or loss. The panels and shading screens perform a large portion of the heating and cooling functions through passive design. When fully open, they create a pavilion-style living space that blends with the outdoors. Another feature of Lumenhaus is its concrete flooring. Specially developed for the Solar Decathlon, the concrete is integrated with a flexible material that makes the flooring lighter and easier to transport, opening up all kinds of opportunities for modular homebuilders.