Experience the House
what is lumenhaus

LUMENHAUS is the third solar house designed and built at Virginia Tech as part of a research program begun in 2002. An innovative design integrating architecture and technology, the project won the international Solar Decathlon Competition in Madrid, Spain in June of 2010.

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the house

As a modern pavilion, LUMENHAUS is an architectural space of distinction. 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 owner’s 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 beautiful, flowing patterns throughout the day.

LUMENHAUS does more than literally deliver a brighter day, however. LUMENHAUS epitomizes a “whole building design” construction approach, in which all the home’s components and systems have been designed to work together to maximize user comfort with environmental protection. LUMENHAUS uses technology optimally to make the owner’s life simpler, more energy efficient and less expensive. On the cutting edge of responsive architecture, LUMENHAUS can operate completely self sufficiently, responding to environmental changes automatically to balance energy efficiency with user comfort. LUMENHAUS is a zero-energy home that is completely powered by the sun. Other sustainable features include the use of passive energy systems, radiant heating and building materials that are from renewable and/or recyclable sources.

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the name

LUMEN means “the power of light.” During the day, the house maximizes occupants’ exposure to natural daylight, which research shows improves mood and well-being. Energy collected during the day is symbolically radiated back out at night through a low-energy lighting system within the insulating panels. The color temperature of the white lights can be controlled by the occupant to again optimize mood and wellbeing.

HAUS is a reference to the BauHaus movement, and architect Mies Van Der Rohe, whose Farnsworth House inspired LUMENHAUS. The Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies also has roots in the Bauhaus movement. The word Haus in German means both house and home, reflecting the multi-audience appeal of LUMENHAUS.