image via inhabitat
inhabitat cheers USA! USA! as Virginia Tech wins the Solar Decathlon over some tough competition. It is a surprising win for a number of reasons; the unit was in the Solar Decathlon 2009 and did not win there. To my eye, it was over-teched, with its aerogel walls electrochromic glass and ground source heat pump for an 800 square foot unit- serious engineering overkill.
interior via Inhabitat
But according to the Sydney Morning Herald,
The jury, made up of experts in architecture and solar systems, decided the Lumenhaus was "the most efficient" of the 17 entries. It "presents an open distribution that connects the inhabitants of the house with the external environment".
There is lots to love in the Lumenhaus; the layered skin can be tuned in a number of ways to maximize air and natural light.
The transport system is wonderfully clever:
The system, which is inspired by the double-drop lowboy trailer, is made up of removable and reusable components (axle/wheel assembly on the back and hitch hookup on the front) allowing for simple truck transport, flexible suspension and higher height clearances than conventional modular transport methods. The house's strong steel structural frame supports it while in transit.
In their goal of emulating the Farnsworth House, they float the bath in the middle. This works in the Farnsworth house; it is big enough that the spaces on either side are useable. I am not certain that it works here.
Like Inhabitat, I am happy that an American team won the European competition; the Germans have been winning the American competition for years, it adds to the fun. But I think one can have too much technology, creating a situation where few of the lessons are transferable to reality on the ground.