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FutureHAUS is Ready to Compete in Dubai

After many late nights, research, hard labor, and coffee runs, the FutureHAUS is complete! The competition called the Solar Decathlon is being held in Dubai from November 14th-29th, 2018.

After winning the top collegiate prize for the world’s best solar house in 2010, Virginia Tech is planning to do it again this year.

Virginia Tech is one of 22 universities chosen through a competitive process for the global competition and the only U.S.-based team. Over the past two years, the interdisciplinary faculty-student team has designed and built FutureHAUS Dubai, a high-performance, net-zero energy home that meets the city’s complex space and climate needs.

The ceiling of the FutureHAUS lit up at night with strings of LED. The design in the ceiling is also found throughout the home.

This is Virginia Tech’s first time back at the event since it won the Solar Decathlon Europe six years ago with LumenHAUS. The solar home has been exhibited worldwide and earned the first American Institute of Architects Honor Award ever presented to a university team.

Joseph Wheeler, one of the team’s lead faculty members, professor of architecture, and co-director of the Center for Design Research, said FutureHAUS Dubai will be a model of intelligent infrastructure. It will combine the energy efficiency and sustainability of LumenHAUS with the responsive design, prefabrication, and integrated technology of Virginia Tech’s more recent innovation, FutureHAUS.

“We’re working on housing solutions to meet a world population crisis,” Wheeler said. “Our planet will grow by over 2 billion people before 2050 and we need to accommodate them with practical, affordable housing. FutureHAUS Dubai is a prototype for the high-volume production homes of the future that will be smart, sustainable, beautiful, and easily adapted to the needs of communities worldwide.”

Since helping lead the Solar Decathlon team to victory in 2010, Wheeler and colleague Denis Gracanin, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, have turned their focus to FutureHAUS. The concept allows home components, such as kitchens, bathrooms, audio-visual walls, and closets, to be prefabricated in factories and shipped to a construction site for quick assembly. The homes are pre-finished, pre-plumbed, and pre-wired with integrated smart technologies and detailed interior elements for maximum efficiency and adaptability.

Joseph Wheeler, one of the builders of FutureHAUS, celebrates its completion at the 2018 reception in Blacksburg, VA

“We’re excited about applying our knowledge from LumenHAUS and FutureHAUS in Dubai’s extreme environment,” Wheeler said. “With FutureHAUS Dubai, we’ll be uniting the best of academia, research, and the industry. Virginia Tech Solar Decathlon students will be at the forefront of the movement to push the housing industry to a higher level.“

FutureHAUS lit up at night. What a gorgeous sight!

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition created by the U.S. Department of Energy in which universities from all over the world design, build, and operate the world’s best solar home. The Solar Decathlon Middle East is the newest Decathlon, created through an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. Dubai is hosting the event as part of an effort to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050.

In November, the participating teams will demonstrate their homes and will be judged in 10 categories. The winning team will blend design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market appeal, and energy and water efficiency.

Visit the competition’s website to learn more.

Article courtesy of Virginia Tech