In November, a team from Virginia Tech will travel to Dubai to compete in the Solar Decathlon – an international competition to build the world’s smartest solar home.
Over the past two years, 75 students and 15 faculty members at Tech have had a hand in designing and building what's called the FutureHAUS.
Bobby Vance is one of the team leaders on the project.
“FutureHAUS is a revolutionary concept for the way that we build. So, understanding instead of building a building from the outside in, we are actually looking at it from the inside out, and finding ways to integrate much higher levels of technology into the design process.”
Technology like a custom 3D-printed sink and a central spine that contains all of the house’s electronics, plumbing and ventilation fixtures.
As part of the competition, the home must also use very little water and have a net-positive energy rating – so it is powered by solar panels and includes a water recycling and filtration unit.
Laurie Booth is an architecture major and the student team leader for FutureHAUS. She says her favorite feature of the house is its adaptability, which could have applications ranging from disaster relief to affordable housing.
“In so many ways it’s the smarter way to build, and I think that is the future, so you are more efficient, you use less resources and you have opportunities for things like technology integration and customization.”
After the competition, FutureHAUS will take a tour across the country, with stops in D.C., New York and Chicago.
RADIO IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.