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Photo of the south-facing front entrance of the Virginia Tech house, which features translucent Sky Wall panels. Enlarge image

The Virginia Tech team perfected the arts of integration, efficiency, and utility with a design strategy that enables a single house feature to perform multiple functions.
(Credit: Paul Norton/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Who: Virginia Tech
What: Solar house
100 Plantation Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
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Public tours: Not available

Solar Decathlon 2002

Virginia Tech: Perfecting Solar

Virginia Tech's multifunctional solar-powered house came in fifth place at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2002. After the competition, the house returned to the university's Research + Demonstration Facility in Blacksburg, Virginia. The house is intermittently monitored and actively integrated into architectural and engineering courses.

The university first opened its solar house to the public on Earth Day, April 22, 2003. In its permanent location approximately one mile from campus, the house is now surrounded by a design studio, a lecture room, and a testing facility for wall constructions and indoor air quality at the Research + Demonstration Facility.

Virginia Tech has gone on to compete in Solar Decathlon 2005, Solar Decathlon 2009, and Solar Decathlon Europe 2010, in which its entry, Lumenhaus, finished first place overall.