Lumenhaus House of the Future
Dunay: It uses less energy than it produces in the course of a year. So, it’s both sustainable and also energy-efficient.
Lumenhaus is a prototype for a house that could redefine the way that we live in the future. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Dunay: This house collects energy from solar panels that are mounted on the roof(1:10) and then it’s routed through the electrical system of the house to all the appliances.
Robert Dunay is a professor Architecture at Virginia Tech.
Dunay: Solar energy is the primary source, although the the heat pumps, which are the heating and ventilation system, are linked to a geothermal well, which increases their efficiency by a factor of four.
Geothermal is a technology that’s starting to be used widespread in the housing market in this country. It’s basically using the heat of the Earth as a source to both heat and cool the house, and it’s basically, developed through drilling a well. Depending on where you are, it’s around 400 or 500 feet, and water is circulated through that well to serve the heat pumps in terms of heating and cooling.
The cooling part is handled in the same way that the heating is handled through the heat pump and it also works through the geothermal system. It just reverses its process from winter to summer. So in the winter, it generates heat. In the summer, it generates the cool air for the house.
So even though we have a high technological component, we’re using we’re using passive heating. Which means we’re collecting the sun’s energy on a black floor that will save the heat and then radiate it back out at night, and at the same time, we’re also using natural ventilation to cool the house. So, with doors and then, screens that slide open, you can have the house open during the course of a day, where other houses would be using air conditioning. So we’re saving energy.
The Lumenhaus won the 2010 International Solar Decathalon Competition, and in 2012 was selected as one of the nine best architectural works in the United States. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.