DUBAI – Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS Dubai team took home first prize in the 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East, a competition launched by the United States Department of Energy and the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. The competition is aimed to accelerate research on building sustainable, grid-connected, solar homes.
The win follows nearly two decades of research, by more than 100 Virginia Tech students, and two years of accelerated development, overcoming a fire that burned down a previous iteration of the house, and more than a month spent in a desert in the outskirts of Dubai, where two dozen students and faculty erected the entire house.
The concept of FutureHAUS Dubai was brought to life through a university-wide effort, combining talents and research from Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, College of Engineering, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Pamplin College of Business, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, College of Science, and various centers and labs within.
“We have the most interdisciplinary team that we’ve ever had around any research project, and that’s what it takes. That’s the secret,” said Joe Wheeler, architecture professor and lead faculty of FutureHAUS Dubai. “That’s the formula to making something this amazing.”
In addition to winning first place overall, the FutureHAUS team earned top three in nearly all of the ten contests: first place in Architecture, first place in House Functioning, first place in Sustainable Transportation, second place in Sustainability, second place in Innovation, third place in Engineering and Construction (tie), third place in Energy Efficiency, and third place in Comfort Conditions. The Virginia Tech team also received special recognition through earning first place in Creative Solutions and second place in Interior Design.
FutureHAUS Dubai was the only American team among the more than 60 total entrants of the 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East. The team worked in partnership with Accuride International using its heavy-duty sliding solution, the116RC Heavy-Duty Linear Track System, in a variety of fixtures including kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and toilets that can be raised and lowered for individuals based on advanced recognition technologies.
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