Virginia Tech smart home takes on Europe
This zero-energy house has a brain and a weather station that lets the light in and keeps the rain out.
Making your home energy efficient is one thing, but what I'm really waiting for is a zero-energy home that has its own brain.
It is still the wave of the future, but Virginia Tech is taking us one step closer with its Lumenhaus, which makes it one of only two U.S. teams that will be competing with environmentally savvy teams from around the world at the Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010.
Inhabitat writes that the 800-square-foot, one-bedroom home is notable for creating a light, airy space through its unique shading system, called the Eclipsis System. And get this: It has its own weather station that will tell the home when to put the shades up or down. When they're up, they let bright, natural light into the home to cut back on the use of lighting during the day, while also expanding the living space onto the deck. And when the weather isn't so optimal, the shades close to keep the home warm and dry with its insulating panel.
Talk about taking in the light. The weather station shares its space on the roof with solar panels that use both sides to increase energy output by up to 15%, and that tilt to take in the most possible sun. In addition, the home is heated by a geothermal heat pump.
Of course, the home also features all the obligatory green design features, such as rainwater collection, gray-water recycling, radiant floors and LED lighting.
And since the smart home can't actually read your mind, you still can link up to it via your smart phone and tell it to turn off your oven or lights or whatever you might have forgotten when you left.
So how much will all of this intelligence put you back? The prototype cost about $350,000, but Inhabit writes that future models are expected to cost less. And if you just can't wait that long to take advantage of new green technology, just remember that prefab green homes are an affordable option in the meantime.
- Thanks to Move.com for its post (Move.com is an MSN Real Estate partner)
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.