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Architecture: Responsive Architecture

LumenHAUS, Virginia Tech

LumenHAUS Wins

Weather Monitoring for Energy Effiency

"It's a bitterly cold and gloomy day in Chicago's Millennium Park - but once you step inside the LumenHAUS, you are transported to a space of light and warmth." CWS reporter Chanel Taylor caught up with LumenHAUS in Chicago at the GreenBuild Convention. LumenHAUS is the zero-energy house developed by Virginia Tech. Originally entered in the 2009 US Solar Decathlon, the house went on to win at the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe.

Explaining the concept of "Responsive Architecture," student Greg Catron, describes how LumenHAUS utilizes an Orion Weather Station to inform every aspect of the climate and energy use of the house. The Orion station provides the current weather conditions to a computer or iPhone to keep the house running at optimal comfort and at highest energy efficiency.

"Responsive architecture is one of our main goals with this house," says Catron. "The whole point of the house is to get this technology out there. A lot of people don't know how to use this technology. So we want to make it so the house can do it on its own -- respond to the weather outside."

Robert Schubert, Associate Dean of Research, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, elaborates, "Weather station information is used for monitoring outside conditions, as well as taking reactive and anticipatory actions." Such actions might include closing shades and insulating panels based on temperature and/or wind conditions.

In its write-up on LumenHAUS as Building of the Week, confirmed, "Responsive Architecture optimizes energy use by adapting to changing environmental conditions while increasing the quality of space."

LumenHAUS in  Chicago

LumenHAUS in Chicago


2009 Solar Decathlon

Times Square New Years Eve

June 2010 1st place at Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid

November 2010 it was featured at in Chicago at the GreenBuild Convention

April 2011 GreenBuildingFocus Conference and Expo in Charlotte, NC

April - July 2011 Inspired by the pavilion-style architecture of the historic Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, LumenHAUS displayed on its property near Plano, Ill.

For More Information:


Orion Weather Station

More photos on Flickr

Review on

LumenHAUS at night
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