Mount Airy, North Carolina -- Virginia Tech's innovative net zero energy, solar powered, super-insulated 'Lumenahus' won first prize in Europe's 2010 Solar Decathlon. The international competition included 20 entries from top colleges and universities from around the world. The competition's goal is advancing the knowledge and dissemination of industrialised, solar and sustainable housing.
Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus chose NCFI's InsulStar high-performance spray foam insulation to help achieve top honours in this year's US Solar Decathlon. Lumenhaus won third place despite an unfortunate last minute technology glitch. The team that won this year's Solar Decathlon, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also used InsulStar in their top prize-winning "Gable House."
The European Solar Decathlon's 20 competing homes were judged in ten separate areas (hence the decathlon designation) including: architecture, sustainability, innovation, comfort, construction and engineering, solar systems and hot water, energy balance, usage, communications and social media, industrialisation and market viability.
"This was the toughest competition by far," said Joe Wheeler, associate professor of architecture, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and one of only three faculty members of the smallest team in the competition. "It was judged by some of the most influential architects in the world like Australian Glenn Murcutt, winner of the Pritzker Prize and the AIA Gold Medal.
"We were head-to-head against the Germans and French at their game, commented Wheele,r in a recent statement on the award. "They are so far ahead of the US in energy efficiency work. For us, going over there and winning is a small miracle," Wheeler added.
Wheeler said his team needed a "super insulation" to help Lumenhaus smartly use the energy it creates via its solar panel system, and help balance efficiency with user comfort. "We love InsulStar. We call our design 'responsive architecture,' meaning the house can operate completely self sufficiently, responding to environmental changes. InsulStar insulates the walls and floor/undercarriage, and keeps the house airtight, with no drafts or leaks when it is closed up."
NCFI chose GoldStar applicator, Mark Zammit, of Building & Design of Virginia Inc. to apply the high performance SPF to the Lumenhaus.
Zammit said, "I think it was fortuitous for us to be involved with this amazing project. My wife, her father, my son and daughter have all attended, or are attending, Virginia Tech. It's a family pride thing for us to help their team win this international competition."
Nelson Clark, senior vice president of NCFI, says his company is extremely proud of the role they played in both solar decathlon wins. "It's a testament to our products and people. Winning not one, but two major energy efficiency competitions is clear evidence InsulStar spray foam is a superior insulation product and the future of world building."