Virginia Tech's solar house will be open to the public on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, 2003, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the university's Research and Demonstration Facility off Plantation Road in Blacksburg. The 530 sq. ft. house was designed last year by students and faculty in the College of Architecture & Urban Studies and the College of Engineering to compete in the national Solar Decathlon sponsored by the Department of Energy. The competition was held last fall in Washington, D.C., where teams from around the country converged for two weeks on the Mall to see who could best design, build, and operate the most effective and attractive house powered solely by the sun. The house placed 5th overall, and took first place in two of the 10 categories.

This year, visitors will see some of the unique and future technologies that helped the Virginia Tech house place 5th in the nation in the competition. A 7-minute promotional video of the house, produced by University Visual and Broadcast Communications, will also debut at the event.

The house has been featured on Home and Garden Television and the DIY Channel, as well as numerous trade magazines and newsletters. Students and faculty are currently preparing to compete in the next Solar Decathlon to be held in 2005. More information about the house can be found at www.caus.vt.edu/vtsolar.

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