A Journey of Discovery and Innovation

Team Invent the Future ®

The name “Invent the Future” is adopted from our university’s tagline, which again is based on the three dedications/missions towards learning, discovery, and engagement.  The Latin phrase Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), words every member of the Virginia Tech community knows all too well, combines these missions to create Virginia Tech’s motto. A motto in which our team supports and represent through the spirit of how we choose to pursue, create, and disseminate our work for the Race to Zero Competition. We are proud to represent our university as Team Invent the Future driven by our motto Ut Prosim, as we hope to share our process of learning and discovery with the larger architecture, engineering, and construction community, and further the discussion towards creating high-performance solutions for the built environment.

The TownHauZ

Our project name came to fruition upon reflecting on the qualities that our design exudes. While the name provides phonetic familiarity when used in discussions, it reveals the creative innovation of our design through its spelling. Let us take you on this journey learning about its evolution: Most obviously, our building type is a townhouse, which forms the basis of the design name. From there we delve deeper into the meaning of the name by translating “house” into the German “Haus”, as a nod to the design elements we borrowed from the PassivHaus Standard. Some of our standout features and strategies similar to a PassivHaus include high insulation levels, the elimination of thermal bridges, air tightness, and the reduction of heating and cooling loads. We also evaluated and studied our enclosure design with German methods for hygrothermal analysis used to meet code requirements such as DIN 4108-3 that are non-existent in U.S. Additionally, our faculty advisor Dr. Georg Reichard hails from Austria, and he, as well as the entire team, are proud to represent and salute his country of origin which has the highest rate of new construction PassivHäuser. Finally, we reach the “Z”, which is emphasized and substitutes the “s” in Haus to create our final design name, the TownHauZ. The “Z” represents Zero, in regards to being ready to achieve the Net Zero Energy Standard with the addition of renewable energy. This was the journey to our project name and an abbreviated story of our design. The full story is explored and revealed in this report as we present the TownHauZ.