PWC Learning Center - A Net-Zero Realization Project

The Eco-Park Learning Center is a future municipal office building and community center owned and operated by Prince William County, VA. The Learning Center develops the County’s vision of the landfill as an eco-park – a nexus for interactive STEM education, community and professional engagement, and the demonstration of cutting-edge waste management technologies. It will house the county’s Solid Waste Division administrative offices, while serving as a venue hosting school groups, professional meetings, and larger community events.

Management of UAV-Captured Data for Building Facade Inspections

Building facades, serving mainly to protect occupants and structural components from natural forces, require periodic inspections for the detection and assessment of building façade anomalies. Over the past years, a growing trend of utilizing camera-equipped drones for periodical building facade inspection has emerged. Building façade anomalies, such as cracks and erosion, can be detected through analyzing drone-captured video, photographs, and infrared images.

Assessment of Thermal Bridges due to Roof Fasteners

The RCI Foundation has approved funding for a study, titled “Laboratory Testing of Roof Assemblies for Comparison with Simulated Models: Thermal Performance Assessment of Thermal Bridges due to Roof Fasteners”. The overall goal of the project is to provide a better understanding to the industry of simulated versus tested thermal conductance in 3-D configurations, in support of relative comparison of quantitative thermal effects of fasteners in different roof assemblies.

A Mycorrhizal Model for Smart Solar Microgrids

The decentralization of infrastructure is critical to long term urban resilience and resource equity. Current centralized models are prone to single point of failure and distribution inefficiencies that lead to waste. Often this wastefulness is exacerbated by mismatches between resource availability and demand at large scales. The proliferation of renewable energy technologies in the past decade has paved the way towards a more diverse and decentralized infrastructure, especially with respect to solar energy.

Performance Based Resilient and Sustainable Multi-Hazard Building Design

This multi-disciplinary NSF sponsored research project develops a framework to support the conceptual design of resilient and sustainable building systems (RSB) by providing robust estimates of building resiliency and sustainability over a broad set of soil, foundation, structural, and envelope (SFSE) systems. 

Energy Efficient Retrofit Opportunities for Tobacco Curing Barns

Harvesting the energy saving potential in the process of retrofit actions presents an opportunity to improve the overall performance of tobacco growing operations and at the same time reduces the environmental footprint of the industry. Little was known about the actual impact of retrofit scenarios on the energy consumption of the curing process. Energy simulation tools exist in a simple form for homeowners and in highly sophisticated applications for designers and facility managers. However, none of those can be directly applied for the assessment of energy consumption in curing barns.

Oak Flame

Students from Virginia Tech and Virginia Western Community College participated in an unusual experiment: In the name of fire safety, two nearly identical residence hall rooms, one with and one without a sprinkler system, were set on fire.

Impact of Fume Hood Retrofits on Energy Performance of Laboratory Spaces

There are probably more than a million fume hoods operated in laboratories throughout the United States. Most of these fume hoods still run under more or less continuous conditions and thus consume an enormous amount of energy per year. There seems to be a significant savings potential if the total exhausted volumes could be reduced while all safety requirements are met. 

Western Virginia CREATES Initiative

In the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, green homebuilding practices were migrating from cutting-edge to becoming the “new normal.” The transition from conventional practices to green practices in the building industry required firms to acquire new skills and knowledge to meet market demand for these new technologies. This new knowledge included understanding new technological systems, ranging from solar panel installation to energy efficiency assessments and beyond.