High-Tech Roof Covers High-Tech Entrepreneurs

A guest post from Michael Miller, Senior Licensing Manager at Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties and CEO of VT KnowledgeWorks company Virginia nanoTech:

Here’s a great story about a Virginia Tech alumnus, inventor and owner of Acrylife, a local company who came up with a new concept for a high-tech roofing system.

Chuck Johnson found some interested VT faculty in mechanical engineering and architecture and funded them to help him test it in the VT wind tunnel facilities.  The Venturi Vent Technology can be installed on a flat or low-slope roof and has the effect that, when the wind blows, it actually exerts a downward force on the roof to help hold it in place. That could potentially save billions of dollars each year in wind-damage not just to buildings, but to the contents that get ruined after the roof blows off. 

During the testing, the VT faculty made some significant improvements, and so the invention is jointly owned between VT and the company.  The V2T system, as it is called, has actually been installed on the roof of the VT KnowledgeWorks building, and on the roof of a major roofing materials supplier in North Carolina.

It is also being evaluated by essentially all the major roofing materials suppliers, and is scheduled to begin UL testing shortly.  You can get a little detail from the VTIP web page, and the invention disclosures are 03-050 and 05-038.  The first one has been awarded a patent already, and the second is in process.

It’s a great VT-Local Industry cooperation story, with some really cool and very practical results.

From Virginia Tech News 4/28/08
Inexpensive roof vent could prevent billions of dollars in wind damage
A local roofer, Virginia Tech faculty members from architecture and engineering, and a graduate student have devised an inexpensive vent that can reduce roof uplift on buildings during high winds, even a hurricane.
Read Full Story


  1. "Found" and "funded" are the key words here. F-to-the-fourth (faculty found and funded for the future) might be the name of a new initiative to help faculty and alumni do what now seems from the above posting to be a winning results. What if Tech faculty and/or alumni could blog with each other about their ideas? Just a few bucks for a test or to wrap up a student's study or to cement a promising business relationship could be the University's contribution (at least reduced overhead for the joint gamble). A small local investor's fund might emerge to help start similar invention-based enterprises.

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