As Grist reports, students at the New School and Stevens Institute of Technology designed a super efficient home that won an award at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon collegiate competition held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. last fall. Developed in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, the Empowerhouse, one of thirty entrants, will become the permanent home of State Dept. employee Lakiya Culley and her family in Deanwood, a predominantly working class, African-American neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Many homes in the neighborhood previously fell to foreclosure. The net zero energy home, one of thirty entrants from around the world, features water cachement for green roofs and small plot urban gardening. The parking spots on either side of the two-unit structure have permeable pavers to allow water to soak through; and the “green street” has a deep trough with plants and dirt to absorb the oily runoff pollutants from the street. While the German model cost over $2 million, the Empowerhouse tied for first place in the financially feasible category at $250,000 per unit, realistic for the D.C. area. As MHProNews reported Oct. 2, 2011, a French team won the overall competition with a modular home. Six more are being planned in the D.C. area.
(Photo credit: Martine Seck/Grist)