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Empowerhouse — Beyond Awards, Real Homes For Real Folks

What sets the Empowerhouse apart from the pack is that it is the first project in the Solar Decathlon’s history to have a life as real housing beyond the competition. The project was developed by the New School and Stevens Institute of Technology in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. (DC Habitat) and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Solar Decathlon — Parsons-Stevens Empowerhouse

From the beginning, student designers planned to make this a real house and empower real families with sustainable design.

Reaching out to empower people with affordable green visions, Empowerhouse is a community-based approach to sustainable urban development showcasing the design of two affordable solar-powered homes and a neighborhood learning garden. Students from across The New School and Stevens Institute of Technology came together to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy 2011 Solar Decathlon and to bring the Empowerhouse beyond the National Mall, to the Washington D.C. neighborhood of Deanwood.

The first family will soon move into this home, which also deserves the accolades for being the first passive house in D.C., a recipient of a Mayor’s Sustainability Award, and winning the “Affordability” category during the recent competition. The home has been moved off the Mall and taken to the Deanwood neighborhood to its new resting place.

Empowerhouse Garden

Additional modules were brought in and assembled on the site to make the home a duplex equipped to provide housing for two families. Lakiya Culley, a Deanwood resident and single mother of three young children who works as a secretary for the U.S. Department of State, will move into the house in January.

From the very beginning, the Empowerhouse was planned to be more than just another interesting and green concept entry for the 2011 Solar Decathlon. Designed and built by a student group from Parsons The New School for DesignStevens Institute of Technology, and Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, the prefab home adheres to the principles of Passive House.

Empowerhouse Porch

Earlier in December, the student team from Parsons The New School for Design, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School celebrated the completion of the real-world Empowerhouse. Next year, a second family will move into the sustainable duplex in the Deanwood neighborhood, making it the most practical Solar Decathlon home built to date. 

Source: Inhabitat

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