One of the most common arguments against building energy-efficient homes is that the upfront costs are just too high, but this year’s Solar Decathlon competition is telling another story. For the first time in the design-build contest’s history, the sustainably built prefab homes were judged in the category of affordability. If a home cost under $250,000 to build, the team won full points — and guess what? Not one, but two teams achieved full points! The Empowerhouse, built by students from Parsons the New School for Design and the Stevens Institute of Technology, took first place in the category, with a final cost of $229,000. Affordability played a key role in the team’s design, as Empowerhouse will actually be a Habitat for Humanity home for a Washington, D.C. family after the Solar Decathlon ends. Hit the jump to see the house for yourself!