One of this year's Solar Decathlon homes has a higher mission than just winning the grand prize. After the competition, to be held this September in DC, the Empowerhouse will move to its final location in D.C.'s Deanwood neighborhood to become a home for two lucky families. Designed through a collaboration between Parsons The New School for Design, The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, and the Stevens Institute of Technology, ground breaking on the solar-powered, passive house commenced earlier this week on its Deanwood lot.
Construction on the prefab home for the competition began earlier this year in New York and will make its way down to the capital in September for the competition. In preparation of the solar home’s final resting place, the student design team along with their partners, Habitat For Humanity of Washington D.C., and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), broke ground at the Deanwood site. The two-family home is expected to serve as a new model for affordable, green housing in the district, and it will also be the first Passive House in D.C. The house will consume 90% less energy than a typical home.
The student team has worked extensively with its D.C. partners as well as community members during the last year to design the home. Relying on extensive research of the neighborhood, local architecture and sustainable practices and resources, the Empowerhouse team hit upon a design that would fit into the context of the area and provide a low maintenance and low energy home for two families. In addition to designing the home, the student team has also led local workshops to educate the community on gardening, solar power and making their homes more sustainable.
This summer DC Habitat will select the families who will occupy the home, who will then help the students in construction of one of the homes. The other home, prefabricated for the competition, will be joined to form a two-family unit after September.
Images Courtesy of The New School