Solar Summer: Empowerhouse Team Gears Up For Competition

Beginning with a groundbreaking in Washington, D.C. and concluding with a sunset celebration on the banks of the Hudson River, this summer has been a busy one for the Empowerhouse Solar Decathlon team.

Students from Parsons The New School for Design, Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, and Stevens Institute of Technology were hard at work on their entry for the this biennial competition, which challenges 20 collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses.

In September, the team will travel to Washington, D.C. to exhibit their home, a single-family dwelling, on the National Mall. But that’s only one part of the project. To bring the competition beyond the Mall and into real neighborhoods, the students have partnered with Habitat for Humanity and the D.C. government to create permanent housing for the working-class neighborhood of Deanwood in Northeast Washington, DC. The house will then be expanded into a two-family duplex, which will house two local families selected by Habitat.

The team, which has been working on the project for nearly two years, spent the summer readying the Deanwood site and constructing the competition house on the Stevens campus in Hoboken, N.J. At a send-off event this week, families and friends got a chance to preview the house before its journey down to D.C. for the competition, which will take place September 23-October 2.

To keep up with the Empowerhouse team’s progress, visit www.empowerhouse-dc.org.