New School students and students of Stevens Institute of Technology have created the Empowerhouse, which is a home that generates all of its required energy. Built in the Washington D.C. area as an entry in the Solar Decathlon design competition, which is supported by the D.C. Community Development and Department of Housing, this brings to reality for the very first time this sort of technology.
With a bold and bright exterior and interiors made with recycled materials, the net-zero home gets a lot of natural light. Stormwater management systems of the exterior help reduce runoff which can negatively affect polluted rivers.
All units have a terrace, a small agricultural plot, a green roof, and a rain garden located at the back which collects rainwater which washes through the roof gardens. An underground cistern also gathers rainwater which is used in watering the grounds.
Permeable pavement stones are used for the parking space, ensuring that stormwater penetrates into the soil. Also located on the first residential green street in D.C, this consists of a trough filled with plants and dirt to soak up runoff and oily pollutants from the street.
The Empowerhouse is a fine example that sustainable and affordable housing is not only possible but can also be located within city neighborhoods. Also, with Habitat for Humanity now lending its support, it is quite likely that many more of such homes will be emerging throughout the country.