Even the team's handout was light on resource use and uniquely recyclable. The postcard maps the route between West Potomac Park and the Empowerhouse's final and permanent destination in D.C.'s Deanwood neighborhood, East of the Anacostia River. The postcard itself, studded with basil, parsley and chive seeds is to be planted under a thin layer of soil and watered daily until seedlings are established.
At 850 square-feet Empowerhouse was a typical entrant; Decathlon V limited conditioned-space to 1,000 square feet. The team tied for first in Affordability at estimated costs of $229,890.25, good design for its intended real-world environment. Lakiya Culley and her three delighted children will be living in their Habitat for Humanity home once it reaches Deanwood. A second unit will be built alongside to create a duplex that will then be certified passive.
With this end in mind, the team sought a contemporary design able to integrate into an existing neighborhood. The team focused on the front elevation. "Front porch has historically been an integral part of American culture, and that tradition is still thriving today in Deanwood." A back porch looks towards the garden which students hope the family will use to grow some its own food.
Empowerhouse also sports a 4.2 kW solar array (one of Decathlon V's smaller PV systems) expected to "eliminate electricity bills for the Culley family." For comparison, Affordability second-place winner Purdue's 984-square-foot home uses a 9kW system.
The home's student team built SIP-like envelope sandwiches of 12-inch engineered wood I-joists and blown in cellulose between sheathing to create R-40 walls. The team based materials selections on "affordability, green certification, embodied energy, non-toxicity, livability, constructability, and overall environmental impact. This Empowerhouse is an affordable,healthy and above all buildable home."
Home lighting is either natural or extreme efficiency. Natural light from the stair loft penetrates deep into the center of the home. Low cost, high efficiency linear fluorescents and LED sources reflected off interior surfaces provide general illumination.
For more on our coverage of Solar Decathlon V, click here.