A Sustainable Home For A Returning Veteran

Students from three DC universities -- the George Washington University, Catholic University of America, and American University -- are teaming up for this fall's Solar Decathlon in Irvine, California. Collectively known as Team Capitol DC, it is one of 20 teams selected to participate in the international competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. This year, Team Capitol DC's project concept is "Harvest" as it employs "innovative technology and engineering to create a net-zero home that harvests as much energy as it produces."

The energy efficient, solar-powered, recycled-steel house, which the team has named Harvest Home, will be donated to a wounded American veteran who has returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after the competition. Having designed the home with the intention to house a recuperating military veteran, the team has made sure that every aspect of Harvest Home complies with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in case the resident has injuries that affect movement.

"Harvest Home seeks to help heal its occupant and the environment," said William Jelen, program coordinator from Catholic University. Not only will the home produce as much energy as it harvests but it has also already started to harvest recycled and natural material such as steel and salvaged wood to make up the building structure. In addition, biosenors will be installed in the home to monitor the resident's well-being in a non-invasive manner.

Currently, Team Capitol DC is building Harvest Home in a parking lot at Catholic University. After May, it will deconstruct the home and transport it to California where it will make its debut in the Solar Decathlon.

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