D.C. universities build eco-friendly house for wounded veteran

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Tiana Pigford.

GW has teamed up with two local universities to build an an energy-efficient home for a wounded U.S. veteran, part of an international competition challenging students to build affordable and sustainable housing.

Team Capitol DC, which brings together students from GW, American University and the Catholic University of America, began construction on the $300,000 project Wednesday at Catholic’s campus. The one-bedroom house is tailored to the veteran’s needs – including handicap accessible ramps – and will have eco-friendly features such as a solar panel, a garden and mostly recycled construction materials.

The group of 75 students, which includes architecture, landscape, interior design and communication majors, will continue to work in Northeast D.C. until May. They will then break down the 800-square-foot house and transport it to California in October to compete against 19 other teams in the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon.

The Solar Decathlon was first hosted in D.C. in 2002, but the competition shifted to Irvine, Calif. this year. The crew of D.C. students, which has partnered with Clark Construction Company, demolished a vacant church in Ohio and brought the materials back to the East Coast for the project.

“In the studio, we learn the beginning, and see the end. This is building with your hands from beginning to end, and actually being a part of the final product,” Brannon Holman, a GW senior and interior design major, said.

Lauren Wingo, a GW graduate student majoring in engineering, said she has helped design the zero energy output house dubbed “Harvest Home” over the past two years, adding that the arrival of the building materials was “the most exciting day” for the team.

“The biggest challenge is that we’re all students, so we’re all learning at the same time. We might fail, but we’re learning,” said Kyle Noell, a graduate student studying architecture at Catholic.

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