At Parsons School of Design and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, students developed designs for innovative sustainable
homes. This diverse, audacious team designed and built a home so sustainable, so efficient, so affordable that its annual energy cost is zero. Self-irrigating gardens grow a lush perimeter around the house, nourishing the family within and demonstrating
to neighbors the virtues of conscious eating and the simple rapture of slicing a tomato picked fresh from the vine. At The New School, where innovation is key, ideas are solar-powered lights — cutting through ink-black convention and overturning the
Winner of the Affordability Category in the 2011 U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon, Empowerhouse is a multidisciplinary, community-based approach to sustainable urban development. In line with The New School’s dedication to change, students from Parsons and
Milano School combined resources to create and showcase sustainable solar-powered homes that were not only technologically groundbreaking — but affordable.
The team, along with community partners, then extended Empowerhouse past the immediate contest location of the Mall on Washington and into the low-income DC neighborhood of Deanwood, profoundly influencing local notions of cost-effective architectural
design. The house’s intuitive interior lights turn on and off as one enters and exits a room. Solar panels and heating and cooling systems work in tandem to efficiently produce as much energy as they consume.
Humanely designed interiors frame and nestle personal items to maximize space — and user well-being. Here, intellectual resources converge to defy traditional housing constraints and spotlight the future.
The New School, with its commitment to cutting-edge technology and collaborative design, is a force of innovation, sustainability, and possibility. Be a Force of New.
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