Students design house that creates as much energy as it uses; entered in US Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon Team
The Solar Decathlon Team

Once again, GW students are about to make history.

By designing and constructing a house that produces as much energy as it consumes, GW students from engineering (SEAS), interior design (Columbian College) and landscape design (College of Professional Studies) will be part of the first team to ever represent the nation’s capital in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

For the past six months, students have worked to design and construct a house that harvests natural resources to power the home. To do so, the team is using sustainable resources such as reclaimed materials, natural ventilation, solar panels, solar thermal systems, and water collection systems, all while keeping in mind the comfort of its eventual resident, a wounded American veteran.

“We know that some of our returning heroes have a healing process that will last a lifetime. These US military veterans need a home that respects their personal dignity,” Lauren Wingo SEAS ‘14 said. “Therefore, [we] would like to dedicate our project to them. We call it the Harvest Home.”

The team, dubbed “Team Capitol DC,” is also compromised of students and faculty mentors from American University, and Catholic University, where the house is being constructed. It will then be moved to Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, for the competition which runs October 3-13.

The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

You can keep up with Team Capitol DC’s progress by visiting their blog (

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