Students build green home to donate to wounded vet

After competing the Solar Decathlon, local students will donate the home to a wounded veteran. (WTOP/Alan Etter)

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The adage goes “a man’s home is his castle,” so local students are building a house for a hero whose prior living conditions were less than royal.

In a parking lot on the grounds of Catholic University, students are erecting an energy efficient, solar-powered home that will eventually be donated to a wounded war veteran.

Students — many of them architecture and engineering majors — from Catholic, George Washington and American universities are teaming-up to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

With the squeal of circular saws cutting plywood nearby, Kyle Noell, an architecture graduate student at Catholic, says the team is working on the 850 square foot home’s subfloor.

Building and testing the home will take the entire school year, he says.

The home will be transported to the West Coast in October for the contest, and hopefully remain there.

“We want to work with a veterans’ organization in Irvine, Calif. to try to give it to a veteran who deserves it out there,” Noell says.

“With the three universities here in Washington, D.C., with the high military population, we thought it would be great to donate the house to a veteran,” says Catholic University student Bobby Blavolil.

Noell says his project being designed for the more moderate California climate.

“It’s pretty mild climate,” he says. “It doesn’t get as cold as it gets here, it doesn’t get as hot without the extreme humidity levels that we have here.”

The home is being designed for its future resident, says George Washington University student Lauren Wingo.

Before the test home is moved to California for the competition, it will be tested in D.C., Noell says.

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