The first city-wide collegiate team to be formed in Washington, D.C. and compete in the Solar Decathlon is Team Capitol DC, made up of students and faculty mentors from Catholic University, American University, and George Washington University. Their entry is HARVEST HOME, taking its name from its harvesting of natural resources, and is designed to meet the needs of a wounded veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who will live in the home after the competition.


Incorporating a biomedical atmosphere that can contribute to the veteran’s healing of body and spirit, the sustainable HARVEST HOME is capable of producing energy equivalent to its usage. Energy from the sun is harvested through a solar photovoltaic array consisting of 32 panels and a solar thermal system that produces energy and heats water. Excess heat is harvested from solar panels and appliances for reuse.

Harvested materials are incorporated into the construction of the home, such as repurposed and reclaimed wood cladding, studs, and flooring. Water is harvested by way of a rain screen that prevents moisture infiltration, a rainwater collection system, and gray water reclamation. Wind is harvested to improve the comfort of the internal environment. In addition, the homeowner will be able to harvesting vegetables and fruit.

Efficiency features include recycled steel skeletons, structurally insulated panels, high-performance windows, and air-tightening techniques. A climate control system interfaces with a handheld device to regulate automated systems and provide feedback on energy consumption. A white roof helps to keep the house cool, and passive orientation of windows aid in the regulation of internal temperatures. In addition, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, and high-efficiency fixtures, and nontoxic building materials were used throughout the home.

HARVEST HOME has public and private modules that connect with nature on physical and sensory levels, with extended living spaces created by decks that surround the home and blend the interior with the outdoors.

HARVEST HOME will compete in Solar Decathlon 2013 during the October event in Irvine, California, where it will be judged on its achievement of the competition’s goals of optimal energy production, maximum efficiency, design excellent, affordability, and consumer appeal. Following the competition, the home will be donated to Wounded Warrior Homes, a San Diego non-profit that provides transitional housing for wounded United States military veterans.