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Habitat for Humanity built D.C.’s first “energy neutral” home

The Department of Energy's biannual "Solar Decathlon" is a bit of an exercise in fantasy: Teams of engineering and architecture compete to build state-of-the-art, energy-efficient homes that usually end up looking the part. And though they're supposedly designed with the consumer in mind, that doesn't always turn out to be the case. Two years back, the winning project was completely covered in solar panels and cost over $2 million to construct.

But another entry in that year's contest, designed by students from Stevens Institute of Technology, Parsons the New School for Design and Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy, now has an address in Washington, D.C. It has residents, too: Lakiya Culley, an administrative aid at the Department of State, and her three young sons. It was built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity; Think Progress explains that the organization will be able to use it as a prototype for future projects. It will certainly benefit its new tenant more than a typical house would:

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