Sustainable Building Has a New Home

The Green Habitats Foundation’s current eco-educational passion project, The GA Tech Solar Decathlon House, has a new home: the brand new Tellus, Northwest Georgia Science Museum. The House is an 800-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath, steel-framed structure (complete with plush interiors by Herman Miller) that runs completely on solar power.

Green Habitats founder, John Lie-Nielsen

Green Habitats founder, John Lie-Nielsen hopes this prototype—an EarthCraft-certified house will provide inspiration to thousands of future eco-conscious builders and designers.

“The Solar D House”, as Green Habitats personnel lovingly refer to it, converts sunlight into at least 3,600 watts of electricity, supplying its daily energy needs with the capability to store solar energy for future use as well or sell it directly to the power company. The rooftop panels can be tilted to take best advantage of the most extreme angles of sunlight in winter and summer. The entire house was designed, fabricated, built and operated by students in Tech’s Colleges of Architecture, Engineering, Sciences and Management.

Since officially taking stewardship of the House more than a year ago, Green Habitats diligently searched for the best off-campus location for this innovative source of conservation information. “We chose Tellus because it will attract a high number of student visitors. This will provide an excellent outreach program for Green Habitats scholarships and for Georgia Tech recruitment,” explains Lie-Nielsen. The museum is expected to receive up to 250,000 visitors next year. The house will be located on a prominent site at the northwest corner of the brand new museum, near an existing solar array, where visitors can view the House and read about it. Then, in May or June (TBA), its doors will be opened to visitors for regularly scheduled guided tours and school group programs.

Green Habitats Foundation

Green Habitats, the steward of the Solar D House, stands committed to promoting sustainable building by supporting research and educational programs to design and build housing that conserves water and energy. Green Habitats is developing scholarship programs to Georgia Tech to benefit undergraduate students that dedicate their careers to protecting the Earth's resources. Green Habitats conducts its own research and development for water-monitoring and conservation technology and will continue to fund more projects like the Solar D House that add more comprehensive research and education on what is possible through sustainable energy. “If we can implement eco-consciousness at the design stage,” Lie-Nielsen explains, “the builders will follow these designs.” This means the students of architecture and engineering schools should have access to projects and resources that lead them to think in terms of sustainable construction and green systems. Thus, the catalyst of the Green Habitats agenda—support the students who will design and build a sustainable tomorrow.

Living Room in the Solar Decathlon House

Solar Panels on the Solar D House

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