EMPOWERHOUSE is a solar-powered, net-zero home built to Passive House standards. It won 1st place in the Affordability Contest at the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. As opposed to many other Solar Decathlon entries, the EMPOWERHOUSE does not have a lot of built-in technology, but rather relies on insulation and airtight construction to drastically reduce its demand for energy. As a result of this practical approach to green building, the EMPOWERHOUSE was successfully moved to a neighborhood in Washington D.C., where it won the Mayor’s Sustainability Award and is currently home to two families. It is the first Passive House in Washington D.C., as well as the first project in the history of the Solar Decathlon to actually serve as real housing after the competition.

In addition to reviewing design plans and ensuring all systems were installed according to specifications during the construction process, ReVireo performed various inspections to make sure EMPOWERHOUSE was as energy efficient as possible. Among the type of inspections performed were envelope tightness (Blower Door) and air sealing & insulation.

Client Feedback

“The ReVireo team was accessible, efficient, and knowledgeable. They provided valuable guidance for the EMPOWERHOUSE Project. ReVireo helped our team determine areas for improvement in our envelope, which resulted in maximum air tightness. The staff was friendly and professional and were key supporters in our project performing on the National Mall in the competition and ultimately, as the first net zero house in DC.” – Heather Zanoni, Former Project Manager & Communications Officer, The New School


EMPOWERHOUSE Collaborative

Building Type

Single Family


Washington D.C., D.C. Metro


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