Image via Fast Company
Image via Fast Company

Three recent architecture graduates from the Netherlands are turning one Detroit home into a model of sustainable design for the neighborhood, reports Fast Company writer Adele Peters. The Motown Movement project seeks to use the rundown home as a way to demonstrate implementing low-cost, DIY techniques to make other homes more sustainable.

"We thought we should create a sustainable example," says 22-year-old Ronen Dan, one of the students behind the project. The house, a two-family home, will be turned into a training center on the first floor, where anyone can come see how a heat pump works, or take a workshop on how to install insulation to reduce energy use as much as 70%. (A family that lost their home through foreclosure will be given the second floor.)

The home will be outfitted with many sustainable and energy-saving features, such as rooftop solar panels, a gray water system to collect rain, and septic tank that will turn sewage into biogas and fertilizer.

Though some of the techniques, such as better insulation, are particularly applicable for Detroit's housing stock, the students say the project can easily be adapted for other locations. "That's why we're using a wide range of techniques and simple methods," says Dominik Lukkes, one of the students. "We want to try to make it adaptable for every climate zone or every country . . . we're trying to make it as universal as possible."

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