Campus & Community

Award-Winning Solar House Built by Stevens Institute of Technology Students Arrives at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), Where it Will Become a Veterans Center

Hoboken, N.J. – A ceremony at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) celebrated the arrival of Ecohabit, an award-winning, zero-net energy solar house created by team of interdisciplinary Stevens Institute of Technology students.

Ecohabit, which won fourth place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, will live on permanently as a veterans center on the CSUSM campus, supporting CSUSM’s significant student veteran population.

The Solar Decathlon is a prestigious biannual competition in which a select group of global university teams compete to innovative cost-effective, energy-efficient housing solutions.

Ecohabit – which earned second in the U.S. and fourth place overall in the Solar Decathlon – features numerous innovative, green technologies, including a central control system which collects and analyzes data to preserve energy and teach the its occupants to live more sustainably.

Stevens is donating Ecohabit to CSUSM to become an eco-friendly veterans center. Located near several military installations, approximately ten percent of CSUSM’s student population is a veteran, service member, reservist or dependent.

“The Veterans Center will provide a bridge to help civilian students learn more about vets, dispel misconceptions and raise awareness of the advantages that student veterans bring to our community,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Lorena Meza.

 “The opportunity to turn ‘Ecohabit’ into a functioning facility for returning veterans made the Solar Decathlon competition a truly meaningful experience for our students,” said Dr. Michael Bruno, dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science at Stevens.

The veterans center will be rebuilt on campus across from Markstein Hall, replacing a smaller facility which opened in Craven Hall in 2008.

The 1,000-square-foot veterans center is expected to be in use in fall 2014, with almost all of Ecohabit’s emerging green technologies and design innovations functioning.

Featuring an office, conference room, kitchen, lounge and event space, the veterans center will be a place for military-affiliated students to get their GI benefits, navigate the admission process, register for courses, access campus resources, get involved in leadership activities and transition into the civilian work world services.

In addition, the veterans center will advance knowledge of energy efficient design, directly supporting CSUSM’s commitment to sustainability and green building. CSUSM students will collaborate with Stevens students to monitor and analyze data on energy use, weather and temperature and the effect they have on energy efficiency.

“This new facility will further enhance our ability to serve those who have served us,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes. 

In 2011, Stevens also donated that year’s Solar Decathlon entry to Habitat for Humanity, where it became a permanent home of a low-income family in Washington, D.C.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University®, is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Founded in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research programs for more than 140 years. Within the university’s three schools and one college, more than 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with more than 350 faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment to advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront global challenges. Stevens is home to three national research centers of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on critical industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defense and STEM education and coastal sustainability. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on investment for students, career services programs and mid-career salaries of alumni. Stevens is in the midst of a 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create., designed to further extend the Stevens legacy to create a forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.