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Photo of a group of young students listening to a presentation in front of SU CASA's porch at the Mission Verde Center @ Cooper. Enlarge image

In 2008, groHome was reconstructed at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.
(Courtesy of Richard Nira)

Who: Texas A&M University
What: groHome
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
8604 FM 969
Austin, TX 78724
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Public tours: Visitors are welcome the first Friday of every month. For tour information, call 512-928-4786.

Solar Decathlon 2007

Texas A&M University: Changing With the Times

Constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2007, Texas A&M's groHome was reconstructed in spring 2008 on the grounds of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. The house was open for public tours over the course of the next year and hosted thousands of visitors. Following the exhibit, the College of Architecture partnered with the Texas Center for Applied Technology and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station to dismantle and move groHome to its next destination.

On Jan. 25, 2010, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro introduced the house as a centerpiece of the Mission Verde Center @ Cooper in San Antonio. Mission Verde was established to provide training in sustainable industries for jobless community members. groHome served the community in an economically disadvantaged area where James Fennimore Cooper Middle School once stood, as a multipurpose educational, training, and research facility at Mission Verde. The house was renamed SU CASA (Sustainable Urban Center for the Advancement of San Antonio) for its new role in the community.

"Through the demonstration, implementation, and evaluation of a broad range of sustainability strategies and technologies, the center can play a critical role as a transformational model for sustainable redevelopment of disadvantaged communities," said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture at Texas A&M.

In November 2013, it was announced that The Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems – a nonprofit organization specializing in innovative systems to build sustainable communities – would welcome Texas A&M University’s Solar Decathlon 2007 entry to their East Austin campus the following month.

“The Texas A&M Solar Decathlon (house) will expand visibility, show the value of green building, and function as a learning laboratory for people to experience inspiration in pushing the boundaries of sustainable architecture,” said Gail Vittori, co-director of The Center.

groHome was to join the University of Texas at Austin 2002 Solar Decathlon entry, Mobile Utility Unit, and other experimental structures, such as the Advanced Green Builder Demonstration Home, as part of The Center’s demonstration campus.

Thanks to a vision larger than one house, one school, or one competition, the Texas A&M Solar Decathlon 2007 team succeeded in making a contribution to the sustainable future.