Sustainable housing education center provides Detroiters with affordable ways to reduce energy bills

Press Release March 2017

Sustainable housing education center provides Detroiters with affordable ways to reduce energy bills

DETROIT, MI - Climate change impacts everyone. Sustainable housing technologies to cut carbon emissions exist, but are often too expensive or unknown to the majority of people. The Motown Movement, a nonprofit initiative created by three Dutch architecture students, wants to make sustainable housing accessible for everyone by transforming a blighted house in Detroit into an education center for neighborhood residents. Hands-on workshops and resources designed to help people save money and energy will be available.

The Motown Movement is collaborating with several organizations, including Focus:HOPE, EcoWorks and The Greening of Detroit. A crowdfunding campaign for the transformation of the house into the education center runs for a month ending on April 18. After the home is completed (mid-june), the students will publish all their work on their website, in a documentary and a book.

The purchased house is a vacant, two-family home on Ford Street in Detroit. The ground floor and basement will be home to the training and resource center where free workshops will be given on sustainable building and where neighbors can meet, work and share. The second floor unit will be available to a family in need. The demonstration home ensures that the family has lower energy bills and also gives inspiration to other families, neighborhoods, cities and countries. The methods the students develop together with the Lawrence Technological University of Southfield (LTU) and the Technological University of Delft (TU/d) will be low-budget and do-it-yourself, so they can be applied in any home by anyone.

The Greening of Detroit is also collaborating with the Motown Movement to engage community residents in the vision and installation of a community garden and green space next to the demonstration home. “We look forward to working with the community on this project. We are impressed with the passion and expertise of these young students and their efforts to involve the community in every aspect of this initiative. This will be a real asset to the community,” said Trish Hubbell, director of Community and Public Relations at The Greening of Detroit.

“Before we visited Detroit, we expected to see an exceptional phenomenon: a metropolitan city in full decay. Instead, we saw a city putting itself back together and recovering its lost glory,” said Ronen Dan, co-founder of Motown Movement.  “This inexhaustible dedication inspired us as young architecture students. We see great potential in implementing simple but effective technologies that go along with the Motor City’s resilient, independent and free spirit. We want to share knowledge to inspire and motivate other residents to participate in the city’s rebirth.”

To support The Motown Movement go to

Note to the editors

For more information visit the website


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Figure 1.  (FLTR) Bob, Dominik and Ronen in front of the home on 1995 Ford St, Detroit, Mi 48238




Figure 2. Current situation of the house on 1995 Ford St. Detroit, Mi 48238


Figure 3. Visualization of the result of the house on 1995 Ford St. Detroit, Michigan 48238


Figure 4. Diagram of the mixed function in the home



Figure 5. A draft of all the possible sustainable interventions we will research

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Sustainable housing education center provides Detroiters with affordable ways to reduce energy bills 3/14/2017
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