By Joanna M. Foster
Ominous storm clouds, bloated with rain, hang oppressively low and there’s an eerie green glow around the corners of everything. Lakiya Culley has just gotten home from work and her three boys Kamari, Christopher and Carl — aged two to seven — are trying to play basketball in the living room without getting into trouble and now and then circling nonchalantly around the kitchen counter, eying the yet uncut chocolate cake.
The cake is a house-warming present. You wouldn’t guess it from how at home everyone seems, but Lakiya and her boys have only lived here for about a month. Like any new homeowner Lakiya is eager to show off her new digs. She loves her big second story porch, especially when the boys get rowdy.
“I can go up there and close the door for a minute and I feel like I’m in the treetops, away from it all,” laughs Lakiya, holding Kamari on her hip giving him a knowing, wry smile.
Lakiya, who has worked as an administrative aid at the Department of State for nine years, also prefers the upstairs porch because sometimes when she sits on the front porch after work she has to field a lot of questions.
“Someone the other day asked me if this was a log cabin in the city,” said Lakiya. “Someone else asked me if I was hiring, people are always taking pictures. I guess that’s because it just looks different from the other houses on the block. I don’t mind though, I like to be a little different.”
That’s because Lakiya’s new home is the first super energy-efficient passive house in D.C. It also just happens to be a Habitat for Humanity home.
The house doesn’t look like a futuristic spaceship, but it is different from the other small pre-fab houses along the street. It is a two home duplex with a big wooden porch in front and, of course, solar panels on the roof.