Brennan Stark '17 Builds the First Affordable, Eco-Friendly Home in Wilmington

2017 Archmere graduate Brennan Stark has made headlines for years in his quest to tackle the problem of homelessness in our area. What began as an idea when he was at Archmere is now a creative solution to an ongoing problem and as of last weekend, a completed city project. On Saturday, February 23rd, Brennan hosted an Open House for his project, the first ever affordable, eco-friendly, straw bale home in Wilmington. 

Currently a sophomore in the University of Delaware Honors Program, Brennan not only leads but also co-founded Y Innovations Inc., a federally recognized tax-exempt 501(c)(3) scientific research based nonprofit corporation. Y Innovations Inc. was created by Brennan while he was at Archmere to develop innovations and stimulate public interest in key areas of rapidly developing technology, in the hopes of leading humanity into a bright future. The student-led nonprofit started in 2016 with its goal of formulating creative solutions to common problems, such as homelessness. The company has been featured by multiple publications ever since they built their first sustainable development project, a small storage shed at the Siegel JCC. Brennan has also been a key speaker at the Independence School's TEDxYouth program, and in November of 2017 was honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Brandywine Chapter with a Youth in Philanthropy Award.

600 square-foot, two bedroom home in Wilmington's 9th Ward is the first straw bale, net-zero energy home of its kind. Solar panels make the home unique in its effort to help with affordable housing as they eliminate electricity bills. Brennan explained in his interview, "The exterior walls are insulated with straw bales which means that it's really energy efficient. It's about R32, which is double what you would find in a traditional home. When you put solar panels on the roof, too--you get this net-zero energy effect where you produce as much energy, every month, as you use."

Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz was on-hand last weekend for the Open House, and stated of the project: "Wilmington does have vacant lots and we do have homeless individuals, so I think they came up with a really good solution to address that. This is the foundation for anyone to be able to get up on their feet--to have a place where you can call home, rest your head, and be able to go to a job."

This project is just a starting point for Y Innovations. Brennan concluded his interview by stating, "...they'll take what they've learned from the long process on the first home to streamline things on future projects."

For the full article and video of the Open House and interviews, click here.

For pictures of the house and more information, visit the Y Innovations Facebook Page by clicking here.

To learn more about Y Innovations Inc. visit their website: click here.

To read the full article on the TEDxYouth program, click here.
    • Picture courtesy of Kevin Hayes, WDEL

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