For the past five years the Yazzie family have been living in a mobile home that has no running water or heat, and only half the trailer with functioning electricity. Seeing that his family's mobile home had no heat, at 13 years of age, son Garrett tapped his scientific intuition to create a solar heater and a water heater. To create these, he used recycled materials, including an old car transmission and 69 aluminum cans, combining them with power generated from the sun. Garrett's makeshift heating system followed the Navajo principles of living off the land, not wasting anything and recycling everything that the earth has to offer. For his invention, he became the first Navajo to win 9 out of the 10 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Awards.
Garrett dreamed of a nice home for his family and looked to nature to improve things. Now it's up to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to make that dream come true and give the Yazzie family the utilities they so desperately need, providing Georgia and her children a better future on the reservation. And while Ty and the designers, national builder HomeLife Communities and hundreds of volunteers and workers, are rebuilding their home in just seven days, the Yazzie family will go away to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.
This season every episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is going green by incorporating eco-friendly, low-energy and recyclable resources in the builds. On "Yazzie Family," at least 50% of all materials used were taken from a landfill within 500 miles of the building site and wood certified from FSC forests. Light sensors, fluorescent bulbs and numerous windows have been installed to enhance the Yazzie's lighting system. Their latest greenhouse will also collect rainwater for irrigation for their new and beautiful vegetable/herb garden. Solar panels will be used for water heating, and interior temperatures will be boosted by terminal heaters -- rather than large gas or electric tanks -- through heated coils installed in air ducts. In warm spots, grape vines will be used to cover walls to stop the sun from hitting the building directly. All appliances have been Energy Star rated, and the family will even have a "utilize energy block" to help them track their energy consumption.