HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – A planned sustainable community in Brownsville has acquired its first inhabitant.

Jacqueline Lerma signing for her future home at Habitat Zero joined by Astreia founder, Dr. Natalie Rens. (Courtesy: Astreia)

Brownsville native Jacqueline Lerma, 21, is one year away from completing her degree in graphic design at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Along with the excitement of graduation, Lerma is also looking forward to moving into her future home, but it’s not like other homes around Brownville.

Through a press release, Astreia, a sustainable home builder with a planned community in Brownsville called Habitat Zero, announced that Lerma is the first person to purchase a home from their company.

Astreia was founded with the vision of building a self-sustaining habitat on Mars. Founder Dr. Natalie Rens said in a March interview with ValleyCentral that in order to get to that point, they need to start on Earth first.

“For Astreia the ultimate goal for us is to build the settlements on Mars. We’re trying to get there as aggressively as we can,” said Rens. With Lerma’s purchase, the company is one step closer to that goal.

For Lerma, the decision to take a chance with Astreia instead of a traditional residential construction company had to do with the technology that will be integrated into the homes.

“I had this plan in my mind to go with a traditional company at first because that was all that I knew,” said Lerma. “I chose [Astreia] over a traditional company due to their advancement in technology. Astreia is striving to produce a high-quality sustainability home as a whole rather than what a traditional company might do.”

Habitat Zero will consist of 125 homes near the Brownsville airport. The homes will be equipped with solar panels, Tesla power storage batteries, steel and impact-resistant windows, and electric vehicle chargers. They will also include a home control system to help achieve high efficiency and have the ability to withstand 144 mph wind speeds.

Astreia now is among several space-themed companies in the area, following companies like SpaceX and Paragon VTOL Aerospace, supporting Brownsville’s goal of becoming the next “space city.”

“I think it’s very different and new. Sometimes new can be scary. It’s a different approach than what we are used to or to say, I am used to, but personally, I’m interested in seeing our community advance,” said Lerma.

Lerma looks forward to growing leafy greens in a hydroponic garden for her tortoise at her new home, tentatively early next year.

Pricing for homes can be found on their website and range from $165 to $191 per square foot.