Solar Roofpod Update
Back in 2010, I began writing for Proud Green Home, reporting on The City College of New York’s (CCNY) preparation for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon competition. The event, which challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate a solar-powered home, spurs innovative solutions and regionally vernacular designs.
At that time, our team was compiling construction document sets, attracting sponsorship, and venturing out on a public awareness campaign. However, these phases were glimpses of a long term goal. After the competition in Washington D.C. ended in September 2011, Team New York members and friends dreamed of its afterlife. Thousands of visitors comprehended the message of urban sustainability and the need to harvest the city’s sunlight and space. How could this exhibit transform into a lasting legacy?
I’m now proud to report that, four years later, Team New York’s Solar Roofpod has finally returned to CCNY’s campus! Designed and built as an urban exhibit for sustainable living, the Solar Roofpod is structured to integrate with ample New York City rooftop space. The Solar Roofpod now rests upon the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture building at CCNY campus.
A fundraising campaign, spearheaded by its School of Architecture and Architecture Alumni Group, have helped raise over $200,000 for its revival. The Solar Roofpod will now serve as a living lab, a pedagogical inspiration for future students and as a forum for intellectual exchange on urban sustainability and technology.
The solar home is a model for harnessing the potential of its encompassing urban environment. At under 1,000 square feet, this ‘micro-home’ is a leading example of the micro-apartment developments the City of New York later unveiled in 2013 in response to a shortage of affordable housing. We realized, four years ago, that the Solar Roofpod could be a chronic solution for space, cost, and energy efficient city living. Now we further recognize, and can share, its ability.
For those unfamiliar with the project, the pod is equipped with plenty of green features, including a solar array of photovoltaic panels that could theoretically produce enough energy to distribute it to tenants of the host building below. Moreover energy management systems help these tenants monitor and regulate energy consumption. Energy-efficient lighting, a thermally-driven HVAC system, a rooftop garden, stormwater management and irrigation system, and the use of renewable materials also ensure the ‘sustainability’ of the pod.
Interested in its green residential features? To catch instant updates on the pod, check out Team New York’s twitter feed: www.twitter.com/solarroofpod.
Photo: Solar Roofpod assembly, Washington DC, Solar Decathlon 2011, by Albert Vecerka
Farah Naz Ahmad was born in New York City and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The City College of New York. She is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design + Construction. Her career goal is to make an impact on the field of sustainability in design and construction. Her past roles as President of CCNY's American Institute of Architecture Students and as a team leader for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon have increased her passion for eco-friendly design.www