Wednesday, January 30, 2013

City College to Erect Solar-Powered House on Its Roof

This summer, City College of New York will welcome home its 2011 entry to the U.S. Solar Decathlon. The solar-panel-topped house, dubbed the Solar Roofpod, will be fully reassembled in its new home atop the Spitzer School of Architecture in time for the fall semester, flanked by rooftop gardens and an energy-generating windmill. The house - designed to demonstrate that the urban house of the future can be energy efficient and attractive - will be used as a meeting space and teaching device to show the benefits of environmentally-friendly design and materials.

Solar Roofpod was designed as a prototype structure that could easily attach to the roofs of buildings in high-density neighborhoods in cities like New York.

A team of more than 100 students at the Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering designed and built the structure.

More than 100 students participated in the design and construction of the pod, which contains a cooling system run off heat, known as an exhaustive cooling system, and a glass with a reflective coating that is invisible to the human eye but is visible to birds to prevent them from crashing.

The pod has all sorts of potential applications when it comes to urban housing. Flooding from Hurricane Sandy showed how important it was to lift the mechanical elements of buildings out of the basement. Placing them on the roof using the pod design is one possibility.

The roofpod has a modular design, making it easy to assemble on the city's rooftops. It also features rainwater collection, and windows and blinds have been programmed to open and close to keep the space at an optimal temperature to save energy. Portions of the pod could be controlled from an iPhone.

More than $1 million in donated material and volunteer hours was used to construct the roofpod, which was completed in August 2011 before it was dismantled, shrink-wrapped and shipped to Washington, D.C., for the competition.  [see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jul 7, 2011]

The Solar Roofpod  was built, designed and decorated by students. It was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2011 as one of the finalists in the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, a biennial student competition to design ultra-sustainable homes. The solar roofpod had been disassembled and stored in a New Jersey warehouse following the competition.

In June, the process will begin to place the roofpod on the City College campus.