With 100 members, Team New York'11
is a multicultural and interdisciplinary Solar Decathlon
team from the City College of New York, a college within the City University of New York. Composed of all undergraduate students, we are proud to have been the youngest and most student-engaged team in this year’s competition. Over 30 engineering students and 60 architecture students helped to make Solar Roofpod
a reality. Approximately 10 faculty members from both schools served as advisors.
Originating from many different ethnicities, and residing all over New York City, Team New York included students from the standard disciplines of architecture and engineering, but also from communications, film, and graphic design. We, the students, were involved in every project phase and thoroughly engaged in all project tasks. My student teammates and I were responsible for everything from conception, design and drawings to communications deliverables, construction and operation.
Team New York participated in the Solar Decathlon to introduce the public to an urban concept for the first time in the competition’s history. Our design is unique, as it will serve not only as a single-family residence, but also as a piece of urban infrastructure. Solar Roofpod is a solution for our growing cities.
Our modular, flexible penthouse design uses lightweight, durable, renewable materials and incorporates photovoltaic (PV) technologies. We chose to use SunPower panels, as the company represents the ideals of our home, sustainability and energy efficiency
. We installed a 10.08 kilowatt solar system with SunPower E19 / 240 solar panels
to power the house during the competition.
Solar Roofpod is an urban prototype. Rooftops of buildings in cities are largely underutilized, yet they offer true potential as living spaces because of their direct access to sun, wind and water. Designed for flat rooftops of existing mid-rise residential or commercial buildings, Team New York's Solar Roofpod aims to enable eco-conscious urban dwellers to live sustainably, as stewards of a more resilient urban environment. Solar thermal collectors supply clean energy for hot water, heating and cooling, and an innovative monitoring and control system allows users to be energy efficient while maintaining a level of comfort inside the pod. Solar Roofpod’s design allows for the cost-effective collection and delivery of solar power (not only to the home, but also to the host building and the city’s power grid), cultivation of roof gardens and recycling of storm water.
Solar Roofpod was featured on “The Early Show” a national television show on CBS, and on New York 1 News. Our team’s design has appeared in approximately 100 print and web publications. Prior to the Solar Decathlon competition, we presented to high school and college students, as well as the Museum of the City of New York and the New York City Mayor’s Office. We also took part in several urban design expositions, such as the New York City Solar Summit, the Urban Green Exposition and the AIA Westchester Fair.
Solar Decathlon 2011 was a memorable experience for everyone on the team. The three weeks onsite in Washington DC consisted of assembly, public exhibition, contests and disassembly. Our team’s architecture and engineering students had to collaborate quickly to get the house assembled and operating. Once assembly was complete, the team conducted house tours for media, VIP guests and the general public. The Solar Roofpod received over 10,000 visitors in a period of ten days!
Though Team New York did not win the overall Solar Decathlon competition, Solar Roofpod was certainly a favorite amongst public visitors, who claimed the house was attractive and maintained a unique concept amongst all nineteen entries. The hands-on experience at Solar Decathlon 2011 has steered some team members towards more specific building industries, including construction management and sustainable design.
As Public Relations Manager for Team New York, I learned how to design with energy efficiency in mind and how to clearly communicate my ideas, since interviews and public tours were frequent throughout the Solar Decathlon. I am thrilled to report that our team placed fourth in the Communications category.