On Friday I had the luxury of going up on the lift to see all of the houses at the Solar Decathlon in West Potomac Park in Washington. The view from up top made all of the houses actually look like a small village:
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see many of the other houses because I was concentrating on my team, the City College of New York. Though the team finished in 17th place, they incorporated a lot of very interesting and marketable innovations into their home.
Quite possibly the most interesting aspect of the home itself is that it it intended to sit on top of an apartment building in New York City and supply power for not only the individuals living inside of the home, but also to the common areas of the apartment building bellow — including areas such as the lobby and hall lights.
The CCNY team’s philosophy was to build on already existing infrastructure in order to preserve what little space a congested city such as New York has available; a mentality that supports Kahn’s theory outlined in Climatopolis. The team easily agreed that cities are the place to truly make an impact — as the ONLY urban team in the competition and one of the youngest, it was argued that despite certain mishaps and loopholes in their design, the CCNY team’s concept was the most applicable to the marketplace.
Among other interesting innovations about the CCNY house included a one-of-a-kind HVAC system and a dunnage garden which sits on the exterior of the house and acts as a water filter, green roof space and also an area for garden to table farming.
The team was quick to admit that there were some issues with the house throughout the competition, but scientifically if this concept were to be applied to green building throughout not just New York City, but other cities throughout the world — Chicago, L.A., Shanghi — it could allow for serious opportunity in the sustainability arena.