City College of New York became the first small urban school to enter the Solar Decathlon this year, entering its Solar Roofpod. The concept was was designed to combine the most abundant energy source- solar power- with the city’s most underutilized surfaces- rooftops.
The solar panels not only power the pod itself, but provide a significant amount of energy to the building below. This energy accounts for roughly 75 percent of lighting in the hallways and utility rooms. The thermal energy is stored in an HVAC system using a Phase Change Material tank, reducing typical thermal storage space by 50 percent.
Team CCNY designed the pod with easily self-customizable options to facilitate mass production. The exterior is composed of 8ft x 5ft panels so that the user may choose placement of windows.
The exterior provides troughs to capture rainwater and produce beds for the user to harvest fresh food. The interior includes a system to monitor the amount of water used by the inhabitant. The pod’s living room is one of the largest living spaces in the competition.
Team New York, the youngest team in the competition, has worked on the project over the past three years. The students first conceptualized the project for a class project which quickly evolved into a structure capable of altering urban living. The team met with New York Mayor Bloomberg in hopes that the eco-forward city authority would support their project. They were somewhat discouraged by the mayor’s unreceptive response to the innovation.
So, would you consider living in a luxurious and eco-friendly penthouse in New York City with construction cost only a fraction of most buildings similar in size?