When people talk about green energy, climate adaptation, and global warming, concrete isn’t usually the first material that comes to mind. It might not even be mentioned at all. Team New Jersey, competing at the 2011 Depart of Energy Solar Decathalon, will change this perception. They have harnessed the power of concrete as a green technology of the future. Students and faculty from Rutgers University and New Jersey Institute of Technology have married the age-old technology of concrete with a cutting-edge, high-performance, energy-efficient design. Can concrete be green? Very. And here’s why:
- The house is made out of precast concrete panels that can be transported by truck; this house can be broken down and moved to another location with relative ease. You don’t have to buy another house just to move to another city, town, or state.
- Concrete traps heat. And since the entire ENJOY house is made of concrete, residents can regulate the indoor temperature whether it’s cold or hot without the need for traditional heating and cooling methods, which waste scarce fossil fuels and release carbon emissions.
- This house can last for several lifetimes. Concrete is an easily reparable material unlike traditional American homes built with wood and shingled roofs. Any damage to the ENJOY house can be fixed. How? Just add more concrete! Rebuilding severely damaged homes can be expensive and energy-wasteful. The ENJOY house can withstand a volatile climate and be easily repaired.
The aesthetics of the house can be jarring at first, but it is about adaptation and a future that will not look like the present for better or for worse. The ENJOY house doesn’t look like the “American Dream” house, but that is a good thing. The status quo cannot be sustained, but mass-produced ENJOY houses are good for your wallet and your environment.