Solar Roof Pod

One of the first lessons you learn in a big city is the concept of “space”, rather, too little of it. While our country cousins may learn about the cycles of the moon and that those three stars in a line make up Orion’s belt, those of us who live in a dense, high-rise metropolis learn how to make the most of a shoe-box sized apartment and covet having doors to our bedrooms.

This lack of urban space has lead to The City College of New York Team’s concept for the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The international competition challenges 20 college teams from New Zealand, Belgium, Canada and China as well as across the United States to take on issues of creating solar-powered homes. Aside from the problems the teams already face, Team New York (one of two New York City teams, the other being a collaboration between the New School Parsons School of Architecture and Stevens Institute of Technology) has a unique problem: there just aren’t enough places to build homes here that will receive enough sunlight.

Or are there? As one Team New York member states on their website (ccnysolardecathlon.com): “Our most wasted resource is the sun and our most wasted space is our rooftops.” Their entry, “The Solar Roof Pod,” takes advantage of these oft-ignored spaces by creating modular dwellings out of lightweight renewable materials, and addresses New York City’s 2030 sustainable agenda. What could be better than being sustainable while taking advantage of the best piece of real-estate New York has to offer? Where else can you imagine building a house that can be transported via staircase or elevator to the roof and assembled on site?  And at 746-square feet, it’s  bigger than the place many of us are  living in at the moment.

Look for this solar shoe box in the sky, and the other competitor prototypes on display, from September 23 to October 2, at the Solar Decathlon, in Washington, D.C.’s National Mall West Potomac Park.

You can see the entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon here, and read more about the other New York entry here.

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