Solar power potential for New York City

June 29, 2011 | by Farah Ahmad

On the longest day of the year, Team New York collaborated with the Museum of the City of New York, to raise a discussion about the implications and potential of solar power for New York City. How can sustainability be a long term goal, not simply a short term solution, to wasteful and costly energy consumption? Team New York set out to prove that its Solar Roof Pod is one prototype which supports green agendas, such as the Mayor's PlaNYC 2030, that seek to lower energy consumption in large cities.

The program, titled Harvesting the Sun: Solar Power in New York City featured presentations about the widespread impact of the pod, by students of Team New York, as well as a panel discussion. Present in the panel was Professor Hillary Brown, of The City College of New York, who serves as Advisor of the Master's Sustainability program, as well as Architecture Professor and Team Manager of Team New York, Christian Volkmann.

Special guests included Howard Slatkin, Director of Sustainability at the New York City Department of Planning, Mark Harrari, of Sustainable Real Estate Solutions and Co-President of PhBCatalyst Group, and Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability for the City University of New York.

New York City residents had the chance to attend the open forum event, and cited much interest in placing a 'Solar Roof Pod' on to their own rooftops as well. One resident asked, "Can I buy one now?" NYC residents were also interested in the pod's additional benefits, such as storm water management, and the rooftop garden and accompanying irrigation system, citing current environmental issues as struggles they faced every day.

In addition to public outreach and education about the importance of sustainability in urban environments, Team New York's students have been racing ahead in construction. Engineering and architecture students are merging together to get the pod's systems running. While erecting the pod's structure has been a time consuming, and physically exhausting task, the students have managed to get much of the framing complete. The pod is no longer simply a steel cage. Now the pod is a recognizable beauty. It has become a home to which team members commute to, from all around New York City, early in the morning, in order to get the day's tasks complete. The Pod now has a face to its name, as students can point out where each of the living spaces are in the house. The pod's infamous building blocks are also erected, allowing one to see the physical walls, atop the layers of flooring.

As the students have learned, construction is no easy feat, but it is incredibly rewarding. Every week, truck deliveries unload by a ramp, and students must transport materials up the ramp onto the rooftop terrace upon which the Solar Roof Pod proudly stands.

Students are proud to be building upon a rooftop terrace at their own school campus, at The City College of New York. Students and faculties, from all studies at the University, frequently come up onto the roof, wondering why such young beings adorn hardhats and steel toe boots every day. It is quite a sight to be upon the Solar Roof Pod and see the entire campus sprawling below one's feet!

Topics: Solar Power

Farah Ahmad / Farah Naz Ahmad was born in New York City and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The City College of New York. She is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design + Construction. Her career goal is to make an impact on the field of sustainability in design and construction. Her past roles as President of CCNY's American Institute of Architecture Students and as a team leader for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon have increased her passion for eco-friendly design.
View Farah Ahmad's profile on LinkedIn

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