Solar Decathlon

OHNY staff was recently contacted by one of our volunteers, Joanna Ma, about her involvement in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, an international competition held in Washington, D.C. that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

the team at the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida

On April 16, 2010, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu formally announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the next Solar Decathlon. Joanna is a member of Team New York, an interdisciplinary team of students from The Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York, and the only urban team in this year’s prestigious international competition.

their modular, contemporary design solution

During the next 16 months, Team New York will finalize their prototype, dubbed the Solar Roofpod, a net-zero energy structure specifically designed for sitting atop urban commercial or residential roofs. The Solar Roofpod will enjoy beneficial access to solar radiation, wind, water and rooftop greenery and enable city-dwellers to experience what it is like to live in a sustainable fashion.

model displayed at the International Builders Show

The construction of the home will take place on the City College campus in Harlem, and the home will sit upon a rooftop terrace site at the school. Team New York is one of the few teams in which students produce the construction drawings and are involved with the actual construction.

The Solar Roofpod also corresponds with the agenda outlined by New York City’s sustainability plan for 2030, ‘plaNYC’, by addressing and improving the environment through such means as the heat island effect and Co2 sequestration.


To learn more about the Solar Decathlon, or Team New York’s Solar Roofpod, For information about sponsoring Team New York or to make a donation please visit:


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