The students at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., have completed work on the SURE HOUSE, an energy efficient house that’s been built to better withstand storms with the force of Hurricane Sandy.
The SURE HOUSE is the university’s entry into the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon, a contest that challenges participants to build solar-powered homes. In addition to being functional, the houses are expected to be economical, environmentally conscious and attractive. But in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the students at Stevens decided to go above and beyond the contest’s requirements.
“Hurricane Sandy devastated many houses on the Jersey Shore,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin. “This Stevens team said, ‘We will build a house that will satisfy all of the constraints the Department of Energy has given us, but there is one other thing that we want to do – we will also build a house that is hurricane proof.’”
The students have spent the past two years building the one-story, 1,000 sq ft home, with its name created to emphasize that it is both sustainable and resilient. They constructed the house using materials intended for boat building, adding storm shutters made of composite foam core and wrapped in fiberglass to create a layer of protection against strong weather. By using self-generated solar power, students were able to lower the property’s energy consumption by 90% over the amount normally needed to power a home. They also outfitted the house with the equipment needed to serve as an emergency power resource for surrounding areas in case of power loss.
The SURE HOUSE was built in Hoboken and will be shipped to Irvine, Calif., to be judged in the Solar Decathlon. Following the competition, it will be sent to Seaside Park, N.J., to be used to educate the public about steps that can be taken to protect coastal communities from future storms. Also competing in the Solar Decathlon is New York City College of Technology. The school’s submission, DURA house, is geared toward providing post-disaster housing in a densely populated city.