Is your city well prepared for a natural disaster? After Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City, architects vowed to build smarter towards greater resiliency. One urban approach is the DURAhome, a modular net-zero structure that mitigates disaster damage with energy-efficient and adaptable design. Developed by the New York City College of Technology, the solar-powered DURAhome fits into a typical 25-by-100-foot New York City lot and can be quickly stacked to create a space-saving multistory dwelling in times of unexpected disasters.
The New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) developed the DURAhome—Diverse, Urban, Resilient, and Adaptable—for the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon that’ll kick off this Thursday, October 8. Designed to symbolize the diversity of New York City and the NYCCT team members, the modular timber house emphasizes adaptability through open floor plans that can appeal to the different needs of a diverse population. The stackable house comprises multifunctional moveable furniture to facilitate different room configurations, from the bedroom that doubles as a home office or child’s play area to the patio that can be transformed into an outdoor kitchen.
The ADA-compliant DURAhome is a model of proactive resilient design, and combines passive technologies with low energy systems to create a high-performance energy-efficient building. The well-insulated house generates electricity through photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels, thermal electric panels, while a heat chimney, low-entropy recovery ventilator, and trombe wall help regulate indoor temperatures throughout the year. Windows are triple-glazed to further prevent unnecessary heat loss and gain, and also reduce glare and improve access to natural light. Greywater recycling systems and rainwater collection systems used for irrigation reduce the water footprint. The home automation system monitors temperature, humidity, light levels, and motion in the house to optimize energy use.
“DURA is designed for urban families who are passionate about energy conservation and believe that a home is an important factor in the overall quality of life,” says the team about their market strategy. “They live full lives, often entertain friends, and sometimes work from home. The family has goals to expand, and DURA’s adaptability provides for a growing atmosphere of healthy living.” After the Solar Decathlon ends, the NYCCT team will showcase the DURAhome at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show in January 2016 and hopes to donate the solar-powered home to a disabled veteran.
Images via DURAhome