More than a dozen universities from across the world are vying for the top spot in a competition hosted by the City of New York to build a school of applied science on city land. The winner looks to gain up to $400 million in land and infrastructure grants. Just days before the October 28th contest deadline, Cornell University and Stanford University sat at the top of the list, with both schools presenting lofty green plans for their proposed satellite campuses. The plans include acres of solar panels, hundreds of geothermal wells, and a goal to keep emissions and energy use down to a minimum. The competition proffers up three city spots, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Governors Island, and Roosevelt Island — both top contenders use Roosevelt’s southern tip as their location of choice.

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Roosevelt Island sits just East of Manhattan in the East River and is flanked on the opposite side by the borough of Queens. It is a thin, two mile long island that once hosted a penitentiary for petty violators and later a smallpox hospital that is now known as the Renwick Ruins. Mayor Michael Bloomberg started the contest in order to bring some of the energy of Silicon Valley’s applied science research to the great City of New York. In the process he’s hoping to revitalize one of these three mainly unused city-owned spots and give a boost to the city’s economy through the construction and operation of the new campus. Though the North end of Roosevelt Island sports high-rise rental buildings, the south end is mainly bare and Cornell and Stanford plan to turn the space around into a spot pulsing with the energy next great minds in science.

Cornell’s plan integrates what would be the city’s largest solar array at 1.8 megawatts and will be home to ten buildings, two of which will be net-zero. The two buildings would create the same amount of energy as they produce and that statistic won’t just cover the lighting and heating of the structures but also the gadgets they house. The two buildings would produce enough energy to offset even the MacBooks and iPads used by the students of applied sciences.

Both Cornell and Stanford plan to use energy deep within the ground to help with keeping the demands of the buildings environmentally sound. Stanford’s plans include heat pumps that act as a temperature control system that uses no water. Outside of their buildings, Stanford joins the 2011 Solar Decathlon winner — the University of Maryland’s Watershed house — in their rainwater collection strategy. Stanford is planning to build a wetland on site to recycle rainwater and greywater from the on-site bathrooms.

Stay tuned to Inhabitat to hear who wins the spot on this unique New York City sponsored competition that some people are calling Silicon Island. The City is expected to make a decision by the end of the year. You can learn more about the project and download the official RFP the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s website.

+ Applied Sciences NYC

Via New York Times