Reason #1: Mitigating climate change while bracing for its effects.
The good news is that though the long-term effects of climate change are frightening, complex, and difficult to predict accurately, the solution is simple: stop burning fossil fuels. What does that look like?
In the case of buildings, it essentially means designing to drastically reduce lifecycle energy consumption and then providing the remaining energy that is needed through clean renewable sources. The interesting thing is that if we apply existing cutting edge technologies toward that goal a lot of positive side effects emerge including lower lifetime operational costs, longer service lives, and better indoor quality. The list goes on, but the point is that we have the know-how and technology to make much better buildings. Climate change is simply supplying the mandate to implement the improvements.
What’s more, our buildings are responsible for about half of our collective carbon footprint in the US, so taking them out of the climate change equation goes a long way to fixing the problem. For all of these reasons, we see climate change as an exciting design challenge. It’s an opportunity, not a burden.
Photo: Hypnotica Studios Infinite, via Flickr
Dealing with our new reality.
Climate change is here. SURE HOUSE tries to deal with this reality, and tries to minimize the cause in its efficiency and net zero energy use. Learn more about the house.
Reason #2: Educating the next generation of problem solvers.
The Stevens Institute of Technology, now competing in its third US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, sees this competition as a truly special opportunity for our students, allowing them to learn about solar energy and high-performance construction through a rigorous research and experimentation based process.
The Stevens Institute invests tremendous energy, time and resources not only because we recognize the importance of advancing solar energy technology in general, but also because of the effect that programs such as this have on the education of its students. Learning by doing, learning by working together, learning by close collaboration with industry professionals – these are the hallmarks of a unique curriculum which goes far beyond a simple ‘class’ and redefines what it means to learn design and engineering in the 21st century.
Photo: Christopher Robinson
Reason #3: Partnering with Seaside Park and the Jersey Shore.
After a thorough analysis of the surrounding shore communities – each devastated by the effects of Superstorm Sandy, we have identified the Town of Seaside Park, NJ to be our community partner. Long before sustainability became a household concern, the community of Seaside Park has been quietly pioneering a Dune Rehabilitation program, showcasing over 30 years of longstanding co-existence with mother nature.
Upon returning from Irvine, California in the Fall of 2015, the Sure House will be delivered to a selected location along Ocean Avenue in the heart of Seaside Park. The home will then become a permanent community outreach center and information resource. This will establish an off-campus presence for Stevens Institute faculty that will serve the shore community in terms of public outreach, educational opportunities, and continued dialogue.
Photo credit: Marc Cappelletti, via Flickr