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Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California
October 8-18, 2015

NY City Tech: New York City College of Technology

Team website:

For its first U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, New York City College of Technology took an urban approach to resilient, energy-efficient housing that adapts to the needs of a diverse city and its people. DURA—Diverse, Urban, Resilient, and Adaptable—is a product of the vibrant ethnic diversity of New York City developed with a strong connection to the natural environment. DURA aims to mitigate disaster damage, such as the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, while proving adaptable in use to appeal to diverse populations.

Design Philosophy

DURA represents the diversity of New York City and the New York City College of Technology team, so floor plans are open with design flexibility to appeal to diverse populations and adapt to a range of needs. For example, adaptable spaces can accommodate a home office, a bedroom, a mechanical room, or a child's play area. Superstorm Sandy devastated communities throughout New York City, so DURA is resilient to respond to such disasters.



    • The modular, robust wood frame is a straightforward solution for simple fabrication and quick erection.
    • Intended to plug into a typical New York City lot, DURA can be configured as a standalone unit or a four-unit high, double-length configuration.
    • Adaptable furniture can be accessed when needed and stored to maximize space.
    • The bedroom also serves as the home office, and the patio area doubles as an eating space with a cooking stove that can moved from the kitchen.


    • The 5.9-kW PV array of 19 panels generates electricity, while solar thermal panels provide hot water.
    • A low-entropy recovery ventilator regulates indoor temperature and humidity and supplies constant fresh air.
    • Rainwater from the roof is harvested and stored in tanks for watering the outdoor garden and green wall.
    • The home automation system monitors temperature, humidity, light levels, and motion throughout the house and helps balance energy use and automate basic tasks.


    Market Strategy

    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. 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.

    What's Next

    DURA's plans after Solar Decathlon 2015 are uncertain. A short-term possibility is a showcase at the 2016 National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show. Over the long term, the house may find a permanent home back at campus or at a Southern California environmental charter school.


    Alexander Aptekar

    Neither the United States, nor the Department of Energy, nor the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, nor any of their contractors, subcontractors, or their employees make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness for any purpose of any technical resources or data attached or otherwise presented here as reference material.