John Nastasi, lead faculty for the Solar Decathlon project and director of Stevens' Product-Architecture & Engineering program, opened the ceremony by describing the house as the product of two intense years of hard work. Nastasi thanked the many supporters of SURE HOUSE, including the staff of Mayor Zimmer, local officials, regional politicians, Stevens Trustees Annmarie Rizzo '86 and Thomas Moschello '63 and sponsors IEEE, PSEG, Langan Engineering, Circle BMW, NRG Home Solar and The Vinyl Institute.
Nastasi then introduced Stevens President Nariman Farvardin, telling attendees that in all of his teaching experience, he had never met a president so enthusiastic about a project.
In his remarks, President Farvardin detailed his extensive relationship with the Solar Decathlon, dating back to 2000 when he was a dean at the University of Maryland. He described the competition as the perfect educational vehicle for a university environment because it encourages fresh ideas and goes beyond fundamentals and theories by challenging students to “design a house from scratch” with all the constraints of real-world construction. The SURE HOUSE produces all the energy it needs by itself, he explained. In accordance with competition guidelines, the energy cap of the house may not exceed 175 kilowatt hours for the duration of the 10-day competition.
President Farvardin also emphasized how the SURE HOUSE goes above and beyond the criteria set out by the Solar Decathlon, which primarily focuses on energy efficiency. By building a storm-resilient house that is capable of protecting against Hurricane Sandy-like storms, the SURE HOUSE brings a new twist no other house brings to the competition, he said. Sharing his excitement about the SURE HOUSE’s chances in the upcoming Solar Decathlon, President Farvardin noted he will visit Irvine on the last day of the competition.
As the mayor of a city directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Zimmer recalled how Stevens students came to the aid of the city during that critical period. Now they have taken “further reflection and their innovation” to help coastal communities like Hoboken, she said.
Zimmer marveled at features that allow the house to isolate itself from the power grid so that it can provide up to two weeks of standby power during power outages after a storm. She also remarked that the SURE HOUSE design counters the need to build homes above projected flood heights.
The team will disassemble the house at the beginning of September for shipment to California for the competition, which begins October 8. To learn more about SURE HOUSE and to track its progress, visit surehouse.org.
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