House Built by City Tech Architectural Technology Students Rebuilt for Berthoud Habitat for Humanity

Professor Aptekar (back row, second from left) with his Architectural Technology and Construction Management students. Credit: Ric Haskins

In 2015, a team of City Tech Architectural Technology students participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition in California. This competition challenged them to design and build a full-size solar powered house. Now, the net energy house will provide a home for a family in need.

A group of nine current and former City Tech Architectural Technology and Construction Management students, including members of the College’s Sustainable Technology Association (STA), recently returned from a trip to Berthoud, Colorado, where they helped reassemble the house originally built for the Solar Decathlon competition.

The student builders, led by Architectural Technology Professor Alexander Aptekar, spent over two weeks training and working alongside Berthoud Habitat for Humanity volunteers, teaching them techniques they learned in school. One such technique, the passive house methodology, reduces energy waste by sealing a house from outside temperatures while maintaining a stable inside temperature and air quality. Professor Aptekar hopes that Habitat for Humanity will continue using this method in future construction to ensure higher performing homes.

According to Aptekar, “The students really enjoyed this novel experience, not only learning while they worked, but also feeling welcomed into the neighborhood by staying in a local church and having home-cooked meals prepared by members of the community. The view of the Rocky Mountains didn’t hurt, either.”

Now that they have returned to New York City, the students will monitor real-time data on the house’s air quality and power consumption thanks to meters donated by a local utility company.

“Having this house rebuilt as part of a Berthoud Habitat for Humanity project was a great fit for the College. Not only will this allow us to continue doing research, but it is also a project that supports both organizations’ missions,” said Aptekar.

More information about the Berthoud, Colorado rebuilding project can be found at the following links:

9News – Solar Powered Smart Home Rebuilt for Berthoud Habitat for Humanity

Berthoud Surveyor – Near Zero-Energy DURA House Developed by Students in New York Finds a Home with Berthoud Habitat for Humanity