UVa | A R C H 2013

The race to zero energy on Roosevelt Island

Mayor Bloomberg has put on a competition for a university campus for the sciences on Roosevelt Island in New York City.  The mayor has set high environmental standards for the competition and as a result, the two frontrunners, Cornell and Stanford have created designs which incorporate almost all types of sustainable infrastructure.

Both universities have plannned to implement of geothermal systems, which employ the temperature of the ground to cool and heat the buildings.  Cornell has plans to use solar panels to generate up to 1.8 megawatts of energy.  Some of their campus’s structures would even be able to put energy back into the grid on some days.  Stanford University plans to filter storm runoff in a marsh and recycle the greywater of the buildings.

Both universities have taken numerous steps to make their designs the most sustainable.  The Roosevelt Island campus would not only inspire the students who would use it, but other engineers and architects to think in sustainable systems.  But is it realistic?  The New York Times states that it would take a “generation” to build either of the designs and would cost over $1 billion dollars.  During phases of construction there are bound to be new developments in technologies and changes in plans.  It is worth it to dream so big?




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