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Parsons and The New School Launches Solar Energy Initiative: Building Positive

Parsons The New School for Design and Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy recently launched a multi-year initiative with Stevens Institute of Technology to explore the use of solar technology to create sustainable, replicable, and cost-effective housing solutions, underscoring the university's commitment to sustainability, civic engagement, and design innovation. Over the course of the next two years, a team of undergraduate and graduate students, with expertise ranging from engineering to architecture to urban policy, will design and construct a fully functioning solar duplex house in the Ward 7 community of Washington, DC.

This semester, students in five studio courses are working to design the energy producing duplex unit. Initiated within the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, this multi-disciplinary project brings together students from across the five schools at Parsons and the engineering school at Stevens. Graduate students from Milano are helping to create a fundraising strategy, and providing assistance on larger project management and urban policy issues.

Students from across the disciplines are working together through the course Urban Communities to engage the residents of Ward 7 in developing a plan to replicate the housing units within the neighborhood. Parsons graduate Architecture and Lighting Design students are focused on designing the unit in collaboration with engineers from Stevens, who are tasked with developing the building’s energy systems. Parsons Product Design students will be designing parts of the interior of the building, including light fixtures and composting, grey water sinks.

The Building Positive team has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, DC, and the local government, which support the team's efforts to design affordable homes. The team is also developing relationships with local civic leaders and stakeholders to ensure that the design proposal will make a positive contribution to the community.