A team of architecture and engineering students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Rutgers University entered a Solar Decatholon where collegiate teams design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The house had to be To meet the criteria of the decathlon, the house had to be solar powered and no more than 1000 ft2 (93 m2).
The team chose a precast concrete home because it is low maintenance and durable; it can resist weather, chemicals, and moisture; it can contain natural materials and recycled byproducts to reduce its carbon footprint; and it has low to negligible levels of volatile organic compounds, making it a healthier alternative to standard construction.
To meet aesthetic and energy goals, the precast concrete roof was designed in a bowl shape and calibrated for optimal sun angle and rain collection while hiding the photovoltaics and solar collectors, which some consider unattractive. The roof cantilevers over the north facade almost 10 ft (3 m), which helps to create an appealing sense that the heavy precast concrete roof is floating above the clerestory windows directly below.