Unlike most entries in the Solar Decathlon, the D.U.R.A. home, from the New York City College of Technology, is an infill location, a solar house meant for the mean streets.

That urbanism has been somewhat absent from the Department of Energy's competition isn't surprising, but the New York team wanted to reflect its own surroundings in Brooklyn, according to team leader Amanda Waal. The house, dubbed DURA (for Diverse, Urban, Resilient and Adaptable) would be stackable, up to four one-bedroom houses on top of one another.

"D.U.R.A ... gets its power from 40-by-60 inch panels spread at angles on the side of the house. "They're oriented in order to not shade the one on top and the one below and get as much solar access as possible,"  Waal says.

I think bringing urbanism into the Decathlon is really important. A few schools have done it in the past, but the houses are mostly suburban or vacation homes. This issue of urbanism is really important to our team, and as populations grow in cities, it seems most important for young designers to think about that.

 This cool animated rendering shows a walk through of the D.U.R.A.:

Ben Schiller takes a in-depth look at this Solar Decathlon entry on Fast Company >>