Updated Monday, July 20 11:25 a.m.

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Local destruction after Superstorm Sandy prompted a team of student architects and engineers to come up with a new plan for coastal communities that are at risk during natural events.

CBS2’s Meg Baker toured one of the storm-resistant homes. It is a house built to last – armored against extreme weather – courtesy of students from the Stevens Institute of Technology.

“When Sandy hit Hoboken … at Stevens, we really wanted to respond,” said faculty adviser John Nastasi.

The students are participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon – a competition to build a solar-powered home. They are taking the challenge to the next level, designing a storm-resistant home in response to Sandy.

“We’re adding to it a plastic sheathing that allows us to be waterproof around our walls,” said Stevens Institute graduate student A.J. Elliot. “And we’re also using a lot of materials from the marine industry — fiber composite materials — to be both flood-proof as well as resilient towards debris that might be flying at the house.”

Their project is called the SU+RE House. The acronym stands for SUstainable and REsilient.

Depending on what flood zone one is in, it is suggested that a home be raised eight to 12 feet. But the SU+RE House is raised only three feet and acts more like a boat anchored to the ground.

“This house is not designed for wave action right on the coast, but for rising tides; buoyancy,” Elliot said.

Architectural graduate student Chris Hamm gave Baker a tour. The house cost about $350,000 to build, which he said was more cost-effective than raising a home or having to rebuild after a major storm.

“Walking through a community where people can be out on their porch, near the street, is completely different from a situation where you’re 10 feet off ground,” Hamm said.

The SU+RE House is airtight, with storm shutters that might be seen on a yacht.

The house will first travel to California for the competition, but will end up living permanently in the Borough of Seaside Park as a community center.

The SU+RE House powers itself with clean solar power, and in the aftermath of a storm, it can become a hub of emergency power for the surrounding neighborhood.

“The roof’s solar panels provide all the house power,” Elliot told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “We end up giving more to the power grid than we ever take.”