U.S. Department of Energy
Challenge Home Student Design Competition

Opportunity for college students to join the race to zero!

U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Home Student Design Competition

Challenge Home Student Design Competition
Twenty-eight teams from U.S. and Canadian universities are competing to develop cost-effective zero energy ready homes for mainstream builders. On April 26 and 27 these teams will present their designs, thought leaders will discuss the future of housing, competition awards will be announced, and the latest innovations that will transform housing will be presented. The teams’ presentations can be viewed live via webinar; as well as the awards ceremony. The schedule of activities and webinar access information are in the following documents. 

Judging & Awards Event

Through the Challenge Home, DOE seeks to apply proven innovations for high-performance homes that can be implemented by the home building industry, thereby serving as “models for success.” Submissions for this competition will demonstrate the teams’ knowledge and skills to design, analyze, and plan the construction of quality, high-performance homes that meet or exceed the DOE Challenge Home requirements.

Why Participate?

Participating students will have the opportunity to provide creative solutions to real-world issues and barriers to innovation impacting our nation’s housing industry. Participating builders will gain national and local recognition and have meaningful interactions with knowledgeable and skilled future design and construction professionals.

Competition Timeframe & Framework

The competition will be held on a two-year cycle that alternates with the Solar Decathlon. The Decathlon’s off year in the United States serves as the award-year for the Challenge Home competition, providing a two-year timeframe for teams to prepare their submissions. For this inaugural year of the competition, the timing will be as follows:

  • Registration Deadline: December 16, 2013
  • Fall Semester 2013/Spring Semester 2014: Students Develop Design for Submittal
  • Mid-Spring Semester 2014: Submittals Due March 30, 2014
  • Spring Semester 2014: Awards Presented

Each team must be sponsored by a collegiate institution, be comprised of at least three students and a faculty advisor, and have a designated team lead. Student teams are encouraged to be multidisciplinary in nature and have industry advisors, such as a local home builder, to help inform their decision-making process.

For more detail on the competition and its criteria:

Team Registration

Registration for the 2013-2014 competition closed on December 16, 2013.

Primary Team Resources

(Other resources are outlined in the Competition Guide)



Interested in joining the race to zero? Want more details on the U.S. DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition? Contact Home Innovation Research Labs.

Contact Us

Bulldog Builders
California State University - Fresno

Cal Poly SLO 1
California Polytechnic State University

Clemson DOE Challenge Home Competition Team
Clemson University

gt. 5
Georgia Institute of Technology

Illinois State University

KU 609
University of Kansas

LSC-Architectural Technology
Lake Superior College

MIDC - Blue
Auburn University College of Architecture, Design & Construction

MIDC - Orange
Auburn University College of Architecture, Design & Construction

Montage Builders – Northern Forest
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College

Nittany Lions E-den
Penn State University

Panther Innovations
University of Pittsburgh

PCT Team Blue
Pennsylvania College of Technology

PCT Team Gray
Pennsylvania College of Technology

Roger Williams University

Ryerson ThresholdHouse
Ryerson University

Ryerson Urban Harvest
Ryerson University

Team Mojave
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Team Rutgers
Rutgers University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Team UofT
University of Toronto

The Any Orientation House Team
University of Colorado Denver

The IIT Crowd
Illinois Institute of Technology

The Rowhouse Team
University of Colorado Denver

UMass Lowell Design Team
University of Massachusetts Lowell

University of Minnesota

University of Wyoming Architectural Engineering

Utah Lab House
School of Architecture, University of Utah


Get more information on competition sponsors, team resources, and find other links of interest.

Resources & Links