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

Real-world 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


In its inaugural year, 28 teams from U.S. and Canadian universities competed in DOE's Challenge Home Student Design Competition to develop cost-effective zero energy ready homes for mainstream builders. The winning teams produced market-ready, state-of-the-art design solutions for high-performance homes that are energy efficient, comfortable, and durable. The designs are for zero energy ready homes, meaning their high performance features sharply reduce energy use and all or most of the remaining energy use can be offset with renewable energy.

The teams were judged by national experts including leading high-performance builders, building science professionals, and researchers. The main criteria for selection were design/construction strategies, clear project plans, required analyses, overall competency applying best practice solutions and principles of building science from the Department’s Building America program. Building America is the research and development arm of DOE’s Residential Buildings Program, focused on developing cost-effective, market-ready zero energy ready solutions, guidance and tools for new construction and existing homes. (View professional photos taken during the 2014 competition.)

The following teams were recognized as the 2014 DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition winners:

Grand Winners

Best Design Solution Integration

  • Auburn University’s MIDC Orange Team (project profile)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (project profile)
  • Montage Builders Northern Forest: State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse University, and Onondaga Community College
  • Ryerson University’s Urban Harvest Team

Best Technical Integration

Best Presentation

  • Auburn University’s MIDC Blue Team (project profile)
  • Ryerson University’s Threshold House Team (project profile)
  • Ryerson University’s Urban Harvest Team
  • University of Minnesota

Best Production Home Integration

Special Recognition for Subject Area Excellence

  • Auburn University College of Architecture, Design & Construction (Team MIDC Blue) – Design Goals; Zero Net Energy Use
  • Clemson UniversityLighting & Appliances
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Team gt. 5) – Construction Documents
  • Penn State University (Team Nittany Lions E-den) – IAQ Evaluation
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (PCT Team Blue) – Financial Analysis
  • Ryerson University’s Threshold House TeamDesign Goals; Construction Documents
  • University of Kansas (Team KU 609) – Construction Documents
  • University of Minnesota (Team Opti-MN) – Construction Documents
  • University of Pittsburgh (Team Panther Innovations) – Financial Analysis
  • University of Utah School of Architecture (Team Utah Lab House) – Construction Documents

Congratulations to all of the 2014 winners. Information on the 2015 competition, and an option to subscribe to receive email updates, is available on the DOE website


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

DOE Race to Zero Information