Home Innovation Insights

Thomas Kenney, PE
December 19, 2013

Student Design Teams "Race to Zero" in DOE's Challenge Home Competition

Earlier this week, we closed out registration for the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition. The response we got from colleges and universities across North America was really inspiring — all told, 32 teams have stepped up to the challenge in DOE's "race to zero" in energy-efficient home designs.

The competition, which is being administered and technically supported by Home Innovation Research Labs, was developed as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Program and is based on the design and efficiency requirements of the DOE Challenge Home. The lure for these student teams was to become part of this leadership movement to achieve truly sustainable homes. Even more tangible, the competition will provide the next generation of architects, engineers, construction managers, and entrepreneurs with skills and experience to start careers in the field of clean energy and generate creative solutions to real-world problems.

Teams from colleges, universities, and technical schools across the country were invited to register for the competition through December 16, 2013. Students were encouraged to create multidisciplinary teams and include industry advisors, such as local home builders, to help inform their decision-making processes and ground their solutions in real-world terms to overcome barriers to innovation impacting our nation’s housing industry. Student entries 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.

Designs for the 2013/2014 inaugural competition will be submitted by March 30, 2014, and winners will be announced and recognized during a ceremony before the end of the spring 2014 semester. Winners will also be featured at upcoming industry events – such as NAHB’s 2015 International Builders’ Show – and forums – such as a GreenExpo365.com webinar in the spring. Going forward, 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.

Find out more about the competition and see a complete list of the participating teams by visiting the competition page on our website. We're excited about getting underway with these teams, and even more excited to see the creative solutions they develop — be sure to follow along!

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