Notes from the 2014 DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition

Posted by Chris Stratton on May 07, 2014
Notes from the 2014 DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition
Student design teams and jurors gathered from across North America. Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL.

I recently had the privilege of attending the inaugural U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Challenge Home Student Design Competition, held at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO April 26-29. Twenty-eight teams from universities across the US and Canada competed for awards in categories such as Best Design Solution, Best Technical Integration, and Best Presentation, as well as for the Grand Award for best overall project.

The initial plan was to hold this competition every other year, but interest was so strong for the competition (more than 300 participants!) that organizers have decided to make it an annual event. Building science experts from across the DOE Building America teams and national labs served as jurors tasked with evaluating the students’ designs. Their difficult task was to determine which of the impressive designs was worthy of an award. 

The teams’ instructions were to design a cost-effective, low-energy home that, with the addition of a modest PV array, could readily become a zero net-energy home. This proposed “zero energy ready” home should be constructible with mostly off-the-shelf parts and the design should be able to be adapted to multiple climate zones.

You can view a list of all the winners on the DOE website here.  

To view more images from the competition, view the event's Flickr stream here

Chris Stratton is a senior research associate for the Residential Building Systems group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

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