28 College Teams to Compete in Sustainable Design Challenge

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A look inside the 960-square-foot, one-bedroom house a team from Rutgers University helped design for the Solar Decathlon in 2011. Rutgers is sending a team to Colorado this year for the Challenge Home Student Design Competition. Photo credit: Team NJ

It’s time for college students in the U.S. and Canada to show their sustainable homebuilding skills.

Twenty-eight teams are embarking on Golden, CO this weekend to take part in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Challenge Home Student Design Competition. Before a panel of industry experts gathered at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the teams will present zero-energy ready home designs for the chance to win an award and recognition around North America.

The idea is for the DOE and NREL to help breed architects and engineers that focus on sustainability. Teams will be judged on design and construction packages, project plans and energy-saving strategies, according to an NREL statement.

“The competition will provide the next generation of architects, engineers, construction managers and entrepreneurs with skills and experience that can support careers in the expanding field of energy efficiency and renewable energy,” the statement reads.

Teams from the following colleges and universities will be participating in the competition:

  • Auburn University (Auburn, AL) – two teams
  • California State University – Fresno
  • California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo)
  • University of Colorado – Denver – two teams
  • Clemson University (Clemson, SC)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago)
  • Illinois State University (Normal)
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence)
  • Lake Superior College (Duluth, MN)
  • University of Massachusetts – Lowell
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)
  • University of Nevada – Las Vegas
  • Onondaga Community College (Syracuse, NY)
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport) – two teams
  • Pennsylvania State University (State College)
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI)
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)Ryerson University (Toronto, ON) – two teams
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY)
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
  •  University of Toronto
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City)
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie)

Over the course of the three-day event, the students will also get to hear from industry leaders like Gene Myers, New Town Builders and  John McLinden, StreetScape Development LLC.

Since the DOE also operates the Solar Decathlon, that events off year serves as the award-year for the Challenge Home competition.

Since 2008, the Builders Challenge program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency, resulting in more than 14,000 energy efficient homes and millions of dollars in energy savings, according to the DOE.