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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced Prairie View A&M University as Grand Winner of its Race to Zero Student Design Competition.

The DOE’s fifth annual awards recognize students who excel at creative solutions to real-world problems.

“The students participating represent the next generation of architects, engineers, and construction managers that can integrate building science with design,” said Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“Greater building energy efficiency offers billions of dollars in potential energy cost savings in our homes and schools—and the experience at Race to Zero helps students and industry come together to apply technical resources from the DOE to real-world solutions for critical building industry challenges.”

A zero energy ready home or school is a high-performance building that can offset energy consumption with on-site renewable energy. This reduces annual energy costs while improving comfort, health, safety, and durability.

Students from 84 teams, representing 68 collegiate institutions across nine countries, competed for finalist spots. Ultimately, 40 teams, representing 34 institutions and five countries, qualified as finalists.

The competition was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, April 20–22, 2018,  to inspire next-generation building professionals to apply the latest building science innovations in new and existing homes and commercial buildings.

This year’s competition featured a new commercial building design contest on elementary schools, in addition to the four residential building contests. Teams had many building type options to focus on, including new construction or retrofitting an existing building.

Team submissions had to meet the competition’s cost-effective, high-performance building energy requirements, as well as demonstrate strong design concepts. The juror panels included leading high-performance home builders, architects, building science professionals, building product manufacturer experts, and national laboratory research scientists.

Below are the top winners in each contest:

Grand Winner
Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas
Suburban Single-Family Housing Contest
First place: The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Second place: the University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri
Urban Single-Family Housing Contest
First place: Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas
Second place: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Attached Housing Contest
First place: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Second place: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Small Multifamily Housing Contest
First place: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Second place: Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois
Elementary Schools Contest
First place: Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont
Second place: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

The primary goals of the competition are to advance building science curricula in university programs across the country and inspire students to continue careers promoting high-performance buildings.

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