Zero-Energy homes are becoming part of the vernacular—finally! Such homes are designed to be highly energy efficient, needing no more energy than they can produce via solar arrays and other energy sources. To help raise awareness and increase visibility of such projects the Department of Energy just held its first Challenge Home Student Design Competition.
Consider it a sister event to the Solar Decathlon, except without actually building the homes. In fact, the DOE said the event will take place biennially, opposite the Solar Decathlon events. The challenge tasks colleges in the U.S. and Canada to design cost-effective homes that are at least 40 percent to 50 percent more efficient than today’s standard new homes.
This year the event had two grand winners one for a single-family detached home another for a single-family attached home. Montage Builders Northern Forest—a collaboration of New York schools including State University of New York—Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), Syracuse University, and Onondaga Community College won the design for the best single family detached design. "Bringing three schools together was the key to our success in our competition and also our design," said team leader Michelle Tinner, an ESF graduate student.
"We were the only team that took on the challenge of working across institutional boundaries, and the judges and other teams all commented on our truly integrated approach to solving the challenge," said Paul Dr. Crovella, an instructor in ESF's Department of Sustainable Construction Management and Engineering.
Ryerson University of Toronto, Canada’s Urban Harvest team won the award for the best single family attached design home. The university’s highly energy efficient design exploited passive solar energy said faculty supervisor Mark Gorgolewski.
The Ryerson University team employed passive, informed design to reduce energy demand and heating loads, according to team member Antonio Cunha. They designed a1,175 square foot, two-and-a-half story house that would cost $146 per square foot to build. With a solar array the home could become truly net-zero energy.
A total of 30 teams participated in the event and designed market-ready homes as opposed to homes actually built for the Solar Decathlon, the designs developed for the competition were designed to use be net-zero ready using energy-efficient designs as opposed to including solar power directly. As such they student teams were abel to design more cost-effective homes.
The homes were judged by a panel of experts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) this past weekend, April 26 and 27. The project is part of the DOE’s Residential Buildings Program as part of Build America.Tweet