Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Race to Zero Competition

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Representatives from the Grand Winner Team from Ryerson University and University of Toronto. 2017 U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado on April 23, 2017. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.


The U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition is an annual competition, open to students and faculty from any interested collegiate institution. The competition challenges collegiate teams to design zero energy ready buildings that are so high performance and energy efficient that renewable power can offset most or all the annual energy consumption.

The competition challenges collegiate teams to apply sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs that meet DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home program requirements and the Advanced Energy Design Guide For K-12 School Buildings–Achieving a Zero Energy Building.

The 2018 Race to Zero will be held April 21-22, 2018 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

To prepare for the event, the new Race to Zero Competition Guide is available, and the team application website is open. Start your application to gain access to additional competition information and resources.

The 2017 Race to Zero was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, April 22–23. The competition featured 39 teams from 33 universities from four countries that competed to design zero energy ready homes. Students were tasked with creating a new house design or redesigning an existing floorplan to meet the competition's cost-effective, high-performance home energy requirements. During the final portion of the competition the students presented their innovative designs to a panel of national experts. Check out the list of winners.

“Without this competition, our team wouldn’t have pushed the boundaries of architectural design, sustainability, and building science as effectively as we had during this experience.” 2017 Race to Zero Student

“The industry collaboration and real-world design scenario…added a practical motivation that stretches students beyond classroom examples.” 2017 Race to Zero Faculty

For more information about the competition, please visit Race to Zero website.

ASHRAE is a proud sponsor for the Race to Zero Student Design Competition. As a sponsor, ASHRAE nominates a juror, provides technical resources, as well as access to local student branches and chapters.

If you're interested in being a juror, contact students@ashrae.org.

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