When it comes to saving energy and reducing carbon pollution, builders can play a major role by designing and constructing sustainable homes that are also comfortable, healthy and durable. At the Energy Department, we created a special designation -- known as Zero Energy Ready Home -- to recognize builders who create high performance homes that are so energy efficient, a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption.

Since 2008, hundreds of builders have achieved this designation. The result? More than 14,000 energy efficient homes and millions of dollars worth of saved energy for residents throughout the nation. Behind those impressive numbers stands a vital workforce of architects, engineers, scientists and other talented people who are moving the home building industry forward.

The Department of Energy is committed to helping build the workforce needed to take our nation’s homes to Zero Energy Ready Home performance levels in the coming years. As part of this commitment, we’ve just finished hosting the 2015 Race to Zero Student Design Competition.

This past weekend, 33 teams and 27 universities convened at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado to present their design submissions. Teams included more than 300 students from the U.S. and Canada competing to design, analyze and document a Zero Energy Ready Home that is cost-effective and consistent with mainstream builder construction practices. These students were led by faculty members with a commitment to using building science and design integration in their university programs.

View the list of winners and their submissions from this year’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition. To learn more, and to subscribe for updates on next year’s competition, visit the program’s website.

Sam Rashkin
Sam Rashkin is chief architect of the Building Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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