U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition

You are here

Welcome to the Race to Zero!

2017 U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition
Watch to learn more about the Race to Zero Student Design Competition.
Photos by Ellen Jaskol, NREL

Good luck to the 40 teams as they vie to be the next grand winner! The upcoming U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Race to Zero Student Design Competition (Race to Zero) is April 20–22, 2018.

race to zero 2018 logo

Into the Shark Tank: Presenting to the Race to Zero Jurors

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

3-4:30 p.m. EDT

Register for this webinar.

This is an exciting time—a time when Zero Energy Ready Buildings have become readily achievable and cost-effective. By definition, these high-performance buildings are so energy-efficient that renewable power can offset most or all the annual energy consumption.

The Race to Zero inspires collegiate students to become the next generation of building science professionals through a design challenge for zero energy ready buildings. Students become part of a new leadership movement to achieve truly sustainable buildings. The Race to Zero is formulated to advance and enhance building science curriculum in universities. 

Through this competition, future architects, engineers, construction managers, and entrepreneurs will gain the skills and experience to start careers in clean energy and generate creative solutions to real-world problems. View the 2017 competition results and the 2016 competition results.

Key dates for the next competition:

  • July 11, 2017 – Race to Zero Competition Guide was released, and the team application website opened.
  • November 7, 2017 – All participating teams completed the team application and were encouraged to submit a 3-page Project Introduction.
  • September 2017 to March 2018 – Webinars and building science training are offered.
  • April 20-22, 2018 – Finalist teams complete their project submittals and compete with presentations to industry leaders.

What is the Race to Zero?

The Race to Zero is an annual competition, open to students and faculty from any interested collegiate institution. The fifth annual Race to Zero competition includes a new commercial building design contest in addition to the residential building contests, giving teams many options of building types as the focus of their design challenge.

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. For more information on competition requirements and timelines, visit the Competition Requirements page or contact racetozero@nrel.gov.


Subscribe here for email updates on the competition.