Zero Energy Design Designation logo, with the program name and graphic of buildings with a sun behind them.

President Biden has set a goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Buildings play a significant role in reaching this goal and building professionals must be prepared to design and construct high-efficiency, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables. The U.S. DOE Zero Energy Design Designation recognizes post-secondary academic programs that prepare students for 21st century building careers.

Schools interested in being recognized by DOE demonstrate a commitment to preparing students for a zero-carbon future by offering a building science education curriculum within their programs of study that showcases best practices in zero energy design, and requiring a zero energy design practicum.

To be recognized schools must show that their program(s) of study require the following for graduation:

  • Building Science Education Curriculum
  • Zero Energy Design Practicum
    • Option 1: Solar Decathlon Design and/or Build Challenge through final submission (even if not selected as a finalist team)
    • Option 2: A zero energy building design project meeting DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification or more stringent

The first cohort of participating schools will be recognized in August 2022. Designated programs will be recognized on the DOE website, via social media, and in high school outreach. The designation can be renewed every three years.

To learn more about the designation, view the recording from the informational webinar on May 16, 2022. A flyer that summarizes the program is also available. 

The application deadline has passed for the 2022 designation year. To prepare for the 2023 application, please review the instructions and checklist

Email ZEDD@nrel.gov with questions.