AIA sponsors Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
This year’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge took place as scheduled this month – with participants representing 45 finalist teams from 31 collegiate institutions gathering virtually to share their designs for zero energy buildings.
First held in 2002, the Solar Decathlon programs challenge student teams to combine the best of architecture and engineering to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.
Delivering a live address via video conference, AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA, stated: “I have no doubt that innovators and visionaries will find a way to generate positive progress even during the COVID-19 crisis – not just related to global health but for another global challenge: climate change. And I know that, with the skills and experience you’re gaining, you’ll be a critical part of that life-saving progress. Every time I see the work students like you are producing, I’m so encouraged about the future of the industry and its climate work.”
This year’s entries delivered on the Department of Energy competition’s mission to “push the envelope on the design of the most highly performing, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings.”
For the first time in its history, the competition recognized two grand winners. The University of Oregon Architecture studio won in the Commercial division for their design of an elementary school on the California/Mexico border. From the Residential division, Miami University Architecture’s design for attached housing in a neighborhood in Oxford, Ohio, was the other top winner.
As an event sponsor for the Design Challenge, AIA connected participating students with a number of resources, including a free solar PV class through AIAU, as well as digital resources available through the Framework for Design Excellence and 2030 Commitment.
Evaluated according to a variety of criteria – including architectural and engineering excellence, innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production – commercial and residential projects were submitted in the following categories and judged by a panel of industry experts:
- Suburban Single-Family Division
- Urban Single-Family Division
- Attached Housing Division
- Mixed-Use Multifamily Division
- Elementary School Division
- Office Building Division
AIA congratulates to all the teams. All team presentations can be viewed here.