Twenty-eight university and college teams from United States and Canada participated in the inaugural Energy Department's Challenge Home Student Design Competition at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from April 26 to 28. Teams presented their zero-energy-ready home designs—meaning their high performance features sharply reduce energy use and all or most of the remaining energy use can be offset with renewable energy—to panels of industry experts as part of the Challenge. Two teams tied as Grand Award winners: Ryerson University from Toronto, Ontario, for their “Urban Harvest” design, and the combined student team from Onondaga Community College, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Syracuse University, all of Syracuse, New York, for the “Montage Builders Northern Forest” project.
Judges evaluated the teams on their design and construction packages, project plans and energy-saving strategies. As part of its Challenge Homes Program, the Energy Department engaged collegiate teams across the continent to participate in the competition and become part of a leadership movement to achieve truly sustainable homes. Through the Challenge Home program, the Energy Department seeks to apply proven innovations from Building America research for high-performance homes that can be implemented by the home building industry. See the Energy Department news release , the Energy Blog , and the Energy Challenge website .