Race to zero students outside the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

2014 DOE Race to Zero Competition

Students Fare Well at Inaugural DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition

A team of Penn State students received the Best Technical Integration Award at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) inaugural Challenge Home Student Design Competition held April 26-27, 2014 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

The DOE charged teams with developing cost-effective zero energy ready homes for mainstream builders. 

Teams were selected to compete based on design/construction strategies, clear project plans, required analyses and overall competency applying best practice solutions and principles of building science from the DOE’s Building America program.

Penn State’s team designed and built a two-story, single family gas-powered residence in Berwick, Pennsylvania, dubbed “Nittany Lions E-den.”

Entries were judged by national leading high-performance builders, building science professionals and researchers.

Judges gave Nittany Lions E-den high scores for indoor air quality.

Student participants included architecture undergraduate Emily Stein; architecture graduate students Alireza Arabshahi, Shahrzad Fadaei, Sohrab Rahimi and Bobak Soleimani; architectural engineering undergraduates Sam Bridwell, Chang Deng, Drew Nicholas, and Justin Rotella; architectural engineering graduate students Mona Hatami and Issa Ramaji; civil engineering graduate students Tony Jellen and Ehsan Kamel; and energy engineering undergraduate Aiden Gilrain-McKenna.

The team was advised by Steve Ayer, postdoctoral researcher in architectural engineering; Katie Blansett, research assistant at the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC); Rich Kisner, executive director at the Columbia County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities; Andy Lau, associate professor of engineering design; Ali Memari, Bernard and Henrietta Hankin Chair of Residential Construction and director of the PHRC; Chad Owens, manager and project engineer at RARE Building Consultants; Peter Vargo, CEO of Nu-Tech Energy Solutions Co., LLC; Scott Wing, associate professor of architecture; and Brian Wolfgang, project manager in the PHRC.

Twenty-eight teams from U.S. and Canadian universities competed.

2020 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge

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2017 Race to Zero Competition image

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The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304

E-mail: phrc@psu.edu