Architect Pros & Students Win Zero Net Energy Design Competition

Architect Pros & Students Win Zero Net Energy Design Competition

Rendering of "Fogcatcher" by Little Architects

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) named the winners of the sixth annual Architecture at Zero competition for zero net energy (ZNE) building design. The competition has awarded six student and professional winners with a total of $25,000 in prizes.

For the sixth year of the PG&E-sponsored competition, contestants designed ZNE student housing at the San Francisco State University campus. With 60 entries, this year’s competition garnered double the amount of applicants as in previous years. Applicants designed plans for student housing that will be ZNE, producing as much clean energy as is used during a year through energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation such as rooftop solar.

Preparing for the next generation of building design, the competition encourages architecture, engineering, planning and design students or professionals to put ZNE at the forefront of their plans. California state policy calls for all new homes to be ZNE by 2020 and all-new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030.

Winners for student entries:

  • Special Recognition Award for “Sharing and Living” to a student team from Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Merit Award for “Communal Operations” by student Steven Loutherback from Texas Tech University.
  • Honor award for “Energized Canopy” by student Romain Dechavanne from the Grenoble National School of Architecture in Grenoble, France.

Winners for professional entries:

  • Citation Award for “Piezien Circuit” by Modus Studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  • Merit Award for “Nexus” by Dialog in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Merit Award for “Fog Catcher” by LITTLE in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Every year, the Architecture at Zero competition encourages designers to push the boundaries of reducing energy waste through innovative, efficiently designed homes and buildings. Supporting zero net energy designs is one of the many ways PG&E helps California reach its ambitious clean energy and efficiency goals,” said Vincent Davis, senior director of energy efficiency at PG&E.

"The American Institute of Architects, California Council is delighted to be the competition organizer. The winning designs are not only aesthetically interesting but also demonstrate zero net energy spaces that help San Francisco State University continue its leadership in meeting the Bay Area’s critical housing shortage through innovative design solutions,” said Mike Malinowski, president of the AIACC.

“Given our commitment to building healthy, vibrant and safe housing for our students, it has been an honor for San Francisco State University to join in support of the 2016 zero net energy design competition. We know that housing is the most critical issue facing the Bay Area today. Bringing more energy-efficient building design to our campus will contribute to a healthier environment for everyone,” said San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong.

A panel of architecture, engineering and design experts chose this year’s winners at an event at San Francisco State University. Competition entries were juried by the following international experts: Allison Williams, FAIA, AECOM; Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic, Los Angeles Times; Edward Dean, FAIA, Bernheim + Dean Inc.; Gregg D. Ander, FAIA, President, Gregg D. Ander, LLC; and Paul Torcellini, Principal Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

To learn more about the annual competition, visit

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Sustainable Communities

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