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June 8, 2012 > Zero net energy design competition

Zero net energy design competition

Submitted By Tamar Sarkissian

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) joins American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA SF) to announce the opening of the second annual Architecture at Zero competition for zero net energy (ZNE) building designs. ZNE buildings produce as much clean energy as they use during a year through a combination of designed energy efficiency and on-site, grid-tied renewable energy production.

The Architecture at Zero competition is open to all entrants, including designers, academics, researchers and students. To help generate innovative ideas for zero net energy building designs, the Architecture at Zero competition will focus on the design of a zero net energy building and schematic design on a campus site at the University of California, Merced. International experts will judge the entries and award up to $25,000 in total prizes in October.

"San Francisco American Institute of Architects is excited to see the hard work and thought that go into this year's zero net energy building design entries," said AIA SF Executive Director Margie O'Driscoll. "The winning designs will be those that are not only aesthetically interesting, but also create zero net energy spaces that help UC Merced continue its leadership in driving innovation."

This is the second year that PG&E and AIA SF have held the Architecture at Zero competition. The competition supports an action plan of the California Public Utilities Commission for all new residential construction in California to be zero net energy by 2020. The goal for new commercial construction is to achieve zero net energy by 2030.

"The Architecture at Zero competition helps PG&E drive innovation in California's buildings and prove the feasibility of zero net energy building technologies for our customers," said Steve Malnight, vice president of customer energy solutions for PG&E. "This year's competitors have the unique opportunity to focus their zero net energy building designs on a site at UC Merced's state-of-the-art campus."

Last year's competition site was located in Emeryville, and the winners were Chris Parlette (Berkeley; Towards Net Zero Energy), Tom Tang and Yijie Dang (New York City; Chimera), HOK San Francisco (San Francisco; Battery Park, From Zero to Positive), Jihyoon Yoon (Harvard University; Phototactic - Ville), and Curtis Ryan, Sara Maas, Kyle Blomquist and Megan Gelazus (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee; Ripple Effect).

Competition entries will be juried by the following international experts: Bob Berkebile, FAIA, Principal, BNIM Architects; Ed Mazria, Founder, Architecture 2030; Alison Kwok, Professor, University of Oregon; Stephen Selkowitz, Program Head, Building Technologies Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 1, 2012. To register or learn more, visit

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