Fourth-Annual Zero Net Energy Design Competition

July 01, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

When the energy industry and cutting-edge architects get together with a single purpose, creating buildings that essentially power themselves, the results can be impressive. Last year's Architecture at Zero competition was fierce and it spurred state-of-the-art designs for a 150-unit mixed-use residential apartment building in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. This year will be no different. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) joins the American Institute of Architects Foundation (AIA) and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) to announce the opening of the fourth annual Architecture at Zero competition for zero net energy (ZNE) building designs.

The Architecture at Zero competition is open to designers, academics, researchers and students. Contestants will design a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) building at a mixed-use site in Oakland. Up to $25,000 in total prizes will be awarded by a panel of international experts in December, 2014. ZNE buildings produce as much clean energy as they use during a year through a combination of energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation.

"The American Institute of Architects Foundation is excited to see the hard work and thought that go into this year's ZNE building design entries," said AIA Foundation Executive Director Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop. "The winning designs will be those that are not only aesthetically interesting, but also create ZNE spaces that help EBALDC continue its leadership in driving community change through innovative design solutions."

This is the fourth year that PG&E has sponsored the Architecture at Zero competition. The intent is to generate new, innovative ideas for ZNE construction to help achieve the California Public Utilities Commission's goal for all new residential construction in California to be ZNE by 2020 and all new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030.

"PG&E is once again proud to sponsor Architecture at Zero, a competition that has pushed forward our thinking and demonstrated that great design and zero net energy use are not only possible, but available to us today," said Steve Malnight, Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E. "I'm sure this year's contestants will bring their A-game to the competition."

Competition entries will be juried by the following international experts: Bob Berkebile, FAIA, Principal, BNIM Architects; Ned Cramer; Editor-in-Chief, Architecture Magazine (invited); Ed Mazria, Founder, Architecture 2030; Paul Torcellini, Principal Engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Allison Williams, FAIA, AECOM. The deadline for entries is October 31, 2014.