Building design team wins national honors

building designA group of U of M students' design for sustainable homes to fill vacant lots in economically challenged North Minneapolis has won top honors in an international competition.

Teams competing in the "Race to Zero" challenge were asked to design cost-effective zero-energy-ready homes for mainstream builders. The winning design uses high-performance features that sharply reduce energy use, and allow for most of the remaining energy use to be offset with renewable energy. The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and this year involved 33 teams from 27 universities in the United States, Canada and China. Along with energy efficiency, the designed homes must be comfortable and attractive as well as affordable.

Nine of the 14 members of the U team are from CFANS; the team known as "Team OptiMN" included undergraduate and graduate students.