Two programs in the Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment earned the first-ever Zero Energy Design Designation from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The M.S. in Technology and B.S. in Building Sciences programs received this inaugural designation, which only 17 programs from 12 collegiate institutions earned. Collegiate programs earned Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD) seal of recognition by demonstrating that they are preparing tomorrow's architectural and engineering leaders to design and build the most sustainable buildings possible.
Dr. Andrew Windham, Assistant Department Chair in the Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment, said the following about receiving the designation:
"Our educational programs have long been rooted in sustainable practices that provide students with broad, project-based experiences that enable them to lead in the arena of high-performing, zero energy buildings. Now, DOE's Zero Energy Design Designation makes that clear to our prospective students, potential partners, and practitioners in the wider buildings industry. It proclaims our commitment to advancing built environments that support sustainable futures."
This national designation recognizes the commitment of programs that imbue students with a greater understanding of the enduring impacts their design choices have on the built and natural environment. This new DOE designation distinguishes post-secondary academic programs that impart the best practices of zero-energy design on students and require them to apply those building science concepts in actual projects.
"Our fight against climate change runs straight through our nation's buildings, and the forward-looking college and university programs we honored today are paving the way for students to lead our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions future," said Carolyn Snyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. "Graduates of these programs will join the front lines of our fight against the climate crisis by designing sustainable buildings that bring the benefits of our clean energy future to all."
The Zero Energy Design Designation Program supports the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. With buildings being one of the main contributors to carbon emissions, building professionals must be trained to design and construct high-efficiency, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables to achieve this goal.
DOE's ZEDD designation, offered to qualifying programs of study for 3 years, requires graduating students to:
- Complete a Building Science Education Curriculum that uses DOE's Solar Decathlon Building Science Education learning modules or otherwise meets ZEDD's learning objectives; and,
- Participate in a Zero Energy Design Practicum, either by completing the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design and/or Build Challenge or by engaging in a real-world zero-energy design project that would earn the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification or more stringent energy and environmental performance standard.
Because the Department of Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment exceeded these standards, the program received the Zero Energy Design Designation.
Click here to view the full list of programs that received a Zero Energy Design Designation.