DOE awards first-ever Zero Energy Design Designations

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) has awarded its first-ever Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD) to two Illinois Institute of Technology programs teaching architectural and engineering students to design and build the most sustainable buildings possible.

This new DOE designation distinguishes post-secondary academic programs that impart the best practices of zero-energy design on students and requires them to apply those building science concepts in actual projects.

Illinois Tech is one of 12 institutions internationally with programs receiving this designation in DOE’s first cohort – the Master of Engineering in Architectural Engineering and Master of High Performance Buildings.

DOE offers ZEDD to programs with a proven ability to impart the best practices of zero-energy design, with an emphasis on hands-on learning by requiring students to apply those building science concepts in actual projects.

“This designation is important to us because it demonstrates our commitment to, and passion for, sustainable building design and interdisciplinary education. It is an honor to receive this designation as one of the first pilots,” said Brent Stephens, chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and the Arthur W. Hill Endowed Chair in Sustainability.

Students in Illinois Tech’s ZEDD-designated programs will now compete in the DOE’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge.

“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.”

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