Six Illinois State students and their faculty advisors participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Race to Zero student design competition in Golden, Colorado, on April 17–20, 2015.

The students were Alex Olsen, construction management; Kyle Dykema, renewable energy; Samantha DeMarais ’13, interior and environmental design; Matt De Rycke, renewable energy and construction; Jeremy Bahn, construction management; and John Engel, interior and environmental design. They were joined by faculty advisors Joe Cleary and Richard Boser.

The Race to Zero competition was designed to inspire and development the next generation of building science professionals, advance and enhance building science curriculum in universities, and complement the experiential learning benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon through an additional competition opportunity.

The team was assisted on campus by Scott Ramirez, construction management; Flor Hernandez, interior and environmental design; current M.S. student Zach Rose ’14, construction management; and was funded in part by the Student Sustainability Committee.

They represented Illinois State University on two teams (Redbird Red–single family detached, and Redbird White–single family attached) against 33 teams from the U.S., Canada, and China. The Redbird Red team modified an existing model Habitat for Humanity home plan and created cost neutral modifications to achieve net zero energy and was awarded the Systems Integration Excellence Award!