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Two building science student teams win second-place in the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon Design Competition Event

The international competition challenges student teams to design innovative and efficient buildings powered by renewable energy
September 03, 2021
Team Elevate's Net-Zero TRCA Satellite Fourth Floor Staircase Center View

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Competition Event, external link challenges its participants to design high-performance, low-carbon and affordable buildings that improve quality of life. This competition allows student teams to present their designs to a panel of industry experts, discuss design strategies with peers, learn from thought leaders and connect with industry partners through unique networking opportunities.

Two building science student teams were recognized with awards on the international stage for their unique building design solutions to complex problems related to climate change, affordability and environmental justice.

Team Elevate

Team Elevate placed 2nd in the Office Division for their self-sustaining Net-Zero TRCA Satellite Office Building & Visitor’s Centre. The vision of their project presents a minimal impact approach in relation to the surrounding site. By focusing on occupant health and well-being and modular design principles, the project aims to set an example for future developments. 

Located in Vaughan and surrounded by pristine woodlands, the building was designed to be disassembled and reconstructed, eliminating waste at its life’s end. It also shares surplus energy and water with nearby buildings to create a sustainable community.

Team Elevate's rendering of the Net-Zero TRCA Satellite Office Building & Visitors Centre.

Team Elevate's rendering of the Net-Zero TRCA Satellite Office Building & Visitors Centre.

According to Simran Kaur Munde, “Design challenges and co-curricular activities are a great opportunity for students to create something that has a social impact. These competitions empower us to collaborate, improve our skills, tackle unique problems in a group setting, while developing networks in the related profissional field.”

Team Elevate comprises first-year graduate students Abi Nareshkumar, Simran Kaur Munde, Pouriya Jafarpur, Farabi Bashar and Mohammad Fazeli.

Team reGeneration

Team reGeneration’s deep energy retrofit of the 100-year old Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Elementary School in Toronto, won them second place in the Elementary School Division, as well as the Smooth Operator Award for Excellence in Industry Engagement .

Highlights of their design include the preservation of historic brick masonry and an overhaul of mechanical systems to achieve net-positive energy consumption. The design aims to minimize energy use and carbon emissions while maintaining function, architectural aesthetics and student enjoyment of space.

Team reGeneration's aerial rendering of Toronto’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Elementary School.

Team reGeneration's aerial rendering of Toronto’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Elementary School.

According to the reGeneration team, “Design competitions like the Solar Decathlon push the boundaries of traditional design practices. They encourage participants to go beyond their comfort zones and come up with new, effective and creative ideas. Some of today’s best innovations have come out of competitions.”

Team reGeneration was composed of first-year graduate students Keziah Folarin-Babatunde, Noel Kristen Cochon, Steph J Tzanis, Shirin Golkarieh and Ghazal Sonboli, with faculty lead architectural science professor Mark Gorgolewski.