The role of building science education examined in the context of past DOE student competitions.
A presentation part of panel discussion at the 5th RBDCC. This paper presents findings from a meta analysis of DOE Student Competition Guidelines and competition winners in terms of Building Science keywords and requirements.
The Race to Zero was an annual competition from 2014-2018, which got merged into the broader DOE Solar Decathlon competition framework in 2019. In its outset, this design competition was created to engage and challenge students and faculty to apply sound building science principles to create cost-effective, market-ready designs. While the standard, quality, and extent of winning submission has dramatically increased over the years, some concerns have emerged that the teams have lost sight of the original goals and that building science criteria may not have been met by a majority of submissions anymore. This paper will examine and synthesize past competition guidelines as they relate to building science topics and assess available project submissions of winning teams on those criteria only. The goal of this paper is to facilitate a discussion on how building science criteria could be sharpened and possibly expanded in future competition guidelines.