Today was one for the books!

This afternoon our team submitted our first design draft to the Department of Energy for evaluation. While we still have a long way to go, our team could not help but be a little proud of our work the past few weeks. We started out as only a few students with high aspirations to design a fully functional elementary school in 3 short months. We began by asking questions, many of which seem laughably naive and simple from our perspective today. Since those early days, our team has rapidly increased our knowledge of school planning, building science, and zero energy design techniques. Our questions have progressively become more precise and nuanced, to the point that we must now answer many of them for ourselves.

What happens now you may ask? Our work is far from done! The first submission is largely abstract and aspirational. Our team defined the parameters of our building, as well as general design goals and objectives. We produced a preliminary floor plan, and overview of the building’s envelope and HVAC systems. The next steps involve more advanced energy modeling and precise sizing and specification of the building’s systems. We hope to refine our design into a final product that we consider complete. Undoubtedly, there will be significant changes as we strive to meet the needs of students, teachers, staff, and the broader Middlebury community.

In ten days we will hear from the Department of Energy as to whether we will continue in the competition. While we of course anxiously await their decision, our team has already determined that we will see this project through to the end regardless. Check back regularly for updates, and wish us luck!


-Alex Browne, ‘ 18  Building Codes / Plumbing / Website Design