We won!

In a monumental upset, our rag tag liberal arts team took first place in the Race to Zero Elementary Design competition! Our team was up against graduate institutions with dedicated engineering and architecture programs, not to mention other schools that had spent over a year on their design. In the end, our team’s attention to detail and focus on how the building serves its people made us stand out. We are honored to have received formal recognition from the Department of Energy, and could not be happier with our experience at the competition overall!

The past few days have been an inspiration, as we met and befriended other teams from across the world. It is uplifting to see so many young professionals passionate about redesigning our world’s buildings for a sustainable future. Many other school designs were extremely impressive, and had their own strengths that made them stand out. If we are to achieve a sustainable future, it will have to begin here with a radical revamping of all modern building construction.

Middlebury Elementary’s focus on visible engineering, resilient design, and collaborative learning set us apart from the competition. Our interdisciplinary approach to design really shined, as some teams focused very little on the educational aspects of a school. Such a comprehensive and well thought out school truly could not have emerged from a team of only physics majors or mechanical engineers, and speaks to the value of a liberal arts education. Each and every one of our team members contributed an invaluable perspective to bring us here, and I am honored to have been part of such an inspirational and innovative team.

Thank you for your continued support,


– Alex ’18 Code Compliance / Electrical / Plumbing


P.S. As a final tidbit, I couldn’t help but notice that out of 8 school design finalists, only 3 were fully code compliant (one of which was ours!)