Our team first met in November of 2017 to discuss the possibilities and challenges of designing a Zero Energy Elementary School for the town of Middlebury, Vermont. It quickly became apparent that such a large undertaking would require a substantial amount of time and energy.

Zach Berzolla, project manager and the team’s defacto leader, spearheaded the effort to start a Middlebury College J-Term course and later independent study so that students could invest 100% of their energy into the project. Thanks to his efforts, in January our team began in earnest to develop comprehensive designs and building plans.

After several months of hard work, our team traveled to Denver, CO and presented at the Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Competition where we won the elementary school category. The jury had many great things to say about our design including: how our building is centered around energy and education. They also said that we “innovatively integrated a flexible curriculum with building performance” and designed a school with visible engineering “so that the students can learn.” Overall we are excited by their positive reception of our design and are working to see if our design can influence the future of education in Middlebury.