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Architecture at Zero

Prizes to USA, Canada, and International Students and
Professionals for Designing an Energy Efficient Building

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

01/28/19 1:00 PM PST


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Prizes of up to $25,000 to USA, Canada, and International architects, urban planners, engineers, landscape architects, designers, and students for designing an energy efficient recreation center on a California university campus. All applicants must first register before the final deadline. The purpose of this competition is to demonstrate and promote net-zero energy building projects.

The Architecture at Zero competition challenge is to create a zero net energy recreation center at the campus of California State University at Monterey Bay. Two new buildings will be constructed in two phases and will replace two existing buildings and parts of two parking lots.

The competition has two components. First, entrants will create an overall site plan to accommodate the program. Entrants are encouraged to highlight any energy efficiency strategies or systems shown. Second, entrants will design two buildings in detail, to indicate zero net energy (ZNE) performance. In order to demonstrate the building design and its performance, entrants will provide required documentation and may also include supplementary documentation.

Note that these buildings will be built in two phases. Entrants should indicate which building is Phase I and which is Phase II.

Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others. Jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. Criteria include quality of design, resolution of the program or idea, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.

The Challenge:

The new Student Recreation Center will be comprised of two buildings totaling 70,000 square feet. This project would be located on the campus south of the Main Quad and Divarty Street. New construction will require the demolition of Building 21 (Beach Hall) and Building 23 (Tide Hall), and portions of parking lots 23 and 508. The new facility will support recreation (approx. 52,000 sq ft) and the Kinesiology department (17,500 sq ft.) . The Kinesiology Department has demonstrated steady growth in the last 5 years and lacks appropriate teaching spaces to support the curriculum.

Both buildings could be 1 or 2 stories and will be constructed in two phases (Phase I – 2021, approximately 33,000 SF; Phase II – 2026, approximately 36,000 SF).

Phase I Building: 33,000 SF

Kinesiology Department:
- 3000 SF Dry Lab
- 1000 SF Faculty offices
- 1400 SF Dance studio (teaching and rehearsal)

- 7000 SF Physical Education space (1 multi-use indoor court for basketball, volleyball
and/or indoor soccer)
- 4000 SF Weight/cardio rooms
- 5000 SF Faculty Offices
- 1000 SF Conference Room
- 10,600 SF Restrooms, locker, showers, custodial areas, laundry, kitchen

Phase II Building: 36,000 SF
- 14,000 SF Two gyms (multi-use indoor courts for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer)
- 5000 SF Kinesiology and Recreation faculty offices
- 5000 SF Kinesiology classrooms
- 6000 SF Restrooms, locker rooms, showers, custodial spaces
- 6000 SF Weight/cardio room

Only intramural sports will occur in the Recreation Center, not indoor athletic team competitions.

CSUMB is interested in the requirements of the Living Building Challenge as a supplemental consideration. General information about the Living Building Challenge can be found at and details about the standard can be found at

CSUMB has identified 2030 as its carbon neutrality goal. The university is approaching this goal on a campus-wide basis more than a building-by-building approach. Thus, while submissions may be net zero for the buildings in order to meet the intent of the competition, winners will be expected to demonstrate that entries can be connected to a district scale energy system, that is also net-zero.

Other important considerations for design teams:

- Designs should be compatible with a heat source of heating hot water, not natural gas. - Solar panels can be utilized to achieve carbon neutrality however, they should not be placed on the roof of the building. The primary suggested location for the panels would be parking lot 59, which is “solar ready”.
- The building roof should be considered for recreation, garden or lounge space. However, wind and fog are issues for the design teams to consider.
- There will be an ocean view from the upper levels which should be capitalized on by design teams.
- Building height should not to exceed 70 feet.

Integration with Campus Scale Systems

The CSUMB team has developed a long-term strategy focused on transitioning to cleaner sources of energy at the whole campus level. Being a campus makes CSUMB an ideal candidate for exploring shared energy services such as aggregated PV and ground source heat pump loops. For example, they are exploring solutions for replacing the gas-fired boiler with a heat pump arrangement that could take advantage of the recently secured heat extraction rights from a nearby groundwater source and recovering heat rejected by the chiller plant pipes.

While not a challenge requirement, participants are encouraged to consider load sharing strategies between buildings and articulate these strategies at the whole campus level in the design documentation.

Interim Review for Students and Student Teams (for students only):

Affirming the commitment to students of architecture and engineering, PG&E is offering, at no charge, a technical review of student entries to the Architecture at Zero competition. Students and student teams are encouraged, but not required to take advantage of this opportunity.

This review will be performed by technical reviewers, NOT members of the final jury. Technical reviewers will include energy experts from PG&E, as well as some of California’s most knowledgeable architects and engineers. This “desk crit” will focus on energy consumption and production of the proposed design, as opposed to the architectural design. Reviewers will evaluate energy metrics, EUI’s, and estimates of renewable technologies and other topics. Sessions will be 30 minutes each.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173777

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $25,000 in total prize money will be awarded to student and professional winners.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This competition is open to students, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers and designers anywhere in the world.

Full-time student entrants must provide a copy of their student ID.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Representatives from CSUMB and PG&E will lead a tour of the competition site on October 27, 2018 at 12 noon. This session will be filmed and questions and answers posted on the website for those unable to attend in person.

Address: Alumni and Visitors Center
Wear sturdy shoes.
The tour will take approximately 60 minutes.

To attend: Please confirm your attendance via RSVP using the email in Contact Information below.

Pre-Application Information:


- All registrations including students must be received by January 10, 2019 at 1:00pm.
- All submissions must be received by January 28, 2019 at 1:00pm PST.

Winners will be announced on March 1, 2019 at 10:00 AM PST at at CSUMB.

The entry fee for architects, engineers and designers is $275. The entry fee for students and recent grads is $0.

Interim Review for Students and Student Teams:

- PG&E is offering, at no charge, a technical review of student entries to the Architecture at Zero competition. Students and student teams are encouraged, but not required to take advantage of this opportunity.
- To participate in this review, students must register online for a specific time slot.
Available dates and times will be posted on the website on September 1, 2018. Reviews will be held in November 2018.
- The number of reviews will be limited so be sure to register early.
- Reviews will be 30 minutes and conducted via video conferencing. Reviews will be provided orally and students are encouraged to keep notes of reviewer comments.


Site resources:

Technical resources:

Registration and Application Information:

Terms and Conditions:

More information about Architecture at Zero may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To RSVP for the tour or register for the Interim Review, review the available dates and times for the review and send up to 5 possible dates/times (from list) to: Include student/team name and phone number for video/phone conference.

Register Online:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.