Architecture at Zero 2016 - Competition of Architecture, Engineering and Design, San Francisco State University, United States

Publish Date: Jun 30, 2016

Deadline: Sep 30, 2016

Details of Architecture at Zero 2016 Contest

Architecture at Zero 2016 is a zero net energy design competition open to students and professionals worldwide, engaging architecture, engineering, planning students and professionals in the pursuit of energy efficient design.

This year's competition is a student housing project on the San Francisco State University campus. Student registration is free. Register for updates.

Architecture at Zero 2016 is presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC).


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


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

Entries are judged on the presentation board highlighting the project and any supplementary documentation. A separate review panel will convene to jury the technical components, which will result in a Technical Evaluation provided to the Jury. The Jury will determine the winners from all submissions. The Technical Evaluation is not the sole criterion on which entries will be judged but acts as a complement to the overall project design evaluation.

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.

About the CHALLENGE of the Architecture at Zero 2016 Competition

The Architecture at Zero 2016 competition challenge is to create a zero net energy student housing project at the San Francisco State University campus.

The competition has two components. First, entrants will create an overall site plan to accommodate 784 housing units, student services, dining center, childcare facility, and parking, detailed in the Challenge Program. Entrants are encouraged to highlight any energy efficiency strategies or systems shown, especially ones that apply to a district scale. Second, entrants will design one building, 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. 


The registration deadline is Friday, September 30th at 6:00pm PST and the submission deadline is Friday, October 28th, 2016. Your full entry must be received by 1:00 pm PST.

Please note that the Architecture at Zero competition uses an electronic registration process. If you are submitting multiple projects, you will need to register each project separately.

All submissions shall become the property of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which reserves the right to exhibit and reproduce any of the submissions. By submitting a project, the entrant agrees to all Terms and Conditions outlined in the Architecture at Zero 2016 Terms and Conditions document. In any public use of the submissions, credit will be given to the design team. All submissions are final. 


Representatives from San Francisco State and PG&E will lead a in-depth tour of the competition site in September. Please register to receive details. 



Peter Turnbull, Principal, Zero Net Energy Pilot Program, PG&E

Can Anbarlilar, Project Manager, Product Management – Zero Net Energy, PG&E

Margie O’Driscoll - Senior Program Manager

Geraldine O’Brien - Principal

Anna LaRue - Principal, Resource Refocus LLC (consultant to PG&E)

Margaret Pigman - Associate Technical Consultant, Resource Refocus LLC (consultant to PG&E)

Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIACC

Cam Pietralunga - Web/Graphics Designer - AIACC 


Thomas Lollini, FAIA, Senior Associate Vice President, Physical Planning & Development, SFSU

Jill Anthes, Executive Director of Community Planning and Design, SFSU 


Photos courtesy of SF State/Paul Asper, Jill Anthes, Nedal Saba and SF State and the competition planning team.

Terms and conditions of the Architecture at Zero 2016 Contest


This competition site (“Site”) is designed to create an online, Internet-based forum for purposes of promoting, displaying, participating, transmitting, publicizing, and conducting Architecture at Zero, a Zero Net Energy Design Competition (“Event”) conducted by the AIA California Council. You agree to use this Site lawfully. You represent, warrant and agree that no materials You submit, upload, provide, share, publish or display (“Post”), to fulfill competition requirements, including text, data, information, images, graphics, drawings, photographs and renderings (“Content”) infringe upon any personal or proprietary rights of a third party. Said rights include, but are not limited to, those granted by copyright, trademark, patent or privacy laws or any other legal protection granted under either state or federal law and found in statutory or common law.

You may not copy, reproduce, modify, download, transfer, create derivative works, publish, display, or save any Content from the Site that you do not own or have permission to do so.

In the event you become aware of any potential third party claim relating to Content posted by You, You shall notify the AIA California Council within 24 hours of becoming aware of such claim at mail(at) AIA California Council shall have the right to remove any Content posted by You for any duration of time.


By way of your participation in this Event, You grant a perpetual license to AIA California Council and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to use your Content provided for the purposes of advancing energy efficiency and Zero Net Energy concepts, knowledge, and expertise which may be done by way of electronic and printed publications, educational events and other forms of public display and dissemination.

By granting this perpetual license, You acknowledge that the Site may be accessed on the Internet for an unlimited time period, with all Content posted by You also remaining on the Site. Content posted by You may also be used for purposes of promoting, planning and conducting future Events. All present and future licensees and /or assigns to your Content shall also be bound to the preceding terms. 


AIA California Council assumes no responsibility for Content posted by You. Back up copies of Content are the sole responsibility of You, at your own expense and cost.

AIA California Council does not verify or make any claims as to the ownership or authorship of any Content provided by a user of this Site. AIA California Council does, however, respect the proprietary rights of others. In the event You feel a third party user of the Site has infringed upon any of your rights by posting Content or any other material on the Site, please notify AIA California Council immediately and AIA California Council will, at its discretion, remove the Content at this issue.

AIA California Council shall have the right to arrange and configure Content posted by You in a manner that is consistent with providing a fair and equal opportunity for each of the entrants of the Event to display their Content. Under no circumstance shall You take any action against AIA California Council for claims of impropriety relating to the conducting, judging, organizing, management, and running of the Event for which the Site has been created. 


You agree to indemnify and hold harmless AIA California Council, PG&E and each of its officers, directors, agents, employees, contractors and partners against any claims, actions or demands made by third parties, and any ensuing fees or costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, relating to your use of this Site, Content posted by You on this Site, or any behavior by You relating to this Site. 


AIA California Council and PG&E are not liable for the activities and conduct of any user of this Site. Any copying, downloading, displaying, reproduction and publishing of Content performed by a third party and/or user of this Site is neither monitored nor regulated by AIA California Council.

The Site may be temporarily unavailable for maintenance or any other reason. AIA California Council will use its best efforts to restore service of the Site but under no circumstance will AIA California Council or PG&E bear the responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion or defect stemming from such interruptions in service of the Site. AIA California Council and PG&E will also bear no responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss or damage to Your Content that may be directly or indirectly related to any service disruption.

This Site and any services provided by AIA California Council related to this Site is performed and provided “as-is” and AIA California Council disclaims all representations and warranties, whether express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement. The company does not represent or warrant that software, content on this Site, or any service provided by AIA California Council are accurate, complete, reliable, current or error-free or that the Site is free of viruses or other harmful elements. You understand that downloading of Content from this Site is done at your own risk and that You bear the sole responsibility and cost of employing common practices such as employing standard software used for the detection and removal of viruses.

AIA California Council and PG&E and each of its directors, officers, employees, or partners assume no liability to You, or anyone else for any indirect, consequential, exemplary, incidental, special or punitive damages including any lost profits arising from your use of the Site. Notwithstanding the preceding disclaimers and limitations on liability, AIA California Council will never be liable to You for any amount exceeding $250.00. 


By using the Site, You are submitting yourself to the laws and jurisdiction of California. Should You initiate any claim or action against AIA California Council, You shall do so only in either the state or federal courts of San Francisco, California. Any defenses You may have relating to lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens with respect to venue and jurisdiction in the state and federal courts of San Francisco, California shall be waived by You. 


If any term or provision of this Agreement is found to be unenforceable under law said term or provision is severable from this Agreement; the remaining terms and provisions shall remain in full force and effect.

This Agreement represents the entire agreement between You and AIA California Council. Any and all prior agreements relating to your use of this Site shall be deemed null and void.

Should AIA California Council fail to enforce any provision under this Agreement, such inaction shall NOT constitute a waiver of said provision in any instance. 


The undersigned entrant into the Architecture at Zero Design Competition hereby accepts and acknowledges that it has no right, contractual or otherwise, to be recognized as an awards winner. Event winners are determined and prizes are awarded in the sole and absolute discretion of the Jury.

The undersigned entrant hereby accepts and acknowledges that the Jury’s decisions in selecting the awards winners are final and non-appealable. The undersigned entrant will indemnify AIA California Council and PG&E and will hold them harmless from, against and in respect of any and all liabilities, damages, losses, deficiencies, costs, judgments, amounts paid in settlement, interest, penalties, assessments and out-of-pocket expenses (including attorneys’ fees and the costs of AIA California Council and PG&E) incurred in connection with or arising out of the defense of or any proceeding with respect to any claims, whether accrued, contingent or otherwise incurred in connection with or arising out of the entrant’s entry into the Architecture at Zero competition.

For more detailed information you can download the attached pdf file and also, click on "Further Official Information" below.

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