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Engineering & Construction

The Engineering and Construction Jury reviews and evaluates team deliverables and the model home.


This house offers well-designed, practical, and affordable modular construction for the California housing market. The thorough engineering analysis delivers simple, practical, and affordable solutions for the affordable housing market.

  • Well-engineered using off-the-shelf technologies.
  • Outstanding energy and engineering analysis.
  • Energy efficient heat pump hot water heater.
  • Smart modular design consolidates plumbing systems to a single module.
  • Relies only on windows for air quality control.
  • No shading on south-facing clerestories.
  • Generally excellent engineering drawings.

The panelized modular construction using structural insulated panels (SIPs) offers a high performance thermal envelope with low cost, rapid assembly, and easy transport. The well-engineered design uses off-the-shelf components for functional and reliable home operations.

  • No discussion of controls.
  • Well designed modular structural system.
  • Major oversight to not address IAQ with mechanical ventilation in an otherwise very tight house.
  • Innovative moisture barrier eliminates common challenge with SIP construction.
  • SIP design virtually eliminates thermal bridging.
  • Innovative electrical and piping connections between modules.
  • High quality engineering documentation, though incomplete.
  • Exterior shading with living lattice.
  • Implementation of SIP construction could make future electrical renovations challenging.

The design and construction of this house were incomplete. From what we saw and were able to glean from the documentation, it is not clear that the engineering and construction addressed the needs of the expressed target market.

  • Modularity offers potential for low-cost construction.
  • Three separate buildings increase envelope surface area and reduce thermal performance.
  • Poor engineering documentation.
  • No discussion of glazing, infiltration, ventilation, foundation, controls or water heating.
  • Design of lattice could provide effective shading.

This all-purpose modular home has potential as a stand-alone single family home or ADU. The thorough and thoughtful engineering and construction of this house make it applicable to any California climate. The engineering systems ensure a comfortable and healthy home.

Improvements to consider include:

  • Good energy performance of building envelope and systems.
  • Energy recovery ventilator offers excellent air quality.
  • Energy recovery from shower drain.
  • Solar hot water system.
  • Span panel provides sophisticated electrical control for improved battery performance.
  • Combination washer/condensing dryer saves energy.
  • Solar tubes provide daylighting.
  • Cork façade provides fire resistance and additional insulation.
  • High performance windows.
  • Excellent engineering documentation.

The house utilizes a unique and novel concrete structural system in modular construction. The engineering design of the house and its systems are toughtful and thorough, though the implementation of the engineering systems displayed on-site did not meet the design potential.

  • Concrete envelope provides, excellent insulation, thermal mass, and fire protection.
  • Unique insulated concrete structural system that allows for second floor expansion.
  • Novel concrete material.
  • Solid design of mechanical and plumbing systems, though implementation does not reflect design.
  • Effective design of central mechanical core for HVAC and plumbing delivery.
  • The ERV in the design could provide good indoor air quality.
  • Implementation of concrete construction could make future electrical renovations challenging.
  • Documentation delivered to the jury was incomplete and inadequate.

This home employs thoughtful modular construction and thorough engineering to deliver a home for a specific client in Southern California that could also be built as an ADU throughout California. The structural system uses a novel steel framing technology while offering a well-insulated building envelope. The overall engineering systems were the most sophisticated and thoughtful of the entire competition.

  • Novel FrameCAD steel structural system offers a construction method that is affordable and easy to assemble.
  • Well-insulated thermal envelope.
  • Integrated phase change material to improve thermal mass.
  • Exterior shading on south wall.
  • Excellent indoor air quality though air filtration, three energy recovery ventilators, and mechanical ventilation through HVAC air handlers.
  • Heat pump water heater with clever heat recovery.
  • Clever integration of smart controls for appliances, lighting, and receptacle.
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting control. Expandable modular battery system.
  • Outstanding engineering documentation.

This innovative house design can be shipped worldwide in a single shipping container. The design allows rapid deployment with hinged ceilings and panelized wall section with plug-in electrical connections. However, the modular implementation could compromise energy performance.

  • Very novel delivery system offers rapid construction.
  • Flexible panelized window and wall system.
  • Metal wall and ceiling construction is relatively thin, which compromises the envelope thermal performance by reducing insulation thickness and promoting thermal bridging.
  • The innovative heat pumps system is integrated with the roofing, but it is not clear that the system offers improved performance or reliability over conventional systems.
  • Incomplete and inadequate documentation.

This house is specifically designed for suburban/exurban/rural environment without grid connectivity. The novel exoskleton provides a greenhouse around a shipping container-based house. The greenhouse concepts seems to offer interesting potential, but the design needs further development.

  • Shipping containers offer modularity and study structure.
  • Greenhouse could provide food and buffering from harsh environments.
  • Thermosyphon solar water heater is affordable and effective.
  • Alexa-based lighting controls.
  • Rain collection and grey water system.
  • Large PV system with potential for further expansion.
  • Novel Soliculture PV modules for plant growth.
  • Envelope of dining area needs further consideration.
  • Implementation of greenhouse is not fully thought through. If fully enclosed, the design must address fire/egress issues.
  • A thorough energy analysis is required to assess the energy performance further develop the design of the integrated greenhouse and home.
  • Engineering documentation is informative, but insufficient to construct the home.
This contest evaluates the engineering and construction workmanship of the team. A jury of qualified professionals will assign an overall score for the merit and implementation of the engineering design. The jury will consider the team deliverables and perform an on-site evaluation of the model home. The jury will consider the following criteria:
  1. How well does the team address issues pertaining to engineering and construction for the target market segment?
  2. Demonstration of high levels of functionality, viability, reliability, and efficiency of the building and its systems, including structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and controls, and their adequate integration into the overall project.
  3. Efficiency and effectiveness of the model home envelope and its effectiveness in reducing the space conditioning loads of the model home.
  4. Professionalism of the team’s documentation: Construction and system specifications, energy analysis results and discussion, and audio-visuals should accurately reflect the model home assembled on the competition site.
In addition to and separate from the score assigned to each team for the Engineering and Construction Contest, the jury will assign each team a score for innovation. This score will become one-fifth of the total score for the Innovation Contest. The jury will consider the following questions:
  1. What unique elements or aspects of building and construction represent noteworthy innovation?
  2. To what extent does the design solution utilize new, unique, or atypical processes, technologies, or engineering solutions for improved performance?

George Koertzen

Michael Brandemuehl

David Kaneda

Andrea Marr