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Contest: Design a Sustainable House

Green LivingLevel: Students in grades 5-8 and 9-12. Application Deadline: September 15, 2010.

The Sustainable Dream House Contest

Sponsored by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE)

As the world population continues to rise, with no slowdown in sight, so does the demand for existing natural resources such as water, oil, coal, natural gas, energy, wood (paper), metal ores, minerals, etc., to support that growing population. We all know that an endless supply of natural resources does not exist, something has to give! We as the human race have to start learning to do with less and to begin learning how to be more efficient and reuse what we have. If we do not, we will find ourselves in the very near future struggling to provide basic services for the world population.

The Challenge

The Sustainable Dream House Contest invites students in grades 5-8 and 9-12 to design a residential home that a family of four could comfortably live in that takes advantage of sustainable design concepts such as energy efficiency, reusable natural resources, the sun and much more. Please consider where you can apply these concepts to selecting:

  • Construction building materials (e.g. concrete, wood framing, etc)
  • Home decorations (example, rugs, paints, wallpaper, furniture, etc.)
  • Energy
    • Supply (Where does it come from; How is it generated?)
    • Usage (around the house)
  • Water
    • Supply (Where does it come from? How is it treated?)
    • Usage (in the house)
  • Communications and data infrastructure (e.g. phone, computer, etc)
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Household Waste Products


A submission should consist of:

  • Either a poster or picture of a scale model of your “Sustainable Dream House.”
  • A table including a listing of all sustainable design features in the house and an explanation of why it is sustainable, and its function/purpose within the house.
  • A written discussion of:
    • how you can live comfortably within the house using the features you have designed.
    • cost and benefits of designing an environmentally “sustainable house.”
    • Names and ages/grades of everyone involved on the project.
    • Name of the school and supervisor/project coordinator.
Each project may be submitted by either an individual or a group/class. If a group/class submits on a project, we suggest that the group/class be broken up into sub-groups to work on individual areas of the house.
Submisssion Deadline: Projects must be submitted by September 15, 2010.


Two categories will be judged separately

  • Middle School – Grades 5 through 8
  • High School – Grades 9 through 12
The top winners in each category will get a chance to present their submittal in Washington, D.C. during the USA Science and Engineering Festival – Expo on the National Mall, October 23 and 24, 2010. The AAEE will sponsor one child representative, one school representative, and one parent from the winning submittal. Winners will be invited to attend the Expo on the Mall along with their projects and be prepared to explain their work and answer questions from the people passing by and participating in the Expo. Individual details will be worked out with each winner.
For more details, including complete contest rules and to access the submission form, please visit the contest Website.

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