New Dow Solar Design challenges the world to develop efficient homes

New Dow Solar Design challenges the world to develop efficient homesDow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) introduced a new competition, the Dow Solar Design to Zero Competition, for architecture, design and engineering students and professionals to develop home designs based on their regions using solar technologies and sustainable construction practices.

Registration for the competition, which has a $20,000 grand prize, started Aug. 15 and ends on Oct. 31.

“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Dow, so this competition is a great way to learn from today’s students about the type of sustainable design solutions we need to foster for the future,” Pat Nugent, director of new business development at Dow Solar, said in a press release. “Having this type of global collaboration and input is also a wonderful way to find creative approaches to incorporating energy efficiency and solar capabilities into a home.”

The competition, which is online at, carries a small registration fee, and all the money from registration fees will be donated to a non-governmental entity that will be named later, according to Michael Savoni, a spokesperson for Dow.

“It’s eligible for teams, individuals and classrooms. Teams participating can register for $10 and classrooms can register for $30,” he said.

Although the competition coincides with the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon (Dow Chemical is sponsoring two entries, by the way) in Washington, D.C., the two are pretty different.

What works for one might not work for the other.

“The Solar Decathlon is focused on solar power. This has solar as a component. This is also very much tailored to whatever part of the world [entrants] are from,” Savoni said. “A house from students in the U.S. will be very different from a house from students in India.”

The Solar Decathlon also is focused on houses that will perform well in Washington, D.C.’s climate.

“One of the Dow teams is building their house for Habitat for Humanity,” Savoni said.

It will likely be located in the Washington, D.C., region after the Solar Decathlon is completed.

In addition to the grand prize, second place will receive $10,000 and third place will receive $5,000. The company also will recognize three other entries at an awards ceremony to be held in the spring, according to Savoni.

At this point Dow has not decided what to do with the winning designs.

“We don’t have an answer for that yet,” he said.

Image courtesy of Dow.