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Third Annual Architecture at Zero Competition for Zero Net Energy Building Designs Opens

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) joins American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIASF), in partnership with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), today to announce the opening of the third annual Architecture at Zero competition for zero net energy (ZNE) building designs. ZNE buildings produce as much clean energy as they use during a year through a combination of designed energy efficiency and on-site, grid-tied renewable energy production.

The Architecture at Zero competition is open to all entrants, including designers, academics, researchers and students. To help generate innovative ideas for zero net energy building designs, the Architecture at Zero competition will focus on the design of a zero net energy mixed-rate housing complex, including market rate and affordable housing, in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. International experts will judge the entries and award up to $25,000 in total prizes in November.

"We are excited that this year's contest focuses on affordable housing. Energy-efficient buildings generate cost savings for us that, as a nonprofit, we can pass on to our tenants," said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk . "The impact in low-income communities is immediate. Saving a dollar or two a day may not seem like a lot to a moderate-income household, but it makes all the difference for a family struggling to make ends meet in the Tenderloin."

This is the third year that PG&E and AIASF have held the Architecture at Zero competition. Past competition sites have included University of California, Merced in 2012 and an urban infill site in Emeryville, CA. The competition supports an action plan of the California Public Utilities Commission for all new residential construction in California to be zero net energy by 2020. The goal for new commercial construction is to achieve zero net energy by 2030.

"PG&E is excited that this year's Architecture at Zero competition will focus on innovative zero net energy building designs for multifamily homes – a unique opportunity to realize energy savings for many, under one roof," said Steve Malnight , vice president of customer energy solutions for PG&E. "Working with the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation to encourage zero net energy designs for multi-family, affordable housing can help operators and tenants realize energy and cost savings."

Competition entries will be juried by the following international experts: Bob Berkebile , FAIA, Principal, BNIM Architects; Ed Mazria , Founder, Architecture 2030; Cathleen McGuigan , Editor-in-Chief, Architectural Record; and Paul Torcellini , Manager, Commercial Buildings Group, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 1, 2013. To register or learn more, visit

About AIA San Francisco

Serving the Bay Area for more than a century, the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter (AIA San Francisco) is one of the largest of the AIA's 300 chapters. Headquartered in the historic Hallidie Building—one of the world's first glass-curtain-wall-buildings, designed by Willis Polk and completed in 1917—AIA San Francisco is the Bay Area's premier destination for architecture and design. Representing more than 2,300 members in San Francisco and Marin County, its mission is to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting architecture and design. It furthers this goal through community involvement, education, advocacy, public outreach, member service, and professional excellence.


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