Summary: The intent of this competition is to solicit design ideas for affordable, carbon positive housing. Designers should consider the replicability of their approach in multiple neighbourhoods, cities, and/or countries. Program size could range from a micro-home to a tall building depending on the select context or solution. There are no restrictions in regard to program or size. Participants are encouraged to look beyond conventional solutions and consider resiliency in strategies as well. 

Description: Buildings account for 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. From houses and hospitals to schools and offices, buildings in the United States use about 40 percent of the country’s energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and other operations. It is estimated that the manufacture, transport, and assembly of building materials such as wood, concrete, and steel account for another eight percent of energy use. About 30 percent of the electricity buildings use is generated from coal-burning power plants, which release greenhouse gases, causing climate change.

The landmark IPCC 2021 report warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. The report “is a code red for humanity,” says the UN chief, but scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. The total cost of natural disaster damages neared $50 billion in September 2020 in the United States alone, already surpassing the total cost for all of 2019. One-third of all homes in the US are considered at high risk of a natural disaster, resulting in many homeowners bearing the brunt of costly repairs.

As climate change intensifies, housing stability will be increasingly under threat. Housing is one of the most significant determinants of financial security and generational wealth in the US. Housing is also the largest expense for families, as more than 38 million US households live in housing that is not affordable to them. Similar trends can be seen across Europe. Unaffordable and insecure housing leaves families less able to cope with unexpected expenses such as extensive repairs or rebuilding from flooding or wildfires. Both the frequency and reoccurrence of climate-related disasters have exacerbated affordable housing crises in areas prone to disasters. Without significant intervention, areas prone to climate-related disasters will continue to face housing instability.


Entrants are encouraged to select sites that are typical “types” to ensure solutions can be broadly applied to a particular context to address the challenge of affordable housing and climate change.


Prize and Publishing: The jury will select one entry as the winner of the single prize of fifty thousand dollars in United States dollars ($50,000 USD). To have an entry be declared the winner of the prize, Entrants must meet all the terms and conditions.

For more information, visit the competition website here!

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