Illinois Tech Sustainable Building Design Programs Awarded DOE’s First-ever Zero Energy Design Designation

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded its inaugural Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD) to two Illinois Institute of Technology building design programs


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CHICAGO—October 10, 2022—The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) awarded its first-ever Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD) to two Illinois Institute of Technology programs that are preparing tomorrow’s architectural and engineering leaders to design and build the most sustainable buildings possible. 

Buildings and their construction are major contributors to carbon dioxide emissions, so future engineers must be trained to design and construct high-efficiency, low-carbon buildings.  This new DOE designation distinguishes post-secondary academic programs that impart the best practices of zero-energy design on students and requires them to apply those building science concepts in actual projects. 

Illinois Tech is one of 12 institutions internationally with programs receiving this designation in DOE’s first cohort, with the Master of Engineering in Architectural Engineering and Master of High Performance Buildings programs being two of 17 programs selected. 

DOE offers ZEDD to programs with a proven ability to impart the best practices of zero-energy design, with an emphasis on hands-on learning by requiring students to apply those building science concepts in actual projects.

“This designation is important to us because it demonstrates our commitment to, and passion for, sustainable building design and interdisciplinary education. It is an honor to receive this designation as one of the first pilots,” says Brent Stephens, chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and the Arthur W. Hill Endowed Chair in Sustainability.

Students in Illinois Tech’s ZEDD-designated programs will compete in the DOE’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge, which Illinois Tech teams have won in previous years

“Our fight against climate change runs straight through our nation’s buildings, and the forward-looking college and university programs we honored today are paving the way for students to lead our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions future,” said Carolyn Snyder, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. “Graduates of these programs will join the front lines of our fight against the climate crisis by designing sustainable buildings that bring the benefits of our clean energy future to all.”

The Biden-Harris administration has set the goal of reaching a net-zero emissions economy in the U.S. by 2050. 

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

Armour College of Engineering

Armour College of Engineering has been educating world-class engineers since the university’s founding in 1890. As future engineers who will innovate in the twenty-first century, Armour students learn the principles of the profession and work in an interdisciplinary environment that emphasizes hands-on learning, teamwork, and leadership, all through the lens of our four engineering themes—water, health, energy, and security—that highlight issues vital today and in the future. Armour is home to five departments and nine ABET-accredited undergraduate majors, which provide a wide breadth of exciting programs from which to choose. Illinois Tech alumni have advanced to careers as presidents of companies and professors at major universities—and have become members of the National Academy of Engineering, the highest distinction in the field.

Media contact

Petra Kelly
Communications Director
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773.771.1064