US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

APA - The Engineered Wood Association

Florida Carbon Challenge Design Winners

From left to right: Mike Ritter (Assistant Director of the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab), Bob Clark (APA – The Engineered Wood Association), Damon Roby  (Carbon Challenge Grand Prize Design Award Winner), and C.W. Macomber (APA).Who can design a home with the lowest carbon footprint? That question, posed by APA to residential designers in the Carbon Challenge 2010 Florida Design Competition, was answered when the Grand Prize Design Award was presented to Damon Roby of True Design Studios in Jacksonville, Florida.

Roby is pictured at right accepting his award, along with (from left to right) Mike Ritter, Assistant Director of theU.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab; APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist Bob Clark; Roby; and APA Engineered Wood Specialist C.W. Macomber.

Roby and five other winners were recognized on January 13, 2011, at a ceremony and reception sponsored by APA at the 2011 NAHB International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida. View the winning designs.

“The winners really put a lot of thought into the carbon footprint and operational energy of these homes, as well as proper design and constructability,” said Clark. “If any of these six designs were built, it would have a positive impact on the carbon footprint of home construction today.”

Cash prizes totaling $15,000 were awarded to the top three finalists and the winners of three design categories: Best Use of Wood Products, Best Curb Appeal and Most Cost-Effective Design. All six winning designs were displayed at the ceremony.

"I was just honored to be here as one of the finalists,” said Roby. “I looked around the room when I arrived and knew that all of the designs were really good.”

The Carbon Challenge Grand Prize Winning Design from Damon Roby, True Design StudiosRoby’s design featured a raised wood floor with a closed conditioned crawl space and advanced framing, including 2x6 wood framing with wall studs spaced 24 inches on center – a method that provides extra space in the wall cavity for added insulation. Additional energy enhancements included radiant barrier roof sheathing, raised heel roof trusses (also known as energy trusses), and spray-foam insulated walls in the crawl space.

“We were so impressed with the level of innovation shown in the Grand Prize winning design, as well as the other finalists,” said Ritter. "These designers really demonstrate how to use wood-frame construction to design homes that optimize our forest resources and minimize our impact on the climate.”

Thirty-six single-family house designs were entered into the competition and evaluated by a panel of five judges. Winners were determined by a performance score based on a scientific life-cycle assessment (LCA), cost-effectiveness, and adherence to the architectural standards of a Florida development, among other criteria. The judges, noting that any one of the six finalists could have been selected as the Grand Prize Design winner, said that Roby’s design was “chosen for the way it squarely addressed the dual criteria of energy awareness and aesthetics without compromising affordability.”

This reception and awards ceremony was a huge success,” said Clark in regards to the 80 attendees. “Many of the designers brought fellow associates and family members. There was a real sense of camaraderie among the design community here tonight.”

Clark and Ritter presented the awards to the six finalists, including:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Damon W. Roby, True Design Studios
  • Second Place: Greg Beere and Jason Fisher, Content Design Group
  • Third Place:  Mark Straite, Mark Straite, Architects, Inc.
  • Best Use of Wood: David Pillsbury AIBD, Keesee and Associates, Inc.
  • Best Curb Appeal: Russell Ervin, Ervin Lovett & Miller
  • Most Cost-Effective: Nicholas Renard, Cote Renard Architecture

Damon Roby of True Design Studios wins the Carbon Challenge 2010 Florida Design Competition Grand Prize Design Award.In addition to a cash prize, Roby’s design will be evaluated in a comprehensive LCA study comparing the design in full wood-frame construction to construction on concrete slab with concrete block walls. The results of the study will be presented in a series of APA seminars this spring throughout Florida.

The Carbon Challenge is being conducted in conjunction with the Raised Floor Living program, a cooperative promotion effort between APA and the Southern Forest Products Association. Program sponsors and contributors include the Advanced Housing Research Center: Forest Products Lab, Forest Products Association of Canada, Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association, St. Joe Company, NEFBA Wood Council and the Florida Wood Council.

Pictures of the event can be viewed in the Carbon Challenge Photo Gallery.


Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design Winners

The winners of the Baltimore Carbon Challenge at the awards ceremony, March 28 at Humanim at the American Brewery in Baltimore, MD.

Providence Carbon Challenge Design Winners

ZeroEnergy Design is honored for winning the Providence Carbon Challenge Grand Prize.During an awards ceremony March 26 in Providence, RI, the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab (FPL) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association honored several local architects as winners in the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition. The contest, based in Providence but open to entrants nationwide, challenged residential architects to design an affordable house while considering strategies that reduce fossil fuel use and the structure’s carbon footprint. (Pictured: The ZeroEnergy Design team is presented with the Providence Carbon Challenge Grand Prize. View more photos.)

Competition participants developed a Habitat for Humanity home design for a vacant lot at 24 Hannah St. With the help of life-cycle assessment software from the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, designers determined the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions from the products in their design. Along with each entry’s carbon footprint, the judges considered its use of wood, its cost-effectiveness, and its aesthetic.

Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the winners across multiple categories:

  • Providence Carbon Challenge Design Competition Grand Prize WinnerGrand Prize ($5,000): ZeroEnergy Design, Boston (pictured)
  • 2nd Place ($2,500): Kyle Bamrick & Christopher Armstrong, Providence
  • 3rd Place ($1,000): Joseph P. Campanella -- Design Alliance, LLC, West Hartford
  • Best Use of Wood Products ($500): Anne Lissett & Benjamin Monroe -- LEAF Architecture, West Hartford
  • Best Curb Appeal ($500): Erik Rhodin & Taina Rhodin -- Line Company Architects, Waltham
  • Most Cost-Effective ($500): Christen M. Robbins -- Vision 3 Architects, Providence

View the winning designs.

“We were extremely impressed by the entries to the Carbon Challenge Design Competition; the designers took innovative approaches to reducing the home’s carbon footprint while achieving both aesthetic appeal and optimal building performance,” said Bob Clark, senior engineered wood specialist for APA. “The entries clearly reflect the excitement of their designers for creating sustainable building solutions. APA's Bob Clark at the Providence Carbon Challenge awards ceremonyThese designs will improve not only the livability of homes, but also of the surrounding community.” (Pictured: APA's Bob Clark addresses the crowd at the Providence Carbon Challenge awards ceremony, March 26 at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI. View more photos.)

ZeroEnergy Design’s winning design, “The Little Green Rhody,” is a wood-framed four-bedroom, two-bath home with a gabled roof suitable for the neighborhood’s traditional architecture. By combining an airtight, well-insulated building envelope, high-efficiency windows sited for optimal solar orientation, a 7.5-kW solar array, and a range of other features, the house is designed to use less than half the energy of a code-built home. Other features include rain barrels to collect water for landscaping, a two-track driveway to decrease impermeable surfacing, and an insulated basement.

“This design is very buildable and beautifully represented,” noted one judge. “It fits the context of the neighborhood very well.”

A total of 144 designers entered the Carbon Challenge competition in Providence and a simultaneous contest in Baltimore. The initiative is designed to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of wood construction, particularly the carbon neutrality of wood as a building material, and to promote the use of life cycle assessment tools.

“The goal of the Carbon Challenge is to educate designers about the role of building materials in a home’s environmental footprint. By designing with consideration to life cycle assessment, participants are able to adapt their designs and product selections to maximize efficiency and energy performance,” said Mike Ritter, assistant director for FPL. “In turn, the resulting home designs showcase to the public the attainability and lifelong benefits of sustainably built, wood-framed homes.”

The Carbon Challenge Providence is held in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island—Greater Providence and AIA Rhode Island, and is supported by sponsors LP Building Products and Boise Cascade.


During an awards ceremony March 28 in Baltimore, MD, the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab (FPL) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association honored several local architects as winners in the Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition. The contest, based in Baltimore but open to entrants nationwide, challenged residential architects to design an affordable house while considering strategies that reduce fossil fuel use and the structure’s carbon footprint.

Competition participants developed an urban row house for the 1500 block of Bethel St. in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood. With the help of life-cycle assessment software from the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, designers determined the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions from the products in their design. Along with each entry’s carbon footprint, the judges considered its use of wood, its cost-effectiveness, and its aesthetic.

Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the winners across multiple categories:

  • Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design Competition Grand Prize WinnerGrand Prize ($5,000): Phillip Jones -- Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Baltimore (pictured)
  • 2nd Place ($2,500): Alexander Dzurec -- autotroph, Huntington
  • 3rd Place ($1,000): Drew Suljak, Kelly Krob, & David Lopez -- studioRED / hord | coplan | macht, Baltimore
  • Best Use of Wood Products ($500): Chris Melander & Ross Smith -- RTKL Associates Inc., Baltimore
  • Best Curb Appeal ($500): Randy M. Sovich & Jojo Duah -- RM Sovich Architecture, Baltimore
  • Most Cost-Effective ($500): Jay Orr -- ARQ Architects, Baltimore
  • Special Judges Award: Best Social Statement: Lisa M. Ferretto & Kallie Sternburgh -- hord | coplan | macht, Baltimore; Janice Romanosky -- Pando Alliance, Millersville; & Prescott Gaylord – Entellis Collaborative/Hamel Builders, Elkridge

View the winning designs.

“We were extremely impressed by the entries to the Carbon Challenge Design Competition; the designers took innovative approaches to reducing the home’s carbon footprint while achieving both aesthetic appeal and optimal building performance,” said Bob Clark, senior engineered wood specialist for APA. “The entries clearly reflect the excitement of their designers for creating sustainable building solutions. These designs will improve not only the livability of homes, but also of the surrounding community.”

Phillip Jones’ winning concept modernizes the traditional row house design with an open floor plan that maximizes daylight; a wider, semi-enclosed front “stoop”; and a roof deck with covered and uncovered entertaining areas, green roofing system, and solar hot water collectors. Grand Prize winner Phillip Jones and APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist Bob ClarkThe design’s rammed-earth construction, a highly efficient building method that stores heat in the winter while blocking it in the summer, contributed significantly to its lower carbon footprint. (Pictured: Grand Prize winner Phillip Jones with APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist Bob Clark. View more photos.)

“This well-conceived and well-designed residence provides comfortably proportioned, usable living spaces with many desirable features, including an entry vestibule, a mud room/pantry, and a second-floor den with laundry,” said one of the judges.

A total of 144 designers entered the Carbon Challenge competition in Baltimore and a simultaneous contest in Providence. The initiative is designed to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of wood construction, particularly the carbon neutrality of wood as a building material, and to promote the use of life cycle assessment tools.

“The goal of the Carbon Challenge is to educate designers about the role of building materials in a home’s environmental footprint. By designing with consideration to life cycle assessment, participants are able to adapt their designs and product selections to maximize efficiency and energy performance,” said Mike Ritter, assistant director for FPL. “In turn, the resulting home designs showcase to the public the attainability and lifelong benefits of sustainably built, wood-framed homes.”

The Carbon Challenge is held in partnership with the City of Baltimore and AIA Baltimore, and is supported by sponsors LP Building Products, Boise Cascade, and Roseburg Forest Products.


The Baltimore Carbon Challenge Winning Designs:

The Providence Carbon Challenge Winning Designs:

Grand Prize Design Award

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Grand PrizeZeroEnergy Design

Comment from the judges: A clear example of open interior living spaces and exceptional operational energy use. Through the detailed narrative of construction techniques and material usage, this appropriate structure has excelled in meeting the design program. 

View this design. (PDF 3.9MB)


Carbon Challenge Grand Prize Design Award

Grand Prize Winner: Damon W. Roby, True Design StudiosDamon W. Roby
True Design Studios

Comment from the judges: "This year’s winning entry was chosen for the way it squarely addressed the dual criteria of energy awareness and aesthetics without compromising affordability. This entry recognizes the requirement of a corner lot and includes an open porch that addresses both streets. Its height and massing is very much in character with the surrounding homes and would fit in nicely. The use of a detached garage allows for a private green space to safely house various outdoor activities commonly utilized by a growing family.”

View Damon Roby's design.


Grand Prize Design Award

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Grand PrizePhillip Jones
Cho Benn Holback + Associates

Comment from the judges: The design cleanly addresses the relationship of the community to the structure through the use of a raised entry and ample exterior living space.

View this design. (PDF 1MB)


Second Place

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - 2nd PlaceAlexander Dzurec
autotroph

Comment from the judges: Admirable analysis and reinterpretation of the traditional row house facade. The variation in window size and location successfully creates visual interest for this streetscape and identity for the individual homeowner with an economy of means. 

View this design. (PDF 15.3MB)


Second Place

Second Place: Greg Beere and Jason Fisher, Content Design GroupGreg Beere and Jason Fisher
Content Design Group

Comment from the judges: "The second place design also adroitly assumes the role of corner lot with a wrap around front porch that faces both streets. The exterior treatments were expertly arranged and would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood in scale, rhythm and texture. With minor adjustments to the floor plan this design holds a great deal of positive potential.”

View Greg Beere and Jason Fisher's design.


Second Place

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - 2nd PlaceKyle Bamrick & Christopher Armstrong

Comment from the judges: This entry was exceptional in its usage of space and the innovation of the exterior cannot be overlooked. The understated contemporary elements with the vernacular tradition brought this design to the top of the heap. 

View this design. (PDF 3.7MB)


Third Place

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - 3rd PlaceJoseph P. Campanella
Design Alliance, LLC

Comment from the judges: This entry is a testament to the use of simple, common sense design elements to achieve the maximum use of space, as well as community inspired architecture which would have a positive impact on the neighborhood.

View this design. (PDF 6.3MB)


Third Place

Third Place:  Mark Straite, Mark Straite, Architects, Inc.Mark Straite
Mark Straite, Architects, Inc.

Comment from the judges: "The strong floor plan of this shingled-styled Arts and Crafts Bungalow packs a great deal of livability into an affordable and pleasing package that is well-suited for the Florida climate and lifestyles. The entire first floor openly flows between interconnected living activities which, in turn openly connect to the planned exterior living areas. The open-framed trusses front porch seems to invite both guests and cooling breezes in this sunny semi-tropical climate.”

View Mark Straite's design.


Third Place

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - 3rd PlaceDrew Suljak, Kelly Krob, & David Lopez
studioRED / hord | coplan | macht

Comment from the judges: A great example of the ecological effect of construction and how the built environment, properly managed, can have a positive effect on the community as a whole. 

View this design. (PDF 2.1MB)


Best Use of Wood

Best Use of Wood: David Pillsbury AIBD, Keesee and Associates, Inc.David Pillsbury AIBD
Keesee and Associates, Inc.

Comment from the judges: "Very rational use of crisp detailing that takes full advantage of the intense sunlight, using broad overhangs and exposed braces to paint a playful collection of moving shadows, this design exemplifies how thoughtful utilization of overhangs, trellises, and raised floor foundations can work with the local climate to facilitate shading, natural ventilation, safety from high water, energy efficiency, and livability all within a minimum carbon footprint.”

View David Pillsbury's design.


Best Use of Wood

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Best Use of Wood ProductsChris Melander & Ross Smith
RTKL Associates Inc.

Comment from the judges: Exposed floor joists and salvaged wood decking do double-duty as finish materials. Exterior cedar siding. Design submission demonstrates a clear understanding of wood frame construction.

View this design. (PDF 5.6MB)


Best Use of Wood

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Best Use of Wood ProductsAnne Lissett & Benjamin Monroe
LEAF Architecture

Comment from the judges: This entry is a good example of wood construction through the use of a double framed exterior wall that provides ample room for insulation and ease of assembly.

View this design. (PDF 4.2MB)


Best Curb Appeal

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Best Curb AppealRandy M. Sovich & Jojo Duah
RM Sovich Architecture

Comment from the judges: Outstanding architectural design breaks the pattern of the traditional Baltimore row house with an intelligent, elegant, and well proportioned design that challenges the relationship between entry and public right-of-way.

View this design. (PDF 2.9MB)


Best Curb Appeal

Best Curb Appeal: Russell Ervin, Ervin Lovett & MillerRussell Ervin
Ervin Lovett & Miller

Comment from the judges: "Extreme livability and aesthetics with great attention to energy efficiency and low maintenance costs. This was the unquestionable winner in curb appeal for the judges, however for a bit higher budget than the affordability intentions of the competition. Given the consideration of a slightly higher budget this project would be a most desirable home.”

View Russell Ervin's design.


Best Curb Appeal

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Best Curb AppealErik Rhodin & Taina Rhodin
Line Company Architects

Comment from the judges: This design was innovative in its use of a monolithic foundation, which did not negatively impact its relationship to the streetscape. 

View this design. (PDF 4MB)


Most Cost-Effective

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Most Cost-EffectiveJay Orr
ARQ Architects

Comment from the judges: Well crafted, resource efficient design. Alignment of wood framing members allows for the economical use of material. Creative roof framing and sloped roofs promise to reduce the size and cost of the structure.

View this design. (PDF 8MB)


Most Cost-Effective

2013 Providence Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Most Cost-EffectiveChristen M. Robbins
Vision 3 Architects

Comment from the judges: By also addressing aging-in-place and southern exposure, this appropriately detailed structure is extremely cost effective in its simple to build construction techniques needed for a largely volunteer labor force. 

View this design. (PDF 1.2MB)


Special Judges Award: Best Social Statement

2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - Special Judges Award Best Social StatementLisa M. Ferretto & Kallie Sternburgh
hord | coplan | macht

Janice Romanosky

Pando Alliance

Prescott Gaylord

Entellis Collaborative/Hamel Builders

Comment from the judges: A successful attempt at creating a plan for a sustainable community and redeveloping the urban fabric and culture of Baltimore.

View this design.  (PDF 4.6MB)



APA Carbon Challenge

APA challenged Florida designers to design a house with the lowest carbon footprint and awarded over $15,000 in cash prizes to the winners. The winning designs will be showcased at 10 free half-day seminars in Spring 2011 along the gulf coast to demonstrate how to cost-effectively design and build homes with a lower carbon footprint. To learn more, contact Bob Clark.


Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition

APA challenged Florida designers to design a house with the smallest environmental footprint and awarded over $15,000 in cash prizes to the winners. The winning designs were showcased at 10 free seminars in the Southeast, demonstrating practical applications for saving energy and resources in home design and construction. To learn more, contact Bob Clark.


About the Carbon Challenge

Through local design competitions and educational seminars, FPL and APA are challenging designers and builders to rethink their perceptions of construction materials and produce homes that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

About FPL
The US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) was established in 1910 to conduct research and technology transfer to improve the utilization of our forest resource.

About APA
Founded in 1933, APA - The Engineered Wood Association provides quality auditing and testing, applied research, and market development for wood structural panel and engineered wood products.


Baltimore Program Partners & Sponsors

US Forest Service, FPL
APA
Boise Cascade LLC
LP Building Products
Roseburg Forest Products
AIA Baltimore

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Bob Clark.


Providence Program Partners & Sponsors

US Forest Service, FPL
APA
Boise Cascade LLC
LP Building Products
AIA Rhode Island
Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island – Greater Providence, Inc.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Bob Clark.


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Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Floor Systems

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Floor Systems, L400

This APA fact sheet summarizes a life-cycle assessment of two alternative floor systems: wood and concrete slab-on-grade. Free download in PDF format.


Advanced Framing Construction Guide


Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400

This free publication from APA details techniques for more efficient, cost-effective framing practices.


Program Sponsors

APA
Advanced Housing Research Center: Forest Products Lab
Forest Products Association of Canada
SFPA
Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association
St. Joe Company
Raised Floor Living
NEFBA Wood Council
Florida Wood Council