This paper describes the design of InterTech, a zero-energy mixed-use student residence hall, developed in 2018 by an interdisciplinary team of Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) students for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge, formerly known as Race to Zero. The main focus is the team’s integrated and iterative approach, which blended architectural design and engineering concepts and led to achieving the high-performance goal.

InterTech aims to provide an innovative housing solution to Illinois Institute of Technology’s graduate students and their families. Located along State Street in between Illinois Tech’s main campus and downtown Chicago, it offers a mix of living options providing both independence and access to the campus and to the city. In addition to the residential program, the project includes a small grocery/cafe connected to an outdoor public plaza, and an underground garage. Energy modeling was introduced in the early design stages. The potential of on-site renewable energy generation defined the project’s target Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 37 kBtu/sqft. Several passive and active strategies were implemented to reduce the building’s total energy needs and meet the target EUI. The implementation of energy conservation measures led to a 25% reduction of the building’s cooling load and a 33% reduction of the heating load. A design EUI of 28 kBtu/sqft was calculated, validating that this design met and exceeded the zero-energy goal.

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