Mixed Use Multi-Family Housing Division First Place Winners

SUNY ESF and Syracuse University SEED – Syracuse Energy Efficient Design

See below for an encore presentation by the first place winning team in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2019 Solar Decathlon’s Mixed Use Multi-Family Housing Division. Students from SUNY ESF and Syracuse University collaborated this past year in the design of a Net Zero Energy Building, with guidance from several SyracuseCoE industry partners and community stakeholders.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The winners of the competition are selected at a pitch event held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and reflect proposals that blend design architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production.

Beyond designing an innovative net-zero energy building, the team also focused on addressing important social, economic, and environmental issues in the City of Syracuse. This presentation summarizes the challenges and follows the project from schematic design into design development and construction documents. Finally, students discussed opportunities for next steps in the project.


Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt ​is currently a junior studying Sustainable Construction Management with a minor in Management at SUNY-ESF. He transferred to ESF from Rockland Community College where he earned a degree in Green Buildings Maintenance & Management. Throughout his collegiate career, Mike has developed a strong passion for sustainability in the built environment. Beyond course work, he has worked for two years as a sustainability consultant on a variety of single-family and multifamily projects across the tri-state area.

Erika Gripp

Erika Gripp is one of three student leads on the DOE Solar Decathlon project and is a junior in the Construction Management program at SUNY-ESF. Originally from New Jersey and has been fascinated by the construction process since she was young. Her long term goal is to make a difference in the way buildings are created in relation to the environment.

Noah Townsend

Noah Townsend is a Syracuse native currently attending SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, pursuing his Bachelors in Sustainable Construction Management. He is one of three student leads in this years ESF/SU Solar Decathlon team. In addition, Noah has construction experience working for Consigli and Syracuse Custom Carpentry and Millwork.

Benjamin Schmidt

Benjamin Schmidt grew up in the rural community of Attica, NY just outside of Buffalo. He is currently a senior working towards a B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering with a minor in Water Resources at SUNY-ESF. Ben leads the engineering team for the DOE Solar Decathlon project, managing the mechanical, electrical, and structural design components. His goal is to produce sustainable designs in buildings and environmental infrastructure.

Ryan Badke

Ryan Badke grew up in Syosset, NY on Long Island and is currently a junior in the Sustainable Constitution Management program at SUNY ESF. He has developed strong passion for sustainability and finding innovative ways to decrease waste products throughout the construction process. Ryan worked as a site superintendent at Park East Construction where he was responsible for all the day to day operations for the renovation of 5 schools throughout the Hicksville School District, while the schools were fully operational. He was also part of ESF’s DOE Solar Decathlon team and worked with the energy team to design renewable energy systems to ensure the design would be net-zero and have a small carbon footprint.


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