Net Zero Vermont Announces Sustainable Design Competition

Net Zero Vermont, Inc., an independent nonprofit dedicated to fostering a sustainable future for Vermont, is launching a nationwide architectural design competition to envision what a sustainable Montpelier might look like in 2030. Offering a $10,000 prize for the winning design submission, this project hopes to attract top talent to the challenge of creating a low-carbon, small-city future that becomes a model for the U.S.

The ultimate goal is to create a community-embraced, fifteen-year plan that accelerates the development of a vibrant and inclusive downtown including mixed-use spaces, interconnected arteries, efficient buildings, an improved street system and green spaces, all accessible to young and old, working and retired people of varying abilities.

Montpelier made national news in 2014 by declaring that it would commit to becoming Net Zero in carbon emissions by 2030. For an aging small city almost wholly dependent on commuter traffic, this is not a trivial challenge. Today, with over 60% of its downtown real estate devoted to off street parking lots and many of its existing buildings and infrastructure more than a century old, that commitment is a courageous first step. Through the design competition, citizens will be invited to shape that goal into a concrete vision.

Net Zero Vermont is mobilizing the resources of imaginative sponsors – including Ben & Jerry’s, National Life Group, Vermont Creamery and All Earth Renewables -for this unique architectural design competition. The competition challenges multi-disciplinary design teams to envision a Net Zero downtown Montpelier for 2030 that retains the charming historic fabric of the city, while offering new concepts for life and work that focus on sustainable, human-centered design. The contest is open to teams with multidisciplinary design expertise in sustainable urban systems, the built environment, landscape design, public spaces, and the cultural and visual arts.

“We hope to create a vision of Montpelier that breaks from the status quo,” said Dan Jones, Managing Director of Net Zero Vermont. “The vision is one not designed around more asphalt-coated parking lots, but rather around a lovely city full of high density, affordable housing, recreation and commercial spaces. We looks forward to presenting the designs to our neighbors as we set about the hard work of transforming Montpelier into a truly Net Zero city.”

The first round, launched in July, will be an open public competition for design solutions, which will be culminate in a public review. In September, Montpelier residents and decision-makers will be invited to offer feedback and vote for the top concepts that illustrate the place they want to live, work and play in the future. The top five design teams from the first round will then be invited to prepare more comprehensive submissions, which will be publicly displayed and vetted through organized interactive review forums. The design that excites the most community approval will be awarded the $10,000 prize.

The Competition entry site will be live on July 13 at www.netzerovt.org.

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