Wisconsin residents are invited to receive no-cost designs for their dream Zero Net Energy Home, thanks to UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison students.

UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning is partnering with UW-Madison’s College of Engineering for the third year to design Zero Net Energy homes for Wisconsin residents.


The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges students to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings that mitigate climate change and improve quality of life. The combined specialties of UW-Milwaukee architecture students and UW-Madison mechanical engineering students dovetail to form a versatile team that assists Wisconsin residents with developing Zero Net Energy designs. Zero Net Energy homes break even between energy used and energy captured from the sun. Clients benefit from monthly savings, and Zero Net Energy Homes help control climate change.


The project’s goal is to design the client’s dream house, acting as the pencil to their vision. Clients will receive a full set of working drawings for a Zero Net Energy home by Spring 2022.


Designs may be produced for a specific site or lot, or a spec home can be designed. All designs will be produced according to the client’s home budget, and there is no cost for clients to participate. Student work is delivered to clients as a no-cost outreach program.


Clients must be Wisconsin residents considering new construction of a modest Zero Net Energy home in the Midwest, sized 1,200-2,000 square feet.


  1. Interested Wisconsin residents should contact Professor Mark Keane by August 31, 2021, for the 2021-2022 academic year. Note that potential clients may also contact Professor Keane on an ongoing basis for participation in future years.
  2. Research and design will occur in Fall 2021, including either in-person or virtual meetings with students.
  3. Construction documents will be produced in Spring 2022.
  4. Plans may be sent to area contractors for bid in late Spring 2022.


For potential clients interested in participating, email UW-Milwaukee Professor Mark Keane at keane@uwm.edu by August 31, 2021.


Learn more about the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Learn more about Zero Net Energy homes.
Learn more about UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning and UW-Madison’s College of Engineering.