WWU Named to U.S. Dept. Of Energy’s First Cohort of Twelve ‘Zero Energy Design Designation’ Awardees

Western Washington University’s bachelor’s degree in Energy, Science, and Technology has been named to the U.S. Department of Energy’s first cohort of ‘Zero Energy Design Designation’ (ZEDD) colleges and universities. 

Western joins 11 other institutions to receive this honor, and is the only U.S. institution west of the Rockies to be named to the initial cohort. It is the only program to receive the designation that is not an architecture or building science program. 

WWU Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Imran Sheikh, who is also a core faculty member of Western’s Institute for Energy Studies, completed and submitted the application on behalf of the university, and said it was an important recognition for a field of study that is only going to grow in demand in the future. 

“Students who complete the Net Zero Energy Design Track in our bachelor’s degree program gain an understanding, in theory and in practice, of how to design clean and efficient buildings.  The ZEDD recognition by DOE is an important milestone for the unique undergraduate energy program at Western Washington University," Sheikh said.  

The Zero Energy Design Designation is recognition for the nation’s leading educational programs that are preparing tomorrow’s architectural and engineering leaders to design and build the most sustainable buildings possible. This new DOE designation distinguishes post-secondary academic programs that impart the best practices of zero-energy design on students and require them to apply those building science concepts in actual projects. 

“Our fight against climate change runs straight through our nation’s buildings, and the forward-looking college and university programs we honored today are paving the way for students to lead our net-zero greenhouse gas emissions future,” said Carolyn Snyder, deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency with the U.S. Department of Energy. “Graduates of these programs will join the front lines of our fight against the climate crisis by designing sustainable buildings that bring the benefits of our clean energy future to all.” 

Sheikh agreed with Snyder’s assessment of the future needs of the nation requiring more graduates in these fields. 

“We see this designation as validation that our students are learning valuable skills to be a part of the future clean-energy workforce,” Sheikh said. 

For more information about Western being named to the initial cohort of 12 colleges and universities honored as ZEDD awardees, contact Western’s Office of University Communications at news@wwu.edu or (360) 650-4502. To learn more about WWU’s Institute for Energy Studies, go to wwu.edu/majors/energy-studies