Challenge C - Rondo Net Zero Energy Development

Challenge Owners:

Reconnect Rondo, Xcel Energy, City of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce

Challenge Description:

The neighbourhood of Rondo is a historically significant African-American community in Saint Paul, Minnesota established at the end of the 19th century. This vibrant community was quite literally ripped in half by the expropriation, demolition and construction of the Interstate 94 freeway in the 1960’s that razed and destroyed over 700 homes, 300 small businesses, split the community in half and, most significantly, demolished the main social, cultural and business artery of Rondo Avenue.

Reconnect Rondo (LINK) is leading a number of initiatives to physically, culturally and economically re-connect the community impacted by construction of the I-94 freeway and compounding effects of displacement through a number of redevelopment initiatives. The largest of these initiatives is to re-cover a significant portion of the I-94 ditch which physically separates the neighbourhood in half with a land bridge (LINK). This project is slated to apply for funding for build-out of the concept in 2022 and supported by the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Ramsey County and the Metropolitan Council.

As part of the larger redevelopment initiative and reinvestment in the community, a group of development partners are looking to develop a 21st Century LEED and net-zero multi-family residential unit in historic Rondo which will amplify local and national awareness of the Energy Utility and greater development community’s commitment to sustainability leadership.

Hackathon teams, consisting of Nordic and American experts, businesses and community members, will be tasked with hacking:

• The conceptualization of a multi-unit residential project on the site;
• Solutions and technologies for building envelope, building materials and building technology (i.e. monitoring systems, controls, etc.) which will maximize energy efficiency to achieve the Net Zero building standard;
• Site and building-scale energy technology to maximize on-site energy generation;
• A business case for development and/or individual solutions for implementation, and future scalability to other projects;
• A community education piece to share the values and business case of Net Zero Building solutions with the broader Rondo and Greater Minneapolis Saint Paul

The outcome of the exercise would be for teams to shape the site for a design competition to be issued after the hackathon. Successful solutions will be considered for tender and site development, as well as other affiliated projects.


Solid business case with demonstrable and scalable solutions to achieve sustainable net zero carbon emissions in a multi-unit residential urban development.

Experts in Demand:

Architecture, building envelope, building materials, building technology, energy technology (site-scale), energy efficiency and monitoring systems.

Challenge 4 photo 1

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Challenge 4 photo 2

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