Four Virginia Tech students earned first place for their research paper on zero net energy demand and home building in the Meritage Homes Residential Real Estate Challenge sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and Meritage Homes. 

Student teams were tasked to write a research paper over a 10-day period, and the top prize was $5,000. Winners were announced earlier this month.

In April, the team submitted a paper analyzing zero net demand and home building, specifically answering the questions, “What are the impacts on this becoming a code requirement for builders, utilities, and consumers?,” “How will the additional costs incurred to build or remodel a home be balanced in the market place?,” and “What construction changes will be necessary in order to build Zero Energy Homes cost effectively?”

Virginia Tech’s winning team consisted of John Deacon of Forest, Virginia, a May 2014 property management graduate, Dan Nguyen of Fairfax, Virginia, a senior double majoring in real estate and property management, and Charley Dixon of Herndon, Virginia and Ira Futterknecht of Demarest, New Jersey, both senior double majors in real estate and building construction.

The team will make a presentation on their winning report at the next Program in Real Estate Industry Advisory Board meeting in November.

“This is a great success and great national recognition for our program in the first year of operation,” said Kevin Boyle, director of the Program in Real Estate. Other faculty members advising the team included Erin Zielenbach, Andrew McCoy, and Rosemary Goss. Boyle notes that, “In our first year of offering the undergraduate degree in real estate we have gone from zero students in August 2013 to 60 majors today. Zero to 60 and a national win was a very good year.”

Virginia Tech’s Program in Real Estate offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary bachelor of science degree in real estate that builds on existing strengths in six colleges — the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Pamplin College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and College of Natural Resources and Environment. The program’s experiential courses integrate disciplines such as finance, law, construction, and property management by examining commercial, residential, retail, and mixed-use property from initial project conceptualization through sale or management. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter the real estate industry and make immediate professional contributions.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Kayleigh Burke, of Manassas, Virginia, a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.