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Off Grid 2030: Enter now

If all goes to plan, we’ll be living better and more sustainably in 2030. Show us how you imagine it and win £2500, courtesy of Norbord SterlingOSB Zero

Werner Sobek’s ‘Triple Zero’ B10 Aktivhaus prototype for the Stuttgart Institute of Sustainability. Zero energy, zero emissions and zero waste.
Werner Sobek’s ‘Triple Zero’ B10 Aktivhaus prototype for the Stuttgart Institute of Sustainability. Zero energy, zero emissions and zero waste. Credit: Zooey Braun Photography

Since the RIBA launched the 2030 Climate Challenge in 2019, Covid-19 and its lockdowns have forced shifts in ways of living and working – and outlook – in directions none would have imagined at the beginning of 2020. And with that enforced recalibration have come new ways of thinking, not just about our environment and the quality of our public realm, but how we live, work and learn at home, with the current limitations it presents and the potential liberations it points to.

With Off Grid 2030, RIBAJ and Norbord are asking you to imagine what shape that future might have. How might we want to occupy our homes? How might spaces change to reflect new but rapidly establishing patterns of home working and learning? Might these spaces be reconfigurable? Might they fold and open out to sunlight and fresh air if desired? Part of this year’s competition brief is to visualise how these spatial aspects might manifest, using SterlingOSB Zero board as the building block of the design.

The RIBA’s 2030 Climate Challenge, meanwhile, sets architects onerous targets. These include net zero whole life carbon and domestic operational energy use of ‹35 kWh/m²/y, or Passivhaus 11. The 2030 Climate Challenge demands use of heat pumps and no reliance on fossil fuels. Any residual carbon emissions should be offset to contribute to UK renewable energy projects that help decarbonise the national grid. There should be a target of embodied carbon of 300kgCO2e/m² and water use of ‹75l/person/day.

We are asking you to imagine a home where Norbord’s net carbon Zero OSB board will, along with super-insulation and on-site renewables, be part of a design that meets those ambitions. Designed for our new reality – zero energy use, zero emissions and zero waste – this is a tall order! But big challenges need big thinking. Show us what you can do, and win £2500 for your climate-busting concept house! 



In this ideas competition, we are asking entrants to design a single-family or extended family home of no more than 200m2 GIA. This may be one or more storeys in height. Terraces or courtyards may be addition to this. While the building will be made up of a palette of different sustainable materials, we would like to see Norbord SterlingOSB Zero being used as an integral part of the overall material strategy. SterlingOSB Zero used externally should be protected with a proposed cladding material and/or insulation. Entrants should bear in mind the nature of SterlingOSB Zero and to ensure propositions best utilise its material capabilities. Entrants’ designs will consider the RIBA’s 2030 Climate Challenge.


Judges will look for imaginative uses of SterlingOSB Zero, as part of a proposal meeting the stipulated criteria. Propositions should consider sustainability, structural and thermal aspects that will help make an environmental exemplar of the design. While other materials will be an integral part of the new proposition, the design should, in the main, employ SterlingOSB Zero. The winning proposal will be the one that, in the minds of the judges, generates a solution that is spatially powerful, visually exciting, and best embodies the aspirations of the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge.


14:00 UK time on Monday June 21 2021.



Entries must include the following and be laid out on no more than two A3 sheets, supplied electronically as pdfs:

  • An explanation of no more than 500 words, describing the building design, stating where Norbord SterlingOSB Zero board has been used and any passive or active methodologies employed to make it fit for the 2030 Climate Challenge.
  • Plans and sections showing structure, build-up and material composition.
  • Axonometric or any other images.


  •  The judges’ decision is final
  •  First prize is £2,500. Three commended prizes of £250. Shortlisted entries will be notified in writing, with winners announced in September.
  •  No correspondence will be entered into by the organisers or judges regarding entries and final decisions.


Off Grid 2030 is produced in association with Norbord Europe Ltd


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