Initiated in 2022 by the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA), the Healthy Buildings Design Competition (HBDC) is a university-level student competition for healthy, comfortable, energy-efficient, and resource-responsible architecture and engineering in the building sector.
In this 2025 edition the focus in on primary schools, particularly on the renovation of primary schools built during the baby boom of the 1960-1970s across Europe. While some have undergone renovations, many still lack the care and attention needed. It's time to reimagine and redesign these educational spaces to meet the evolving needs of users, create comfortable and sustainable environments, and ensure resilience in the face of future challenges.

The HBDC25 Organization aims to motivate university teams to engage in the HBDC25 and register before 14 October 2024. The challenge posed to teams participating in the HBDC25 is to design the renovation of a primary educational building skilfully in a cost-effective manner. The goal is to achieve an appealing result that prioritizes enhanced health and energy efficiency. All this is to be accomplished before 17 February 2025.

The official language for the HBDC25 Competition is English. The present document will be the basis for the competition.

A pivotal long-term objective of the Healthy Building Design Competition is to foster the creation of healthy, cost-effective, and highly energy-efficient buildings powered by renewable sources. In collaboration with the designated HBDC25 Host City, Milan, Italy, up to three projects will be nominated and invited to 15th REHVA HVAC World Congress in Milan (June 4th to 6th, 2025) to publicly present their proposals. The HBDC25 winner from the nominees’ shortlist will be publicly announced in an award ceremony during the REHVA HVAC World Congress.


  • Shape the Future: As students, you have the power to shape the future of education and contribute to a sustainable world. Your ideas and innovations can transform schools into healthier, more inspiring spaces.
  • Be Agents of Change: This competition provides a platform for you to be agents of change. Your creativity and vision can redefine how we approach building design, making a lasting impact on the lives of students and teachers.
  • Build a Legacy: Imagine leaving a legacy that future generations will benefit from. Participating in this competition is an opportunity to leave your mark on the world by creating healthier, more environmentally friendly learning environments.
  • Develop Real-world Skills: Engaging in this competition will not only allow you to express your creativity but also provide you with valuable real-world skills in architecture and engineering, design, and sustainable practices – skills that will be essential in your future careers.

In addition, the three finalists will be awarded monetary prizes and the chance of seeing their project featured in the REHVA Journal.


Teams shall plan a whole building design for renovation of a case study building.

The case study building features a primary school building located in Via Ermanno Wolf Ferrari, 6, 20141 in Milan (Italy). The building was constructed in 1972, and although has been object of several inspections and minor interventions (e.g., fire safety, asbestos removal, anti-collapse maintenance, etc.), it has never been renovated from the standpoint of energy efficiency or enhanced occupant health.
A comprehensive information package on the case study will be disclosed to registered teams.


The competition is organised into five juried challenges, with the overall winner determined based on the results of these contests. The Challenges highlight a commitment to cross-disciplinary academic education, showcasing a diverse range of disciplines from participating universities.

The five HBDC25 challenges are as follows:

ChallengeMaximum Points
Architecture, engineering, and construction25
IEQ and Health35
Energy performance20
Economic viability15

A comprehensive detail on the challenges’ objectives, assessment and criteria will be disclosed to registered teams.

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