News & Features

4th Annual Sustainable Dog House Challenge (Canceled)


Jan. 17, 2020

Challenge Date: April 8, 2020

The Challenge

Student teams participating in the 2020 CAEE Sustainable Dog House Competition must work together to design and build a formidable shelter for dogs. Successful student designs will incorporate aspects from each of the following categories:

Student teams will be scored based on their use of sustainable/recycled materials, how much (if any) money was spent on gathering materials, and integration of “green” features such as a green roof, rainwater collector, etc.

Teams must produce sturdy structures capable of withstanding heavy winds and falling debris, in addition to exhibiting resistance to water intrusion. Doghouses will also be scored based on how easily the structure can be moved.

Formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the potential for mold/fungal growth will be measured in the interior of the doghouse using instrumentation on loan by the department.

Internal and material temperature and relative humidity will be measured in the interior of the doghouse using instrumentation on loan by the department. Doghouses must also be safe for dogs of all sizes (i.e. no sharp edges, exposed nails/screws, etc.).

Doghouses will be judged based on the craftsmanship and originality of the design.

Information Card and Presentation
Teams will be asked to prepare a small information card summarizing their design and building processes and sustainability aspects of their finished doghouse. At least one member must give a maximum, 5-minute informal presentation with the aid of their information card on the day of the competition to one of the judges.

Teams can accrue extra points based on aspects added to their doghouse that the judges deem innovative.
For more information on design aspects or scoring criteria, view the Participant Information Packet.

The detailed information packet can be downloaded here.


  • Top Dog 1st Place - Lower Division ($1000)
  • Top Dog 2nd Place - Lower Division ($500)
  • Top Dog 1st Place - *Upper Division ($1000)
  • Top Dog 2nd Place - *Upper Division ($500)
  • People's Choice Award ($500)

    * only one prize per team will be awarded.

*To compete in the Upper Division category, two or more of the team members must have upper division classification.


  • 75% of team members must be Full-Time CAEE students
  • At least one team members must have attended an information session or communicated with Hagen Fritz
  • All team members must complete the required online and site-specific safety training if using UT facilities


  • Complete registration form
  • Email Hagen Fritz if you have questions about forming a team
  • Complete online training OH500 Laboratory Safety and emailto schedule onsite training
    • This will give you access to the ECJ Woodshop for construction and storage


  • The doghouse should be built using as much recycled material as possible. Teams may purchase material for use but no reimbursement will be offered by the department.
  • Teams are required to bring their doghouses to the event location on the ECJ Outdoor Plaza by the start of the event on April 8, 2020.
  • At least one team member must be present with the doghouse during the event.
  • In order to use the elevator, doghouses must not exceed 46 inches in width or weigh more than 1200 lbs.
  • Teams will be disqualified if CAEE Staff is notified of any misconduct that puts you and others in danger.


  • Dog House
  • Information Card: 11x17 laminated card

Construction and Storage

  • Doghouses and building materials may be stored in the ECJ Woodshop located in the ECJ basement. More information will be shared after you complete safety training.
  • You are not required to build your doghouse on campus. Due to space limitations, we encourage you to build your doghouse off campus is possible.
  • Longhorn Maker Studio: Stop by any time and talk with student staff about what is available and the ways to become qualified to use the equipment. Please contact Scott Evans.
  • General questions? Please contact Phil Tomlin.

Send us pictures and blurbs of your team at work and we will post to @UT_CAEE Twitter and Instagram!

Clean Up

  • Dog houses must be removed from the premises after the conclusion of the competition.
  • We encourage participants to donate or recycle their doghouse.