Zero energy ready homes are expected to significantly reduce the energy consumption in residential buildings that are responsible for about 20% of total annual energy use in the U.S. Two of the major aspects of a net-zero energy home or zero energy ready home include high-performance building design and renewable power generating systems such as photovoltaic panels. Implementing building science essentials in building envelope design and construction can lead to higher performance in terms of more energy efficient design, better moisture/water control, and higher durability, as some of the main benefits. Because teaching of building science principles and applications to building enclosure have not been part of traditional curricula in college majors dealing with design and construction of buildings, significant effort has been undertaken over the past decade to promote incorporation of such principles in formal education for college students and also continuing education for practicing professionals. Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of Energy has organized a new annual student design competition focused on designing a high-performance building, which will be evaluated based on different criteria including energy performance, building envelope performance, and durability. For example, for buildings under the residential category, the competition teams are required to achieve at least the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home energy performance level. One of the objectives of the outcomes of this competition is for builders to benefit from the results of the competition projects for practical application, which can then help toward the goal of energy saving. The main objective of this paper is to develop an understanding of the level of building science principles employed and incorporated in some of the competition projects, which will give an indication of the level of preparedness of students who worked on those projects with respect to the building science principles entering the competition. In this paper, the building envelope systems designed and specified by a selected number of winning teams are reviewed and categorized as appropriate. Of particular interest is to determine the basis for the selection of high-performance building envelope types and design specifications, which would indicate the team's understanding of the alternatives and selection process. The study will also show the effectiveness of different designs, systems, and materials used on the energy performance of competition buildings.