2020 Design Challenge Juries
Teams that compete in the annual Solar Decathlon Design Challenge must create residential or commercial building designs over one or two semesters. Designs are evaluated on how well they meet the nation’s rapidly evolving demand for buildings that are innovative, cost-effective, quick to build, high quality, resilient, grid interactive, efficient, and locally responsive. Teams choose one of six building type Divisions in which to compete. Winners from each Division are determined by juried evaluation across all 10 Contests and awarded with trophies at the annual Design Challenge Weekend. Two Design Challenge Grand Winners are also selected from the first-place teams—one from the residential Divisions and one from the commercial Divisions—and are provided with a special award.
Learn more about the individual jurors by Division below, or learn how the jurors evaluate projects in the Design Challenge Rules.
- Grand Jury
- Suburban Single-Family
- Urban Single-Family
- Attached Housing
- Mixed-Use Multifamily
- Elementary School
- Office Building
Ed Mazria, FAIA
Edward Mazria is an internationally recognized architect, author, researcher, and educator. His seminal research into urbanization, climate change, sustainability, energy consumption, solar energy, and greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment has redefined the role of architecture, planning, design, and building in reshaping our world. He is the Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, a think tank developing real-world solutions for 21st-century problems. He hosts the AIA+2030 Professional Education Series, served as a key player for the China Accord as well as the 2030 Districts movement in North American cities, and is involved in the Zero Tool and Achieving Zero, which is a framework of incremental building sector actions to ensure a carbon neutral built environment by 2050. Mr. Mazria recently introduced the 2030 Palette, a revolutionary new platform that puts the principles behind carbon neutral and resilient built environments at the fingertips of architects, planners, and designers worldwide.
This past year, he delivered the Roadmap to Zero Emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which presented a flexible approach to achieving zero CO2 emissions in the built environment by midcentury. He also issued the 2050 Imperative—a commitment to plan and design to carbon neutral standards—which has been adopted by the International Union of Architects and its regional professional organizations (representing more than 1.3 million architects) in 124 countries worldwide.
Mr. Mazria is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, a Fellow of the AIA, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and he received an Honorary Doctor of Architecture degree from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Kimberly is an architect with a passion for creating remarkable places where people can sustainably flourish and thrive. A native of Detroit, Kimberly grew up with an ambition to revitalize cities using design as a tool for progress. Today, she is realizing her vision as a Principal at HOK in Chicago and as the 2019–2020 National President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).
Over the last two decades, Kimberly’s educational experiences at Cranbrook, Cornell, and Harvard, coupled with her work as a young professional in Washington, D.C., and New York, have shaped her early career toward a goal of facilitating transformative urban development projects. In graduate school, Kimberly was in the inaugural class of Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellows at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.
As a mid-career professional, Kimberly returned to her hometown in 2015 to support urban revitalization efforts. In an effort to broaden her impact, she took on a global role with internationally acclaimed architecture and planning firm HOK, where she spent several of her formative years from 2008–2011. In 2008, Kimberly established the annual community service project for NOMA, which has now hosted projects in 10 cities throughout the United States. In 2019, she became the first Millennial President of NOMA. In 2005, Kimberly co-founded SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) to identify, measure, and address “Triple Bottom Line” issues during the design process. Kimberly’s contributions to public service were honored with her recognition as one of the top 100 national leaders in Public Interest Design, 2012, by PublicInterestDesign.org (now named ImpactDesignHub.org). Her career was also profiled in the 3rd Edition of Dr. Lee Waldrep’s acclaimed book, Becoming An Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design (2014).
Kimberly’s overarching professional mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in cities.
Sam is the author of the book, Retooling the U.S. Housing Industry: How It Got Here, Why It’s Broken, and How to Fix It, which presents a comprehensive strategy for transforming the new homebuyer consumer experience. Sam brings the lessons from this book to housing executives across the country with workshops and collaborative meetings that help accelerate innovation. In addition to this work, Sam has earned a national reputation for his work leading housing programs that have partnered with thousands of home builders and resulted in more than one million certified high-performance homes. Mr. Rashkin was recognized for his contributions to sustainable housing with the 2012 Hanley Award.
He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and is a registered architect in California and New York. During his 20+ years as a licensed architect, he has specialized in energy-efficient design and completed more than 100 residential projects. He has served on the national steering committees for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes, the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Guidelines, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Water Sense label, and also on the development team for the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS label. Sam has prepared hundreds of articles, technical papers, reports, and seminars and has contributed to other books on energy-efficient and green construction.
Anthony Aebi is a builder and developer of zero energy homes and buildings. He has built about 40 single-family homes and has also served as a partner in a 46-unit mixed-use residential four-story structure. Anthony has received numerous awards during his career, such as nine U.S. Department of Energy Housing Innovation awards, a lowest Home Energy Rating System (HERS) award from the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), and has achieved the lowest HERS scores from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) since 2012. Anthony presents at conferences about the benefits and design of high-performance homes as well as the need for proper ventilation in super airtight homes. He developed several innovative approaches for using geothermal energy in homes, offers consultation for projects aiming to achieve the best, and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and biology.
Jamie Lyons of Newport Partners conducts research and consults on building performance and energy-efficient design. He supports builders, raters, architects, building owners, utilities, and code officials to help them achieve solutions for high-performance homes and buildings. As part of this work, Jamie provides technical support to the U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program. He holds a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering; he is also a registered Professional Engineer in Maryland and a Certified Energy Manager.
Laura Dwyer became the Global Innovation Leader in January 2018 for DowDuPontTM, a $1.3-billion material and building science supplier to the construction industry. Prior to 2018, she led the Global DuPont™ Building Knowledge Center, an international network of experts who help members of the building industry navigate the changing future. Central to her role was harnessing the knowledge and skills of DuPont construction professionals to deliver enhanced value to customers by sharing best practices in building science and application knowledge. Laura has been involved in the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB’s) Green and Energy Subcommittee and is an executive director for the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance board of directors. She is a multiyear committee member for NAHB’s Construction, Codes, and Standards Committee and supports NAHB’s Professional Women in Building organization. Laura serves on the Board of Trustee for the Home Building Institute and led the RESNET training committee that created the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Associate designation. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Housing Innovation Alliance. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University and her MBA from the University of Delaware.
Mairi Mashburn, AIA
Mairi, LEED AP BD +C, is an architect specializing in hospitality and multifamily residential buildings at OZ Architecture in Denver, Colorado. Her work has taken her to locations across the globe. Mairi is a key member of leadership with the OZ education committee, which provides training through monthly discussions for staff to contribute, present, and learn. OZ has been nationally recognized for taking an integrated approach in creating facilities that give more than they take, and Mairi is proud to have contributed to a net zero certified building last year in Colorado. Mairi has a Master’s in Architecture from University of Colorado and a Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology from Tufts University.
Lance is the director of engineering for the Building & Construction Division at the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI). PPI’s expertise is on plastic pressure pipes such as CPVC, HDPE, PEX, PE-RT and PP. Lance has been in the plastic pipe industry since 1993—involved with hydronic radiant heating and cooling applications, geothermal ground loop piping systems, plumbing, and fire protection systems. In addition to technical research, advocacy, and training, Lance also works with mechanical codes and piping standards and serves on committees within ASHRAE, ASPE, ASTM, AWWA, CSA, HIA-C, IAPMO, IGSHPA, and RPA.
Nathan Kahre works as the Business Development Manager for EnergyLogic, an applied building science company that partners with building professionals to create better homes that are efficient, healthy, and resilient. Nathan works with builders up and down the Colorado Front Range to work through the details of energy code and program compliance. As a former home builder, Nathan thrives helping other home builders find unique ways to cost-effectively improve their homes and increase their energy performance.
Ray Tonjes is the President and Founder of Ray Tonjes Builder, Inc., a homebuilding company based in Austin, Texas, that specializes in mainstream, sustainable, and high-performance custom homes and renovations. In 1985, Ray became one of the first “Austin Energy Star” builders in Austin as part of an aggressive energy conservation program. This program evolved into the nation’s first Green Building Rating System (established in 1991).
Ray was a founding member of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Sustainability and Green Building Subcommittee in 1999. During his tenure as Chairman (2001–2008 and 2017–2018), the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines were developed. First published in 2005, these guidelines were the basis for the development of the National Green Building Standard.
Ray was the founding Director/Chairman of the Board (2004–2014) of the Green Building Initiative (GBI), a national nonprofit. Based on its Green Globes Environmental Design and Assessment Rating System for New Construction, the GBI created ANSI/GBI 01-2010 Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings.
Ray is the current Chairman of the SGBS and continues to advocate at all levels for increased energy efficiency and participation in green building programs.
Sam Rusek fell in love with architecture while working with The Nature Conservancy in a naturally day-lit office building. Through 8 years of architectural practice, focusing on building science and building systems thinking, Sam continues to be passionate about creating indoor and outdoor spaces that serve people and the planet, providing optimal environments for all. As a Project Designer at Lake Flato Architects, she shares her knowledge of high-performance building systems, climatically adapted envelope design, and off-site fabrication to guide fruitful project outcomes with those in the field. Sam serves on the Board of the Austin Passive House Alliance as an advocate for building science knowledge in the architecture, engineering, and construction community. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) Co-Chair in San Antonio, she advocates for the protection of finite resources and use of healthy building materials. Her education in Archaeology, Anthropology and Architecture, paired with her technical knowledge and field experience position Sam uniquely to understand the challenge of bringing theory to practice in the built environment.
Alea German has worked in the energy field since 2006. Her focus is on whole-building energy optimization, technology assessment, and code development, particularly as it relates to zero net energy (ZNE) design. Alea is a skilled energy modeler with over a decade of experience using software including CBECC-Res, CBECC-Com, EnergyPlus, BEopt, eQuest, and EnergyPro. She has a broad understanding of California’s Title 24, Part 6 code and oversees Frontier’s energy code consulting services.
Gene Myers is the Owner and CEO of Thrive Home Builders. By virtue of Thrive’s unprecedented ten-in-a-row Grand Awards for Housing Innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy, Thrive is among the nation’s foremost builders of high-performance homes. Every Thrive home is built Zero Energy Ready, LEED certified, and Thrive is Denver’s largest builder of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS-qualified homes. Thrive is a top twenty builder in Denver. Professional Builder Magazine named Thrive Home Builders their 2017 Builder of the Year and Thrive won the National Housing Quality Award—Bronze and Silver in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Gene’s career in urban development spans more than 30 years—from a civil engineer in the U.S. Peace Corps in the early 1970s to starting his own homebuilding company in the early 1990s. Gene is known as an advocate for smart growth and affordable housing. He frequently speaks locally and nationally on these topics.
Steve C. Brown
As a third-generation lumberman and builder, Steve has been around the construction business most of his life and has more than 2,500 units of housing to his credit, including multifamily rental, “for sale” condominiums, townhouses, single-family homes, and transitional housing.
As a winner of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Housing Innovation Awards, his focus remains on green, energy-efficient, affordable housing under the DOE’s “ZERH” guidelines.
William (Bill) Peck
William Peck is an architect in north Texas. He started his practice in 1995, and it currently remains a small firm of four. Specializing in sustainable design and building science, he has been a guest speaker on energy efficiency design for universities and municipalities throughout Texas and in Mexico. A mentor for young architects and small firms on professional practice, he has been a National Executive Board Member on AIA’s Small Firm Exchange for the past 5 years, currently serving as Chair for the Professional Practice Subcommittee.
Bill has been designing (and building) zero energy and off-grid projects throughout the Midwest for the past 16 years.
Brittany Carl Moser
Brittany Carl Moser is a Building Performance Consultant at Affiliated Engineers, Inc., focused on improving indoor environmental quality, resilience, and energy and water use efficiency in healthcare, lab, and office buildings. After studying Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at the University of Florida, she started her career in energy modeling and sustainability consulting for housing. She moved on to study Architectural Engineering and Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado Boulder to hone her capabilities in building systems design, passive design, and appropriate technologies. Brittany also participates in ASHRAE sustainable building standard committees.
Komal Kotwal is a Project Manager and a Sustainable Design Leader at HOK with more than 13 years of experience. As a Project Manager, she works closely with the Principal-in-charge on a project and is responsible for management of successful delivery and completion, scheduling, budgeting, client relationship management, staffing, and collaboratively leading the team to realizing the client’s vision on a project. As part of the firm-wide sustainable design leaders’ team, she has successfully managed sustainable design efforts of more than 25 projects, including LEED and WELL Platinum certifications for more than a million square feet at HOK. Komal has led the sustainable design efforts for one of HOK’s first Net-Zero projects in a challenging climate in South America. Additionally, as a WELL AP, Komal is one of HOK’s firm-wide champions in promoting health and wellness in architecture. Prior to HOK, Komal worked as a designer on large-scale master planning and net-zero projects at RNL in Denver and on healthcare projects with WHR in Houston. Passionate about issues related to sustainability and equity, Komal has dedicated much of her time to advancing sustainability and diversity in architecture. A mom of two young kids, Komal enjoys travelling and exploring new cuisines and cultures with her family.
In addition to being a plans analyst and inspector for a jurisdiction, Shaunna has managed more than 20 energy-code-related contracts over the past 8 years, conducting research and providing training to code officials, builders, energy raters, and designers both locally and around the United States. She has provided code adoption assistance to many jurisdictions and hosted more than 500 trainings and 100 free webinars on energy code topics.
Shaunna also has served as a building inspector and competition juror for previous iterations of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Competitions and served as the inspector for the China Solar Decathlon Competition. She has been awarded the Department of Energy’s Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for excellence in the advancement of building energy codes and performance, Institute for Market Transformation and the International Code Council’s Standard Bearers Award for her efforts in compliance with energy codes, as well as the South West Energy Efficiency Project’s Award for Leadership in Energy Codes. Shaunna is a past President of the Colorado Chapter of ICC and serves on the Chapter’s Education, Legislative, Code Development, and Membership committees. She was appointed to the International Code Council’s Commercial Energy Code Development Committee and Code Correlation Committee for the 2018 and 2021 code cycles. Shaunna’s latest accomplishment has been co-authoring the book, 2018 Energy Codes Essentials, for the International Code Council.
Shawn is part of the Performance Construction Team with Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC, focused on efficient cooling and heating systems for residential new construction. He has earned certifications as a LEED Green Rater, PHIUS+ Rater, HERS Rater, BPI professional, ICC Residential Energy Inspector, Level 1 Thermographer, and earned a BS in Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has 24 years of experience in the residential building industry with small and large companies, nonprofits, and volunteer work. Since 2009, he has completed energy-related analysis and in-field work on more than 3 million square feet of residential and commercial buildings.
Shawn strives to expand his building science knowledge and skills at every opportunity. He enjoys sharing that knowledge through hands-on training and mentoring for all levels of building professionals. He is also active in building performance trade organizations to maintain and promote professional standards. He is committed to helping grow a highly trained workforce for this burgeoning industry.
Jason has worked as a building enclosure consultant at RDH Building Science in Seattle for the past 6 years and is a licensed engineer in the state of Washington. At RDH, Jason is a Building Science Engineer and is responsible for building enclosure design review as well as field review to ensure the project is built in conformance with drawings and specifications. He manages energy code permit submittals for a variety of new construction and existing building projects and specializes in thermal modeling. Prior to working at RDH, Jason received a Master’s in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado and interned at NREL while pursuing this degree.
John C. Chadwick, AIA
John Chadwick has served Arlington Public Schools since 2011, first as Director of Design and Construction and currently as Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations. He has led the district’s response to sustained student enrollment growth through four biannual Capital Improvement Plans, and multiple capital projects, notably Discovery Elementary School, which opened in 2015. Discovery has been certified Zero Energy by the International Living Future Institute, the New Buildings Institute, and the United States Green Building Council and is one of the largest Zero Energy buildings in the United States to date. Fleet Elementary School, which opened in September 2019, and the New Elementary School at the Reed Site, which is scheduled to open in September 2021, have both been designed to achieve zero energy. All three schools have been designed to integrate teaching, learning, design, sustainability, and environmental stewardship to provide authentic learning experience for students every day.
Shannon Oliver has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Master’s in Global Environmental Health from Emory University. His professional experience includes 8 years of environmental and regulatory compliance for the oil and gas industry and more than 3 years as an Energy and Sustainability Manager in the K–12 sector in Colorado. Shannon's recent work focus has included energy use analysis and tracking, climate inventories, and water conservation. A key project for his school district was opening a new K–8 school that is zero net energy ready, with a target energy use intensity of roughly 26 kBtu/ft2.
Teresa Hamm Modley
Teresa joined VMDO after completing her Master of Architecture at Virginia Tech. Prior to that, she spent much of the last decade working in construction on affordable housing projects with a focus on high-performance passive house design in Washington, D.C. During this time and while working at D.C. Habitat for Humanity, she partnered with a 2011 Solar Decathlon collegiate team to convert their competition entry into a duplex house that is now owned by two Habitat for Humanity families. While at Virginia Tech, she led a team of students in the DOE’s Race to Net Zero Competition, designing a Net Zero Elementary School. Through that experience, she researched the Discovery Elementary School, a Net Zero school designed by VMDO and was inspired to pursue a job opportunity with the firm. Teresa is grateful for the invaluable learning experiences and opportunities that the Solar Decathlon has provided her through her career.
Craig Marden is a Senior Engineer in the Building Science group at Owens Corning. With 30 years of experience in construction, weatherization, energy-efficient construction, and retrofits, he has conducted thousands of blower door tests on residential buildings. His professional experiences include: Adjunct Faculty for the Building and Construction Technology Program at UMass Amherst; WUFI modeling; construction management, carpenter, HERS rater, LEED rater, energy auditor, heating system installer, solar thermal installer, and air sealing technician. Craig is a certified Passive House consultant.
Cristine Gibney, LEED AP O+M, is the net zero building coordinator at American Geophysical Union (AGU), which supports 130,000 enthusiasts to experts worldwide in Earth and space sciences. She is a member of the team overseeing the organization's 62,000-square foot net zero energy renovation—the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. Cristine holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Design from the Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture and Planning where she also teaches LEED Lab. She is an active member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 7. 3 Operations, Maintenance, and Cost Assessment and the NCR Net-Zero Energy Coalition.
Nissa Dahlin-Brown, AIA
Nissa is the Director of Higher Education at the American Institute of Architects (AIA), headquartered in Washington, D.C. With more than 95,000 members in the United States and abroad, Nissa liaises between the architecture profession and architecture colleges as an advocate for the profession, promoting research and support of faculty, staff, and students. She is part of the Workforce team at the AIA, which supports equity, diversity, and inclusion and assists emerging professionals in the architecture field. Prior to the AIA, she had long career at the University of Tennessee, where she worked in public policy and student civic engagement at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and as an administrator in developing continuing professional education courses, certificates, and conferences. She also served as Historic Preservationist for the East Tennessee Development District and successfully nominated seven properties to the National Register of Historic Places. Nissa has a Bachelor of Architecture, specializing in Historic Preservation, a Master’s in Adult & Technological Education, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Policy Studies, all from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her dissertation on college rankings won the 2005 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education
Tom Hootman is an architect, engineer, and author. He is an Associate Principal and Senior Sustainability Consultant at Integral Group, an interactive global network of design professionals collaborating under a single deep green engineering and consulting umbrella. Tom works at the innovative intersection of architecture and engineering to help building owners and design teams unlock this new potential and value in buildings. He is dedicated to advancing the future of building performance and sustainability with regenerative design outcomes such as net positive energy, water, and health.