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Five Questions for a Solar Decathlon Organizer: Stephen Lappi, Health and Safety Officer

Saturday, September 28, 2013

By Alexis Powers

Steve Lappi is the health and safety officer of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. Before the competition, we asked him five questions to learn more about him and his role.

Photo of Steve Lappi and a Team Austria decathlete talking in front of scaffolding.

Steve Lappi works with the Vienna University of Technology to ensure the safety of its scaffolding.

1. When was your first U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon?

My first Solar Decathlon experience was in 2011, when I acted as an assistant to the previous health and safety officer. Although my interaction with the event was limited, I did have the opportunity to spend a week at the competition site during the assembly period.

My favorite memory of that experience was witnessing the enthusiasm and hard work that all the teams put into their houses. I’ve acted as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) point of contact for major construction projects, including the LEED-platinum Research Support Facility and 578,320-ft2 solar-supporting parking garage and currently act as a laboratory operations EHS point of contact.

2. What would you say is the most important thing you contribute to the competition?

I feel the most important thing I contribute to the competition is my construction EHS knowledge and the ability to transfer that to the teams in their designs and work performance.

3. What does a typical day during assembly look like for you?

My typical day will be overseeing the work activities for each team, which will involve observing critical operations (cranes, elevated work, and electrical), responding to daily health and safety issues and events, and mentoring teams and team members on health and safety performance issues.

4. Which technological innovation has you most excited for a clean energy future?

The technological innovation that has most excited me regarding clean energy would be the advances in the area of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

5. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I most enjoy spending time with my family, watching high school/club soccer, and mountain biking.

Alexis Powers is a member of the Solar Decathlon communications team.

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