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Bennett Doherty:
Solar Decathlon Introduced Me to This Field

Monday, February 10, 2020

We’re continuing our series, #SDLivingTheDream, highlighting alumni of both the Build Challenge and Design Challenge and how their time in the competition has shaped their careers and their lives.


Name: Bennett Doherty

Year participated in Solar Decathlon: 2018 Design Challenge

University team: Middlebury College

Current organization / employer: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Current role: Research Engineer in the Commercial Buildings Group

Bennett Doherty working in the lab in the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at NREL.

How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?
Before the Solar Decathlon, I had never considered working in the field of building efficiency. The Solar Decathlon introduced me to this field in an exciting and captivating manner and opened my eyes to the built environment’s significant role in reducing our carbon consumption. Not only did it spark new interests for me, I think I acquired many skills that were both different from and complimentary to the skills I was learning in the classroom. I certainly do not think I would be working in the Commercial Buildings Group at NREL today if it weren’t for the Solar Decathlon.

A zero energy home in New Hampshire that Bennett helped his father build last January.

Describe a work outcome, building project or other achievement you are most proud of and how (if) it relates to your experience with Solar Decathlon.
Even today I am still very proud of the work that my teammates and I did in the Solar Decathlon! Since then I have published a journal article in Energy and Buildings that is not directly related to the Solar Decathlon, but stems from interests that were inspired by my participation in the Solar Decathlon. Now, I am most excited to work with my father, who owns a small residential construction business, to build another zero-energy home and translate the design skills I learned in the Solar Decathlon into full-fledged construction. I am sure I will be very proud of that when it is complete!

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