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Farah Naz Ahmad is #SDLivingTheDream:
Building Science Skills — and Communications, too!

Monday, July 13, 2020

For the latest in our #SDLivingTheDream series, you’ll meet a 2011 Build Challenge team member whose career has explored several angles of energy-efficient building: lighting retrofits, energy codes, and technical building standards for city government. And if you’ve ever done a search for Solar Decathlon content on social media, you’ve probably seen Farah’s posts — she is one of our biggest cheerleaders!


Name:  Farah Naz Ahmad

Year participated in Solar Decathlon:  2011

University team: The City College of New York (Team New York)

Current organization / employer:  New York City School Construction Authority

Current role:  Architect, Sustainable Design

Farah frequently attends conferences to increase her knowledge in the environmental sphere, and to better understand the role architects can play in sustainable development. This is a training on the climate crisis which brings together grassroots leaders in communities to foster collaboration in activism.


How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?

Engaging in design, construction and communications in the Decathlon encouraged me to expand upon my career as an architect. Sustainable design, standards development and application, and energy engineering are constant drivers of my work. I began my career in lighting retrofits resulting in massive energy savings. I transitioned into a buildings department energy code plans examiner, reviewing construction documents for compliance with ambitious building performance requirements. I currently work on technical standards and support for sustainable design in city government. I apply my knowledge in renewable energy technologies, resilient design, energy modeling, LEED criteria, building code mandates, and additional standards to projects.

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.

While serving as Team New York’s communications liaison, I exercised my love for writing in the form of journalism, guided project marketing, and developed public speaking skills. To this day, I enjoy connecting with different audiences, communicating both technical concepts and practical applications of water, energy, and materials conservation. This has transitioned into an educational campaign on a platform of my social media channels, through environmental journalism, and via advocacy work. The fundamentals of the Decathlon highlight the prominent role of the building industry in climate change and emissions reduction, and I will continue to raise awareness on industry collaboration.


Above and two photos below: The Decathlon RoofPod project is currently a learning hub for sustainable design. “After having built the RoofPod as a student,” Farah says, “I returned as a sustainability professional to lecture current students on sustainability standards in design/construction It was a full circle moment!”

Farah gives a lecture on the RoofPod house.

Farah had the opportunity to attend the signing of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations and documented the experience through journalism, to convey the magnitude of this agreement internationally.


Follow Farah on Twitter and Instagram

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