U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Solar Decathlon 2013


The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 included contests that relied on juries to determine their results. Using objective and subjective measures to evaluate the team houses, the jurors assigned points that determined each team's score and standing.

These jurors served on contest juries for Solar Decathlon 2013.


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Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner is a principal in Gardner Mohr Architects LLC and a clinical professor of architecture at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. She is a two-time veteran of the Solar Decathlon, having stewarded the University of Maryland's 2007 and 2011 teams to second- and first-place wins, respectively.

Amy works to foster integrated practices for current and future practitioners who are charged with creating built environments and who must cross generational and disciplinary boundaries to do so. In her practice, Amy guides her clients to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives. Her projects have been recognized with American Institute of Architects local, regional, and national awards. Her inventions and stewardship of the University of Maryland's Comprehensive Studio, from 1991 to 2003, redefined architectural curricula across the nation. Widely published, she and her efforts have been televised in venues such as the Learning Channel and Discovery Communications Planet Green Series.

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Richard N. Swett

Richard N. Swett's business experience encompasses architectural design, project management, corporate management, project development, and finance. He has worked in real estate, alternative energy development and production, energy conservation, industrial development, and international export promotion. He is a licensed architect and chief executive officer and cofounder of Climate PROSPERITY Enterprise Solutions LLC.

In 1990, Richard Swett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he introduced legislation to encourage energy conservation and the use of renewable energy that was included in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Richard served as U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 1998 to 2001.

Richard holds positions on several corporate boards and is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and Design Futures Council and past state chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee. He is also a member of the European Union Center of California's advisory board, Denmark's H.C. Andersen Foundation board of advisors, the board of peers overseeing design quality issues for the General Services Administration for the United States government building portfolio, and The George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute Steering Committee. He is the author of Leadership by Design: Creating an Architecture of Trust and contributing author to A Nation Reconstructed: A Quest for the Cities That Can Be.

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Victor Olgyay

As a principal architect directing the Rocky Mountain Institute's buildings practice, Victor Olgyay is leading an initiative to encourage widespread adoption of comprehensive building energy retrofits resulting in energy savings of at least 50%. Victor has a range of experience in architectural design and planning, with specializations in bioclimatic building, renewable energy, and daylighting design.

Victor was an associate professor and director of research at the University of Hawaii School of Architecture from 1993 to 2000 and chairman of the American Institute of Architects Honolulu Energy and Environment Committee from 1995 to 2000. He has served on the board of directors for the American Solar Energy Society and is currently on the University of Colorado Design Review Board and the General Services Administration Green Building Advisory Committee. His research focuses on ecosystem services as criteria for green building assessment, including building tool applications for demonstrating the reduction of carbon, water, and ecological footprints.


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Ariel Schwartz

Ariel Schwartz is a senior editor at Co.Exist, Fast Company magazine's website focusing on world-changing ideas and innovation. Previously, she was the technology editor at Inhabitat, a green design site, as well as the site editor at Cleantechnica.com. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, Modern Farmer, and GOOD Magazine, where she wrote a weekly online column about energy innovation.

Ariel is the recipient of a Verge 25 Award for her work as "a leading voice on the promise of technology in the service of cities and sustainability." Prior to her career as a writer, she worked in sales and marketing at No Starch Press, a small San Francisco-based publishing company. She graduated from Vassar College with a bachelor's degree in history.

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Mark Walhimer

Mark Walhimer's company, Museum Planning LLC, specializes in the planning, design, and management of interactive educational experiences. Mark started his firm in 1999 to assist startup and expanding museums with exhibition design, art handling, project management, fabrication, and installation. He has completed more than 40 projects worldwide for an international clientele that includes science centers, art museums, history museums, libraries, and corporations. Projects include "Alcatraz: Life on the Rock," a 2,800-ft2 traveling exhibition that opened on Ellis Island in October 2011, and the Trans Studio Science Center, opened in 2012 in Bandung, Indonesia.

Prior to starting his company, Mark held positions at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California; the Children's Museum of Manhattan; and Liberty Science Center. He has a bachelor's degree in studio art from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a master's degree in industrial design and exhibition design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

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Haily Zaki

Haily Zaki is a public relations consultant and freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She launched Secret Agent PR in 2008 with a mission to promote cutting-edge design brands such as Dwell, Palm Springs Modernism Week, and various architecture firms. She serves as communications director for Dwell on Design, the nation's largest design event. She cofounded the L.A. Design Festival and design east of La Brea (de LaB), a design education nonprofit.

Prior to 2008, Haily represented corporate architecture and design brands for a mid-sized PR agency. She also headed up West Coast marketing efforts for a national architecture and engineering firm and worked for a large international PR firm promoting arts and culture clients, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Japanese American National Museum. Haily's educational background includes studies at the University of California, Tulane University, Institut d'Etudes politiques de Paris, and Bryn Mawr College.


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Brad Oberg

Brad Oberg is one of the foremost building scientists in the U.S. and emerging international markets. As partner and chief technology officer of IBACOS, he leads systems-based research, product development, and performance guideline work for private clients and acts as lead contributor to IBACOS' Building America research projects.

Brad is part of a group of industry experts that played a pioneering role in the creation of the Department of Energy's Building America program. Before cofounding IBACOS in 1991, he headed the New Products Laboratory at USG Corp. and worked at Owens Corning's Research Lab.

Brad is a sought-after speaker at industry events and holds several patents for homebuilding products. He has a master's degree in architecture from the Ohio State University and is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Environmental Committee of the International Code Council Evaluation Service.

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Kent Peterson

Kent W. Peterson is chief operating officer and chief engineer at P2S Engineering and has more than 25 years of experience in consulting engineering. His award-winning design experience includes high-performance green buildings, innovative energy-efficiency strategies, and ultra energy-efficient central plants. He constantly strives to improve best practices in the building industry.

Kent is a past worldwide president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers. He is chair of the society's Associate Society Alliance and works with 55 HVAC&R professional societies around the world. Congress has appointed him to the Federal High-Performance Green Buildings Advisory Committee and the committee for Department of Energy Appliances and Equipment Efficiency Rulemaking.

Photo of Mark Thornbloom

Mark Thornbloom

Mark Thornbloom has spent his career in solar energy. He worked for 13 years at the Florida Solar Energy Center in solar thermal applied research and development. He then worked with Schuco and later Viessmann throughout the U.S.

Since 1995, Mark has been principal of Kelelo Engineering, an engineering consulting firm specializing in solar heating and cooling of commercial buildings and industrial process heat. Kelelo has also provided sustainable solutions through micro-entreprise in the U.S., Caribbean, and central Africa in projects such as micro hydromechanical turbines and solar thermal feasibilities for the poultry industry.

Mark holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. He is vice chair of the Solar Rating and Certification Corp. and an American Solar Energy Society fellow and charter life member. He is also a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Solar Energy Division. He has perhaps the most diverse solar cooling portfolio in the U.S. In 2011, he was keynote speaker at Solar Thermal 2011 and given the prestigious Hottel award.

Market Appeal

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Susan Aiello

A certified interior designer and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) AP, Susan Aiello is the founder and president of Interior Design Solutions. She designs healthy, comfortable, inviting, and ecologically responsible interiors that are tangible expressions of her not-for-profit clients' missions and core values, her commercial clients' brands, and her residential clients' personalities and interests.

She writes a blog, Green Interior Design Solutions, and has contributed to academic journals, including Sustainability: The Journal of Record and the Journal of Green Building. She has lectured on sustainability at NeoCon (North America's largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors) as well as other venues.

Susan is a past president of the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers and co-chair of the Green Design and Construction Committee of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

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Brian Baker

Brian M. Baker is co-owner and director of marketing and design at Baker Development Group LLC, parent company to award-winning green design-build firms studio26 homes and Renu Building & Energy Solutions. In 2007, studio26 homes was honored with the coveted Building Innovation Award from the Pennsylvania Builders Association.

In June 2011, Professional Builder magazine recognized Brian as one of the top 40 under 40 home building professionals in the United States; and, in 2013, he was honored as a regional top 40 under 40 professional from the Lehigh Valley Business journal. Brian and his company have pioneered residential green building throughout eastern Pennsylvania, having been the first to complete green building certifications such as LEED Platinum, LEED Silver, American National Standards Institute National Green Building Standard Emerald, and National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Gold.

Brian graduated from Lehigh University with a bachelor's degree in architecture, and he received a master's in architecture from the University of Maryland. In addition, he studied architecture and land planning in Paris, France. Brian has worked for Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership and Spillman Farmer Architects and has lectured on green building topics at venues such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Lehigh University.

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Steve Glenn

Steve Glenn is the founder and chief executive officer of LivingHomes LLC, a developer of modern, prefabricated homes that combine world-class architecture with healthy and sustainable construction. The first LivingHome was the first home to receive a LEED for Home Platinum rating. The second was named Green Home of the Year by Green Homebuilder magazine.

He is founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of PeopleLink. Glenn was also a founding partner of idealab, a business incubation firm. Glenn worked for Walt Disney Imagineering as co-director of the Virtual Reality Studio and co-founded Clearview Software, which was sold to Apple Computer, where he later served as a marketing specialist.

He holds a bachelor's degree with honors from Brown University and was a Coro fellow. Glenn is a co-founder of the Sustainable Business Council, the Kaia Parker Dance Fund, and Hope Street Group. He is a member of the board of directors of the Brown University Entrepreneur Forum and Watts House Project. Glenn was named the Clean Tech CEO of the Year by Clean Tech Week, Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year by LA City Council/Faith2Green, and Greatest Person of the Day by The Huffington Post.