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Yunzhi (Lucy) Huang is a building science researcher and technology developer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Yunzhi (Lucy) Huang is a building science researcher and technology developer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! To celebrate, we’re highlighting a few of the people at the Energy Department who are helping to change the world.

1. What’s your job title and how long have you worked at the Energy Department?

My job title is scientist and I work in the building science area. I have worked at the Energy Department for 10 years.

2. What inspired you to work in your field?

As a child, I always dreamed to be an engineer and I loved to sketch signature architectures on my weekends.  After finishing my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and System Automation, I decided to apply the knowledge in the building area.

3. What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Working with talented people from various backgrounds and the ability to participate in different projects are the most exciting parts of this job.  Being able to develop new technologies that make buildings more responsive to the future smart grid, more adaptive to occupants needs, and more energy efficient is very rewarding too.

4. Do you have any words of advice for people looking to enter your field?

The engineering world is going into a new era with tools like machine learning, big data, cloud computing and IoT [internet of things].   People spend 80% of the time inside one building or another; 60% of the total energy is consumed by buildings; grid and traffic systems connect buildings together.  The field provides endless frontiers to explore.

5. How has your heritage shaped the person you are today?

My grandfather chaired Shanghai Electric Corporation in the 1960s, the leading power generator manufacturer in China.  His deep belief in how the technology could change the world passes down in my family. My father was a power plant engineer who participated to build the world’s most efficient fossil fuel plant. My mom worked in the aerospace industry designing satellite orbiting tracks. So, I grew up worshiping technologies and now being part of DOE and developing new technologies is my dream-come-true.

6.  Does your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?

The family union dinner during Chinese New Year’s Eve is the happiest moment of a year.  Tasting my grandma’s best dishes, spending time with everyone in my big family, putting on new outfits, giving and receiving red bags, and launching fireworks are all treasured moments of my life.

7. What are some interesting hobbies or talents that most people may not know about you?

As a building engineer who likes painting, it is quite natural to love flipping houses too.  

8. What’s your favorite book or podcast?

It is changing all the time. The favorite one I recently read is “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “The Dark Forest” by Cixin Liu.

9. Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?

Neil Armstrong and the team behind Apollo 11, for first exploring an astronomical body other than the planet Earth.

10. What does Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

It celebrates the culture, traditions and history of Asian American Pacific Islanders, fosters respect and open-mindedness, enriches the nation with diversity, promotes mutual understanding and creates a bigger world.

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The Energy Department celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
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