The Race to Zero Student Design Competition (Race to Zero) inspires collegiate students to become the next generation of building science professionals through a design challenge for zero energy ready homes. Each of the four Race to Zero contests is judged by a panel of jurors, and the first place winner in each category presents their project to a grand jury, which then selects a grand winner. Learn more about the individual jurors by contest below, or learn how the jurors evaluate projects in the Race to Zero Student Design Competition Guide

Grand Juror

photo of Karin Klingenberg.

Katrin Klingenberg

Katrin is the executive director of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), an organization committed to making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard. Katrin began her career in architecture with Murphy/Jahn and Solomon Cordwell Buenz in Chicago, Illinois. In 2002, she started her own firm and became a registered architect in Germany and in 2007, Katrin co-founded the Passive House Institute U.S. to work on education. She is the lead instructor for the PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant training and directs the technical and research programs at PHIUS, which has trained more than 3,000 architects, engineers, energy consultants, energy raters, and builders in passive building standards. PHIUS has become the leading passive building research and information provider in North America.

Photo of Vivian Loftness

Vivian Loftness, FAIA

Vivian is a university professor and Paul Mellon Chair in architecture who served a decade as head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). With 40 years of industry and government funding, she is a key member of CMU's leadership in sustainability research and education, writing extensively on the environmental performance of integrated systems and their impacts on human health and productivity, and editor of the Springer Reference Encyclopedia Sustainable Built Environments. She served on the board of directors for the National Academy of Science’s Buildings and Infrastructure Council, the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) and AIACOTE. In 2013, Vivian was recognized as a LEED Fellow, senior fellow of the Design Futures Council, and one of 13 Stars of Building Science by the UK Building Research Establishment. In 2015, she was honored as a Hanley Award nominee for Vision and Leadership in Sustainability and received the Award of Distinction from AIA Pennsylvania. Vivian has a bachelor of science degree and a master's of architecture degree from MIT.

Photo of Gene Myers.

Gene Myers

Gene is owner and CEO of Thrive Home Builders (formerly New Town Builders), Denver’s leader in building green, energy-efficient production homes. His company is also Denver’s largest builder of for-sale affordable housing. Thrive Home Builders has been recognized as EPA’s Millennium Energy Star Builder, EPA’s Leadership Award for Indoor Air Quality, Green Building Magazine’s Green Home of the Year, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Grand Winner for Innovation in Housing for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. In December 2017, Gene was named Professional Builder magazine’s Builder of the Year.

Suburban Single-Family

Laura Dwyer

Laura became the Global Innovation Leader in January 2018 for DowDuPont, a $1.3 billion material and building science supplier to the construction industry. Prior to 2018, she led the Global DuPont™ Building Knowledge Center, an international network of experts who help members of the building industry navigate the changing future. Central to her role was harnessing the knowledge and skills of DuPont construction professionals to deliver enhanced value to customers by sharing best practices in building science and application knowledge. Laura has been involved in National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Green and Energy Subcommittee and is an executive director for the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance board of directors. She is a multiyear committee member for NAHB’s Construction, Codes and Standards committee and supports NAHB’s Professional Women in Building organization. Laura serves on the board of trustees for the Home Building Institute and led the RESNET training committee that created the HERS Associate designation. She also serves on the board of advisors for the Housing Innovation Alliance. Laura earned her bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and her MBA from the University of Delaware.

Headshot of Ron Flax.

Ron Flax

Ron, RESNET member, LEED AP, is the chief building official for Boulder County. Previously he was the sustainability examiner for Boulder County where he managed the green building and energy-related initiatives of the Land Use Department. Before this, he worked as a building science consultant as well as a project manager for a local award-winning design-build firm. Ron has been a member of the sustainable building community for more than 20 years and has extensive hands-on experience in both design and construction.

Photo of Sam Nishek.

Sam Nishek

Since 1992, Sam has brought his passion for sustainable architecture combined with practical construction detailing to Barrett Studio Architects’ (BSA) diverse variety of projects. He earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in architecture from the University of Idaho in 1991. Sam grew up in Tanzania with parents teaching appropriate technology to remote villages. This early experience of making the most with the least has shaped Sam’s sense of simplicity and economy in design. He brings this rigor to the BSA team as manager of some of BSA’s most complex undertakings, while also serving as the technical plan checker for every project that the studio designs. Self-titled Eco-Boy, he is an experienced vegetable gardener, avid bike commuter, and camper.

Photo of Ari Rapport.

Ari Rapport

Ari is responsible for developing and leading IBACOS’ strategic relationships with builders, manufacturers, state and federal governments, and other industry stakeholders to drive innovation in the housing industry. Ari has more than 10 years of experience applying building science principles to improve the quality and performance of U.S. homes. He works with multiple stakeholders to manage in-depth programs and projects that have both short- and long-term impacts on the housing industry.

Ari holds a master of science degree in sustainable systems from Slippery Rock University, and is a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater with more than 10 years of experience performing home energy ratings per Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Standards.

Photo of Ray Tonjes.

Ray Tonjes

Ray is the president and founder of Ray Tonjes Builder Inc., a homebuilding company based in Austin, Texas, which specializes in mainstream, high-performance custom homes and renovations. He has been a proponent of energy-efficient construction since the energy crisis of the 1970s. In 1985, he became one of the first “Austin Energy Star” builders in Austin as part of their initial aggressive conservation program. This program evolved into the nation’s first green building program (established 1991). A 33-year veteran of the home building industry, Ray is chair emeritus of the NAHB Green Building Subcommittee, having served as the chairman from 2001-2008, and a founding member since 1999. He also served (2008-2009) as an NAHB national vice-president and a member of the NAHB Green Building Task Force. In 2009, Ray was honored as a finalist for the inaugural Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing. 

Urban Single-Family

Photo of Diana Fisler.

Diana Fisler

Diana received her bachelor’s degrees in physics and geology at the University of Massachusetts, and combined these two areas of study with a Ph.D. in geophysics from Pennsylvania State University. She joined Johns Manville in 1998 as a glass chemist, developing new glass chemistries for improved production efficiency. She researched new binders for fiber glass, led the Johns Manville product testing laboratories, and served as platform leader in environmental construction, developing new products and cost savings for commercial roofing products, all while overseeing a team of engineers and scientists and influencing stakeholders in multiple internal business units. In her current role in the Innovation group she is responsible for delivering new business opportunities for Johns Manville in a variety of industries; investigating sustainable technologies and businesses; representing Johns Manville at sustainability and green building organizations; and providing expertise at controlling heat, moisture, and air flow through the building envelope. 

Headshot for Nicholas Hurst.

Nicholas Hurst

Nick is an environmental protection specialist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the program manager of EPA’s Indoor airPLUS label for new homes. He has been involved in the construction industry for more than 16 years as a self-employed remodeling contractor, project manager, green building consultant, and trainer. Nick earned a master’s in technology concentrating in building science from Appalachian State University (ASU), taught coursework in construction technology, and helped pilot indoor air quality research on weatherized homes through the ASU Energy Center. Before coming to the EPA, Nick was a manager at ICF in the federal energy-efficiency portfolio, consulting on high-performance labeling programs such as ENERGY STAR®, Indoor airPLUS, and WaterSense.

Photo of Lance MacNevin.

Lance MacNevin, P. Eng.

Lance is the director of engineering for the Building and Construction Division at the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI). PPI’s expertise is on plastic pressure pipes such as CPVC, PE, PEX, PE-RT and PP. Lance has been in the plastic pipe industry since 1993, involved with hydronic radiant heating and cooling applications, geothermal ground loop piping systems, plumbing, and fire protection systems. In addition to technical research, advocacy, and training, Lance also works with mechanical codes and piping standards. He is a member of ASHRAE, the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, ASTM, the American Water Works Association, CSA, IAPMO, RPA, and UL, serving on technical committees within most of these organizations. 

Headshot of William Peck.

William Peck, RA

William has been designing sustainable, Ready for Zero, and off-grid projects for more than 20 years. Staying current with the latest in design and building science has allowed him to win four Energy Value Housing Awards. William has been a guest lector for several municipalities and universities in Texas and Mexico.

Photo of Todd Usher.

Todd Usher

Todd built his company on a solid green foundation. As president of Addison Homes, he builds all of his projects to high-performance standards such as DOE Zero Energy Ready Home and National Green Building Standard as well as the ENERGY STAR, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense labels. Todd serves on the executive committee of the Industry Advisory Board for Clemson University’s Department of Construction Science and Management and is a member of the IBACOS Best Practices Research Alliance. He is a community sustainable building consultant and currently volunteers on the board of Trees Greenville. He has received U.S. Green Building Council-South Carolina’s Leadership in Green Building Award, for example, as well as NAHB’s Green Advocacy Award and Master Certified Green Professional of the Year. Addison Home projects have garnered honors such as the DOE’s Housing Innovation Award, EarthCraft House Gold Project of the Year, SC Home Builders Association Pinnacle Award for Best Achievement in Energy Efficiency, and several Greenville Southern Home and Garden Bridge Awards for Green Building.

Attached Housing

Steve C. Brown

As a third-generation lumberman and builder with more than 40 years of experience, Steve has been around the construction business most of his life. He started building in the Dallas area in 1982, and in 1994 he changed the course of his construction business to build only extreme energy-efficient homes using structural insulated panels (SIPs) as the primary building enclosure. He also helped pioneer many of the green techniques used today and has won many national housing awards over the years, most recently receiving DOE Housing Innovation Awards in 2014 and 2015. In addition to being nationally recognized as an authority on green built, extreme energy-efficient homes, he also serves on the board of directors of Green Extreme Homes Community Development Corp. and Plano Housing Corporation [both 501(c)(3) nonprofits].

Photo of Lesley Hermann.

Lesley Herrmann

Lesley earned her master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder where she specialized in building systems. She worked with the commercial building team at NREL, helping develop innovative technologies for dehumidification and efficiency strategies for military shelters. Then, a musician man swept her off to Nashville, where she became the business development specialist at E3 INNOVATE, middle-Tennessee's high-performance home consulting company. Although she wears many hats at E3, educating homeowners and the community on home performance is her favorite part of the job.

Photo of Rob Howard.

Rob Howard

Rob is performance construction manager with Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating. He provides training and technical support to builders, remodelers, architects, and engineers on variable refrigerant flow cooling and heating systems for residential applications.

Rob has more than 15 years of experience in the performance construction industry. He is the former director of construction at Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley. He earned his bachelor’s degree and a renewable energy technologies diploma from North Carolina State University.


Shaunna Mozingo

Shaunna is a plans analyst/building inspector and code trainer for Colorado Code Consulting. She serves on the International Code Council’s Code Development Committee for the commercial provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code, is active within the Colorado Chapter of ICC as a past president and chairs their energy code committee. She performs research for the Colorado Energy Office and Xcel Energy dealing with energy efficiency of buildings and has served as building inspector for DOE’s Solar Decathlon competitions and the China Solar Decathlon competition. Shaunna is also the 2017 recipient of DOE’s Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for excellence in the advancement of building energy codes and performance.

Photo of Marcin Pazera.

Marcin Pazera, Ph.D.

Marcin is the technical director for Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). Marcin coordinates all technical-related activities at PIMA and serves as the primary technical liaison to organizations involved in the development of building standards. He holds a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and, over the course of his career, has worked in building science with a focus on evaluating energy and moisture performance of building materials and building enclosure systems. Marcin has expertise in building enclosure and product manufacturing encompassed-research, testing, product conception and development, and computer modeling/analysis.

Small Multifamily

Headshot of Renee Azerbegi.

Renée Azerbegi

Renée, president of Ambient Energy, has 20 years of experience in high-performance design consulting. Ambient Energy celebrates 14 years of third-party consulting firm specializing in high-quality energy, commissioning, and sustainability solutions for the new and existing commercial building market. Renée is known for pushing innovative ideas and high quality in all Ambient Energy’s projects. With an M.S. from the University of Colorado – Boulder in building systems engineering and a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley in environmental science, Renée combines her passion for environmental sustainability and energy conservation with strong technical leadership. Renée has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Solar Energy Societies’ Women in Solar Energy Award and the Denver Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 awards. Appointed by the Mayor of Denver, Renée contributed to Denver’s Sustainability Advisory Committee in 2016.

Photo of John Bailey

John Bailey

Starting out his career as a refrigeration systems design engineer, John is the manager of the Furnace Engineering Team for Ingersoll Rand’s Residential HVAC and Supply Strategic Business Unit. His team focuses on the design, development, and testing of gas furnaces for residential application. In addition to being a PMI-certified program manager, he holds a BSME from The University of Texas at Tyler and is currently pursuing an MBA at Indiana University. John has been with Ingersoll Rand since 2007 and holds several patents in HVAC system design.



Photo of Celeste Cizik.

Celeste Cizik, PE

Celeste, CEM, PMP, is the Existing Buildings team leader for Group14 Engineering. She has 15 years of experience in the building systems field, including existing building commissioning, energy assessments, mechanical and control system design, and ongoing monitoring with analytics software. She has conducted energy trainings for various federal government sites around the country and presents at conferences nationally.





Richard S. Duncan, PE

Rick brings more than 20 years of experience in technical marketing, building science, and product development and product management to deliver new materials and applications to the construction market. Drawing from previous experience as an engineering professor at Bucknell University, Rick simplifies complex building envelope issues and clearly describes solutions for wide-ranging audiences including design professionals, code officials, builders, contractors, and building owners. As technical director for Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), he oversees the SPFA’s Building Envelope, Roofing and Safety Committees, which develop technical documents for the SPF industry. His role as technical consultant for the Spray Foam Coalition includes advising their Research and Codes and Standards workgroups, and managing a portfolio of research projects. He holds a Ph.D. in engineering science and mechanics from the Pennsylvania State University, MSME from Bucknell University, and a BSME from the University of Maryland. Rick is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania and is a certified BPI building analyst.

Photo of Bart Laemmel.

Bart Laemmel

Bart has been in the construction industry for 24 years, working on crews from excavation to finish carpentry. He has been performing accidental building science research with B2 Building Science and Bulldog Remodeling for the past 17 years. Bart’s specialty lies in the inspection and repair of broken buildings in all climates, but his heart belongs to the Colorado Rockies. He believes in the conveying of information through emotion and humor.




Elementary School

Marcus Bianchi, PE

Marcus is senior building science program lead with Owens Corning, where he performs building science research. Prior to it he was a senior research engineer at NREL where he conducted research on deep energy retrofits of existing houses. Marcus has worked on energy efficiency for more than 20 years. His research experience includes topics related to thermal sciences, such as building envelope thermal management, fault detection, and diagnostics of HVAC equipment, materials processing, and bioengineering. Marcus received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (heat transfer) from Purdue University and is a licensed professional engineer in Colorado.



Photo of Jim Bradburn.

Jim Bradburn

Jim has had more than 20 years of experience focused on the design of high-performance buildings through integrated, climate-adaptive, and energy-efficient design solutions. In addition to design experience, his resume includes time at NREL providing energy modeling services and analysis of renewable energy systems, and several years at a national general contractor where he led their efforts promoting and implementing low-energy design on projects. Jim is currently a member of several ASHRAE committees including GPC 36P, “High Performance Sequences of Operation for HVAC Systems” and has served on the board of directors for both the Colorado and Minnesota USGBC chapters.

Photo of Tom Hootman.

Tom Hootman, AIA

Tom, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, WELL Faculty, is an architect, engineer and author. As MKK’s Performance + Design Innovation Lead, he works at the visionary intersection of architecture and engineering and leads MKK’s new Innovation Lab. Tom is a pioneer in net zero energy design and has worked on many notable projects including the Research Support Facility at NREL. He also recently published “Net Zero Energy Design,” a leading design reference on the topic.



Photo of Anica Landreneau.

Anica Landreneau, Associate AIA

Based in Washington, D.C., Anica leads the sustainable discipline and consultancy practice at HOK. She is a member of the firm’s board of directors and design board. Anica works to make Washington, D.C., one of the world’s greenest cities by supporting the district in green building policy development and implementation. Anica currently serves on the LEED Advisory Committee and the AIA National Codes and Standards Committee. She also has been appointed to the 2019 International Codes Council Group B Commercial Energy Code Development Committee, which updates codes used internationally.



Photo of Peter Turnbull.

Peter Turnbull

Peter works as a principal at PG&E and has 37 years of experience promoting energy efficiency. Since 2010, he has led PG&E’s Zero Net Energy program efforts providing technical support, research, training, and performance documentation in support of the state of California’s Zero Net Energy policy goals. Peter holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Montana State University.