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Where can you find some of the country’s top building experts to contribute as jurors to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon? Look no further than the Building Technologies Office (BTO).

Solar Decathlon logo.

Three experts across different areas of building energy efficiency will participate as jurors in Solar Decathlon 2017, utilizing their experiences working at BTO to evaluate the projects built by the next generation of building experts.

The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition of 10 contests that challenge student teams to design and build full-size, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. The winning team most successfully blends design excellence, smart energy strategies, innovation, and market potential. Free to visitors, October 5-9 and 12-15, 2017, at the 61st & Peña commuter rail station near Denver, Colorado’s International Airport, the event features a sustainability expo and professional, consumer, and middle school education events.

These are the three building experts from BTO that will be evaluating the student contests:

Dr. Karma Sawyer, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office

Dr. Karma Sawyer is the program manager for the Emerging Technologies program with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office. Dr. Sawyer oversees a diverse portfolio of research and development program areas, with the goal of developing cost-effective, energy-efficient, high-impact building technologies. Dr. Sawyer’s dynamic team supports the development of innovative solutions and technologies with partners across academia, national labs, small businesses, and industry in HVAC, windows and envelope, sensors and controls, solid-state lighting, transactive controls, and building energy modeling.

Dr. Sawyer is a juror for the Innovation Contest: New for 2017, a jury evaluates each team’s research, approach to sustainability, innovations for the target client, and durability and safety of innovative elements, while also evaluating whether the price is right for the target client.

Amy Jiron, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office

Amy Jiron manages the High Impact Technology Catalyst program with the Commercial Buildings Integration team at BTO. The catalyst program weighs changing market conditions against technological innovation to map out a cohesive step-by-step market stimulation strategy that enables DOE to leverage work by others, access key partnerships, and answer critical scientific and market-related requirements.

Ms. Jiron is a juror for the Market Potential Contest: Teams design a primary residence for year-round occupancy for a specific-target client. A jury evaluates the overall attractiveness of each team’s design to its selected target client and the market impact potential of the house.

Antonio Bouza, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Office

Antonio Bouza is a technology manager with the BTO. He is the emerging technology lead on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC); Water Heating, and Appliances research. His research portfolio focuses on the introduction of new advanced heat-pumping technologies for HVAC and water heating (including non-vapor compression technologies), heat exchanger research, and advanced appliances (e.g., refrigerators, clothes dryers, radon fans).

Mr. Bouza is a juror for the Engineering Contest: A jury evaluates the engineering design and implementation of each team’s house based on the engineering approach, design, efficiency, and performance.

If you will be at the Solar Decathlon this year, don’t miss the workshop “Home is Where the Comfort Is” hosted by BTO experts, that will provide a comprehensive overview of how homes use energy and what homeowners can do to reduce home energy use while also improving home comfort and health and reducing energy bills. Take a look at all of the consumer and homeowner workshops that will be hosted at Solar Decathlon this year to see what else you can attend.

Rendering of the Las Vegas team's house for Solar Decathlon 2017.
Solar Decathlon 2017 Las Vegas Team House Rendering. Courtesy of the Las Vegas Team.