Dr. Karma Sawyer

Program Manager of Emerging Technologies

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Dr. Karma Sawyer is the program manager for the Emerging Technologies (ET) program with the Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO). Dr. Sawyer oversees a diverse portfolio of research and development (R&D) 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 heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), windows and envelope, sensors and controls, solid-state lighting, transactive controls and building energy modeling.

Dr. Sawyer originally joined DOE in 2010 as an ARPA-E fellow, where she performed technical, environmental, and economic assessment of CO2 capture, utilization, and sequestration, methods for direct natural gas to liquids conversion and thermal storage. She later took over as an assistant program director, responsible for ARPA-E’s capture portfolio. She joined the Emerging Technologies team in BTO in 2013 as the technology manager for the Windows and Envelope subprogram and later took on an additional role as the Technology Analysis and Commercialization manager for ET. Within BTO, Dr. Sawyer was responsible for BTO’s Technology-to-Market Initiative, Small-Business Vouchers Program, and U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Building Energy Efficiency and the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) joint R&D program with India. Prior to joining DOE, Dr. Sawyer worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied phonon localization in silicon nanowires for thermoelectric applications and direct air CO2 capture as a member of the editorial committee for a technology assessment for the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs. In addition to energy-efficient building technologies, Dr. Sawyer is interested in gas separation materials and processes for energy applications and thermochemical and thermophysical energy storage.

Dr. Sawyer was named a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow at ARPA-E (2010) and a fellow at the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund Summer School as part of the "Probing Dynamics of Liquids and Biomolecules" program (2006). She has authored 10 publications and 15 conference proceedings in the areas of energy, physical chemistry, and materials science. She received a B.S. with honors in chemistry from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2008, focusing on spin-crossover dynamics and homogeneous catalysis reactions using ultrafast infrared spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) calculations.

Most Recent

A Look Back at 2017: Highlights from the Emerging Technologies Program
January 10, 2018
We live in an exciting time for energy efficiency and for technological innovation.
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What to Expect When BTO Heads to Energy Exchange 2017!
August 10, 2017
The Energy Department’s Energy Exchange is just around the corner!
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Architect Magazine Celebrates AMIE in 2017 R+D Awards
July 31, 2017
Architect Magazine, the journal of the American Institute of Architects, recently awarded a 2017 R+D Award to AMIE, or the Additive Manufacturing
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Systems Efficiency Gains Steam
May 11, 2017

In the building efficiency world, we do hold a deep appreciation and growing interest in how the many complex interactions of individual...

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Connected Thermostats Offer Gateway for Increasing Energy Savings
December 21, 2016
Connected thermostats allow people to remotely monitor and control their home’s heating and cooling equipment, changing how many Americans manage thei
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Energy Department Launches Crowdsourcing Community to Bring More Innovators into the Mix
June 17, 2016

The Energy Department is piloting a new crowdsourcing community where any American citizen can submit their innovative ideas for improving building...

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What Makes AMIE, the 3D printed home and vehicle, unique?
February 22, 2016

AMIE, or the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy project, is one of the world’s first 3D printed houses. But it’s not just a house. It’s also...

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Building Technologies Office Challenges National Labs to Rethink Market Engagement Strategy
December 10, 2015
The Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is taking steps to prevent technologies developed in a laboratory from failing to succ...
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New Rating System for Enhancing Window Energy Performance
May 18, 2015

Window attachments, such as awnings, shutters, drapes, and solar shades, are often used for cosmetic purposes and to help control the amount of...

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