Engaging Building Professionals in the Decarbonization Revolution
Session Recap: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon aims to educate students and the public about the latest technologies and materials in zero energy design and technologies, smart home solutions, and high-performance buildings. USGBC’s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. Together, the two have an extraordinary opportunity to transform the building industry.

The Solar Decathlon program partnered with USGBC to develop the Solar Decathlon Professionals Program or SD Pro. Targeted at early to mid-career design professionals in residential and commercial building design, the program allows architects, engineers, and more to enhance their building science expertise while gaining practical experience in designing and championing zero energy and zero carbon projects.

Speakers Holly Carr, Solar Decathlon Director for the U.S. Department of Energy, Kay Kane, Director of Educational Development for USGBC, and Chris Reinhart, Sustainability Architect for Guidon Design, discussed the cohort-based learning program that emphasizes the practical application of zero-energy design theory, as well as sharing how to implement zero energy design in existing practices.

The first part of the program looks at the Building Science Education Series, which covers the following: 
  • The science of building energy use
  • How to define zero-energy buildings
  • How to apply the fundamental physics-based principles to design comfortable, energy-efficient buildings

The series carefully layers short modular videos focused on building a solid foundational knowledge of building science, starting with broad fundamentals with 10 weeks of live sessions, online videos, quizzes, and personal project exploration. Faculty can also learn how to incorporate teaching the net zero building sciences in their curriculum.

Discussion, collaboration, and relationship building offer authentic learning with a community of architecture and design professionals participating in the program, offering guidance with resources including Zero Tool, ASHRAE (design guidance), S.D. Pro Spreadsheet (simplified modeling) and more. The application of material leads to the ability to articulate and implement the “how” of zero energy design in architectural practice.

The Solar Decathlon program is supporting current and future generations of new green building professionals to support decarbonization efforts through net zero buildings.

To learn more about the Solar Decathlon and sign up, visit solardecathlon.gov for more information.
Sign Up Now for On-Demand Access

Greenbuild 2023 may be over, but you can still experience the ideas, learning, and inspiration while earning CEUs with the Streamly Knowledge Library. For $299, you’ll access over 100 session recordings, featuring critical topics, including decarbonization, LEED submittals, the road to net zero, and more through October 2024.