Transforming to Zero Carbon: Building Science Workforce Development Designed for Today’s Viewers

Regularly designing zero energy/carbon buildings requires an educated and motivated workforce. Collegiate competitions like the Solar Decathlon are a proven tool to develop this workforce and provide an engaging environment that kick-starts professional learning and success. The observation of trends over 20+ years of the Solar Decathlon program has revealed a knowledge deficit on the basics of how buildings work and the vocabulary that is used; to address this deficit, the Solar Decathlon Building Science Education series was developed. The series is made up of short educational episodes, each focused on a specific topic area that is directly relevant and linked to success in designing a zero energy/carbon building. The content conveyed in these episodes is further solidified through knowledge comprehension quizzes. The course builds a knowledge base rooted in fundamentals that progresses to detailed building science instruction covering topics like building envelopes, HVAC, lighting, plug and process loads, and more. By condensing the delivery of educational content into brief, targeted segments, this training is accessible and approachable for a broad audience, benefiting learners from all levels of experience, education, and backgrounds, including collegiate students and professionals alike. The course is currently being utilized by thousands of students annually as part of the Solar Decathlon collegiate competitions, as well as practicing professionals as part of the Solar Decathlon Professionals program (SD Pro). Looking towards the future, the series can help level the playing field of building science education and provide equitable learning opportunities to better serve a diverse workforce. This presentation will explore how the Solar Decathlon Building Science Education series transforms the buildings industry by developing the current and future workforce, complementing the collegiate competition environment, and maximizing the access to quality educational content for all learners.

Session presentation
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
7 September 2023
Georgetown East


Holly Jamesen Carr
Building Technologies Office, US Department of Energy