AzSEC 2024 | Building the Future of Energy

13th Annual Arizona Student Energy Conference

Thursday, April 4 - Friday, April 5, 2024

Graduate students and post-docs from University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University meet each year with the state's leading renewable energy experts and researchers for the Arizona Student Energy Conference (AzSEC), an annual symposium focusing on developments and exploration in the fields of renewable energy science, technology, and policy at the energy-water-food nexus.

This year's conference will address the potential of buildings to respond to the challenges and opportunities of renewable energy.


This event will be held at the University of Arizona's Environmental and Natural Resources 2 Building (ENR2), located at 1064 E Lowell St, Tucson, AZ 85719. Registration deadline is March 20th.


March 13th is the deadline to register.





Thursday, April 4, 2024

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Continental Breakfast and Registration

9:00 am - 9:15 am - Welcome Remarks

9:15 am - 10:15 am - Tour of ENR2 building
Charles Lynn, Staff Engineer, Sr., Planning Design & Construction, University of Arizona

10:15 am - 11:30 am  - Energy Interactive Exercise  
Jonathan Bean, Associate Professor of Sustainable Built Environments, Architecture, and Marketing facilitates an interactive and team-building exercise to understand the electric grid.

11:30 am - 11:50 am - Introduction to the RENEW Challenge
Gabriel A. Montano, Professor & Chief Diversity Fellow of Applied Physics & Materials Science, Northern Arizona University

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm - Luncheon Presentation
Rustyn Sherer, Sr. Key Account Manager, Tucson Electric Power 

12:30 pm - 1:15 pm - Renewable Energy and the Grid
Lisa White, Phius
Renewable energy and the grid. The US electrical grid — which has been described as the largest machine the world — is challenged by wind and solar energy, which are fundamentally different than "always on" coal or nuclear power plants. Participants will learn about how renewable energy is reshaping the grid and how utilities generate, transmit, and store energy.

1:15 pm - 2:00 pm - Introducing the Sonora Energy Plan
Rafael Cabanillas, State of Sonora, Mexico

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Q&A
Facilitated by Patrick Bunn, Lead, UA Power Forecasting Group & Research Scientist, Department of Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences 

2:30 pm - 3:15 - Case Studies and Applications
Brett Isaac, PBC, Chief Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Navajo Power

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm - Break

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Industry Panel on Microgrid and Storage Applications
Andrea Mammoli, Sandia Laboratory - Hawaii resilience hub 
Geoff Farrell, Sonnen Batterie - Combined storage & demand management

4:45 pm - 5:30 pm - Fast pitches for poster session

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Poster session

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm - Dinner 

Friday, April 5, 2024

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Continental Breakfast and Registration

9:00 am - 9:15 am - RENEW presentations

9:15 am - 9:45 am - Net Zero Vertiports
Stefan Goebel, Co-Founder of Build Zero Consulting

9:45 am - 10:40 am - Virtural Tour of Research Support Facility and Trends in Building Energy
Shanti Pless, Senior Commercial Building Energy Researcher, NREL

10:45 am - 11:00 am - Break

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - RENEW presentations

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Industry Panel over Lunch
Ryan Anderson, Tucson Electric Power
Thomas Acker, Salt River Project

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Case Studies & Applications - Solar Decathlon Design Challenge teams
Three building types linked with a microgrid on the Hopi Nation
ATTACHED HOUSING -  Jedidiah Perea, Jordan West, Pablo Cabanillas, Emme Mooday, Olivia Nelson
MULTIFAMILY HOUSING -  Jeannell Hilton, Ashlea Hume, Coleen Husband, Chloe O'Hail, Travis Reiher
EDUCATION BUILDING -  Jelani Hampton, Alexio Mora, Christian MacKay, Nikita Rafikov, Hamad Alajmi, Khaled Alenezi
FACULTY LEAD - David Brubaker
ADVISOR - Laura Carr

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Break + Structured Q&A with Solar Decathlon Students

2:30 pm - 2:45 pm - Presentation of RENEW results

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm - Awards and Closing Remarks

Keynote and Panel Speakers

Lisa White, Associate Director and a technical lead for Phius

Lisa White, Associate Director and a technical lead for Phius. Ms. White has written and co-authored many publications, the most recent being a cover-feature article in the ASHRAE High Performing Buildings magazine.

Lisa White

Lisa White is the Associate Director and a technical lead for Phius (Passive House Institute US). White has been with PHius since 2012. She led the building certification review team for seven years and is a n instructor for Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC®) training and WUFI® Passive energy modeling software training. She holds a degree in Environmental Sustainability with a minor in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Master's in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lisa has written and co-authored many publications, the most recent being cover-featured article in the ASHRAE High Performing Buildings magazine. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences on topics related to grid-friendly buildings, assessing resilience and passive survivability, measured data for high-performance and net zero buildings. 







Shanti Pless, Researcher V, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Energy Interactives

Shanti Pless

Shanti is a senior commercial building energy researcher at NREL. His research focuses on the broad adoption of net-zero energy/carbon design and operational practices through applied research, innovative demonstrations, cleantech Group startup technical guidance, academic engagements, high-impact publications, and informed industry outreach. His active research projects include integrating net-zero carbon strategies into the emerging off-site and affordable housing construction industry. He also focuses on supporting innovative development approaches to zero energy, including district-scale energy planning and how-to resources for emerging developers. He is active in the green building design and construction industry and is a frequent speaker at industry events. He is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Colorado, teaching classes on sustainable construction and real estate.








Dr. Rafael Enrique Cabanillas Lopez

Dr. Rafael Enrique Cabanillas Lopez is a professor of Energy at the Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical Department at the University of Sonora and is the Director General de Energia, Sonora.

Dr. Rafael Enrique Cabanillas Lopez

University Research professor at the University of Sonora, and Technical manager of the Hermosillo Solar Platform. Dr. Lopez develops energy projects in the areas of: Evaluation of Renewable Energy Sources, Solar Concentration, Heat Transfer (radiation convection conduction coupling) and Thermal Evaluations of Construction Materials. He belongs to the National Solar Energy Association (ANES) and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), of which he serves as Secretary of Publications and has been Regional President in Sonora. He is a member of the Mexico Engineering Academy (AI) and the SNI-CONACUT. He teaches and directs master's and doctoral students. He is a member of the Congress Committee of the State of Sonora for the preparation of the law to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. He is a member of the Monitoring Committee of the Renewable Energy Engineering Program of the UNISON and of the Chemical Engineering course of the TSON. Member of the Solar Energy Consultative Group for the Preparation of the Technological Road Map of Solar Energy - SENER. Currently, he occupies the position of Director General of the Secretary of the economy of the State Government.









Stefan Goebel

Stefan Goebel

Co-Founder of Build Zero Consulting, German-native Stefan Goebel, a certified Passive House Consultant since 2017, LEED Green Associate, Building Science Principle, has extensive knowledge in building science and experience in consulting on high performance building projects. Stefan has a bachelor's and master’s degree in engineering from the University of Applied Science in Cologne, Germany and has taught as adjunct lecturer for construction technologies and passive building design at the City College of New York with focus on “Passive House Design and Energy Efficient Glass Technologies. An introduction to Passive House Design and building physics.’’ between 2018 and 2019. He feels strongly about the ever-increasing need for energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings and is working towards furthering the passive house movement in the US in his capacity as Principal of Build Zero Consulting and as Vice President of the Passive House Houston chapter.









Brett Isaac

Brett Isaac

Brett Isaac was born on Diné (Navajo) land, growing up near Kayenta within the Navajo Nation, in an area called Baby Rocks. He is of the Towering House Clan born for the Salt Clan and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.

Brett Isaac's leadership at Navajo Power transcends mere business strategy, making him a true champion for Indigenous communities. He plays a pivotal role in creating pathways for these communities to unlock the potential of their natural resources, thrive through clean energy development, and achieve energy independence. Building off his decade of experience in creating solar and battery storage for underserved homes on the Navajo Nation, Brett is working to scale solar opportunities and create meaningful equity for indigenous communities in large scale utility projects. As a result, Navajo Power has emerged as a formidable force in the renewable energy landscape by driving meaningful change and inspiring others to follow suit.

Brett's commitment to paving the way towards a future that is both sustainable and equitable for Indigenous communities; has earned him recognition as a 2021 Unreasonable Fellow, a member of the 2022 Grist 50, a participant in Apple's Impact Accelerator class for 2022, and in 2023 President Joseph Biden announced the appointment of Brett as a member of the President’s Export Council, to advise the Whitehouse on international trade



Geoff Ferrell

Geoff Ferrell

Geoff leads the sonnen Virtual Power Plant and C&I project team, designed to create and implement revenue-generating virtual power plant projects across the Western Hemisphere. Prior to sonnen, Ferrell championed significant technological innovations in home building and building science, as CTO of Mandalay Homes, playing a central role in contributing to the receipt of the US Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Housing Innovation Award 12 times. His background in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a proven record of excellence in energy management and revolutionary building design, has resulted in ground-breaking energy design around utility rates and VPPs for communities like Mandalay Homes’ Jasper Community in Arizona which includes 2,900 homes over 15-years. He has consulted with NREL, PNNL, City of Fort Collins, DOE, and EPA on clean and efficient energy design projects and is recognized for innovation and leadership in the energy management and home building industries with numerous awards from the DOE, EPA, GreenBuilder and Professional Builder Magazine. 






Andrea Mammoli

Andrea Mammoli

Andrea Mammoli is a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration program at Sandia National Laboratories, where he has worked since 2022. Andrea started his professional career as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory between 1995 and 1997, working on numerical modeling of heterogeneous fluids. He joined the University of New Mexico’s Department of Mechanical Engineering thereafter, where he built a teaching and research program centered around optimization of design and operations of energy systems in buildings and microgrids. At UNM, Andrea was Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies. In 2019, seeking to make a more direct impact to the energy transition, Andrea joined the Electric Power Research Institute, where he led projects revolving around demand flexibility in residential, commercial, and industrial systems. At EPRI, Andrea also worked on development of innovative heat pump concepts involving natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide and ammonia. Andrea obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, in 1991 and 1996 respectively, from the University of Western Australia. He authored over 150 journal and conference papers and edited several books. He works from his home base on the Northern California coast.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Tucson Electric Power

The Nature Conservancy Arizona

Salt River Project

Arizona State University

Northern Arizona University