Rob Hammon, Ph.D.

Rob Hammon, Ph.D.Dr. Rob Hammon has forty years of experience in residential energy and sustainable community development. Dr. Hammon has directed research, development, demonstration and evaluation projects supported by governments, utilities and industry at the local, state, and federal levels. Projects led by Hammon encompass a broad range of RDD&D efforts in both new and existing buildings, at the buildings and communities levels. These efforts include evaluation of new and emerging technologies, developing, demonstrating and evaluating practical designs for zero net-energy (ZNE) and “plus energy” buildings, both new and retrofit; integrating efficiency and renewable technologies and designs; market analyses; carbon and other greenhouse gas assessments; design and implementation of energy-efficiency programs; development, implementation and interpretation of regulations; and development and implementation of training programs.

Dr. Hammon pioneered quality construction and “Zero Energy Homes” as market drivers for energy efficiency, especially via voluntary programs. He developed builder protocols for energy-efficient quality construction as well as for installation and commissioning of residential photovoltaic systems. In 2001, in a national search, Hammon’s team was one of four nationally to be selected and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to do ground-breaking R&D under DOE’s new Zero Energy Homes program. This project was a catalyst for Hammon’s long-term efforts to integrate energy-efficiency and local renewable energy in zero net-energy buildings. In 2002 Hammon secured additional funding from the U.S. DOE to lead his newly-formed consortium (the Building Industry Research Alliance, “BIRA”) to work cooperatively with residential builders researching methods to help them design, construct, and evaluate marketable prototype homes and communities that would meet DOE’s goal of reducing energy use by 40% through incorporation of energy efficiency. Hammon’s goals were to push net savings of grid-energy used by homes and/or communities past the DOE goal of 40% to 100% or more by integrating roof-top solar after the efficiency improvements, a practice not sanctioned by the Building America Program at that time. Hammon’s approach of pairing efficiency with solar proved effective in the market and after a few years, with continued success and pressure from Hammon, the DOE Building America Program embraced solar and adopted the zero-energy home concept and goal.

While researching practical approaches to net-zero energy in the production-builder new-home market, Hammon envisioned how to apply volume-market methods and practices to the existing-home retrofit-market, a market historically difficult to penetrate. His approach broke with the basic tenant of those in that market that is inherently self-limiting; i.e., that all existing homes are unique, necessitating that efficiency retrofits must be determined one home at a time, With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via both Building America and the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, BIRA, under Hammon’s leadership developed and ran a very successful pilot using the Neighborhood Approach, and achieved a market uptake of efficiency retrofits eight times that of the one-home-at-a-time approach. That success has proved bittersweet in that retrofit contractors continue to almost universally espouse the one-home-at-a-time approach as the correct and only viable method for efficiency retrofits.

Dr. Hammon has positioned BIRAenergy at the forefront of zero net-energy RDD&D programs. Current BIRAenergy research projects range from developing new approaches to Low-Income multifamily retrofits in which tenants and property owners share the benefits of Very Efficient Retrofits, to evaluating problems that high market penetration of ZNE buildings can have on the grid and developing net beneficial solutions, to assessing the role and optimal placement of electricity-storage (currently batteries) in ZNE homes and/or in the utilities’ distribution-system nodes. Hammon has an extensive background working and partnering with all segments of the building industry, utilities, various government entities, including numerous state and local governments and agencies, National Laboratories, U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Office of Technology, U.S. Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and state and local governments.

In 2005 Hammon was named to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Energy Efficiency Subcommittee Green Action Team. In early 2006 he was tapped by the Chair of the California Energy Commission to co-chair the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) Advisory Committee expressly established to design and guide implementation of the multi- year, multi-billion dollar incentive program to drive the then nascent new-home PV market. Hammon, with his history of integrating technologies, used a similar strategy to develop this PV-incentive program. He engaged the electric utilities and coupled the PV-incentives to the utility efficiency-program incentives, and incorporated an innovative “kicker” incentive to entice builders to stretch the efficiency of their homes to achieve the highest efficiency ratings. Thus, the NSHP and utility programs were effectively integrated to drive the industry to first make their homes highly energy efficient, then put PVs on the roofs. The program was very effective in driving both markets.

In 2008 Hammon was recruited by the California Public Utilities Commission to lead the Residential Team in development of the first California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, including the development and inclusion of the “Big Bold Goal” for all new homes to be zero net-energy by 2020. Over the past several years, he has been actively working with the CPUC in developing and now implementing the action plan for the state’s Strategic Plan. Hammon has or currently serves on several advisory boards, including for the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, UC Davis California Integrated Renewable Energy Systems, and the California Sustainability Alliance.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis; Physiology (Neurophysiology), 1977
  • Masters of Science, University of California, Davis; Physiology (Neurophysiology), 1974
  • Bachelor of Science, University of California, Berkeley; Physiology and Anatomy, 1972
  • California Building Codes Institute (CBCI) and California Association of Building Energy
  • Consultants (CABEC) certification, Nonresidential Building Energy Analyses
  • California Energy Commission (CEC) Energy Auditor

Professional Experience

President, BIRAenergy 2012-Present

BIRAenergy was formed by Dr. Hammon in 2012 to lead the residential market in the integration of design, best-practices, efficiency, renewables, storage, and smart energy-systems, in homes and communities, and via smart policies, to reduce energy consumption and emissions, thereby helping to reverse climate change, while improving business practices and resulting profits. Teaming with other entities with complementary expertise is core to BIRAenergy’s business approach to achieving sustainable policies and communities. Inherent to these efforts is working with all levels of governments, utilities, developers, builders, contractors, and manufacturers on practical approaches to implement sustainable, zero net-energy (ZNE) communities, including both new and existing (retrofit) homes and buildings. Recent efforts include developing city’s policies and programs to promote ZNE communities, market analyses, integration of ZNE communities into the existing power grids, envisioning future energy generation, storage and distribution methods and practices to ensure a healthy planet with energy surety. Tasks in on-going and/or recent projects include:

  • Determine and evaluate different packages of efficiency features to determine cost-effective means to approach zero net energy in low-income multifamily buildings
  • Measure and evaluate the impacts of high market penetration of PVs and zero net energy buildings on the Grid;
  • Find methods to eliminate split incentives as a barrier to efficiency retrofits in low-income multifamily retrofits;
  • Evaluate existing and potential improvements in building technologies, designs, and building practices, to result in substantially more efficient new and existing homes;
  • Demonstrate and evaluate integration of efficiency, rooftop and/or community PV, and intelligent storage for energy-efficient and ZNE retrofits that can be optimized for the grid
  • Research possible market-trigger mechanisms for energy-efficiency retrofits, including solar retrofits, re-roofing, and remodels;
  • Evaluate and Demonstrate Residential program design approaches that could produce mass-market retrofits as an integral part of local-government climate-action and/or energy-surety plans;
  • Evaluate and recommend changes in business models and improvements in existing financing vehicles for efficiency and renewable energy retrofits across markets: from existing low-income multifamily projects to new communities;
  • Develop methods to mitigate distribution-system problems that can result from wide-spread adoption of efficient homes with local generation;
  • Identify and remove barriers to integration of renewable and clean energy in new and existing communities;
  • Continue to refine, demonstrate and evaluate marketable designs for zero-net energy new homes, retrofits, and communities;
  • Develop new volume-market (“neighborhood” and “community”) approaches to residential energy efficiency retrofits to increase market absorption and decrease costs;
  • Advise and assist cities to reach their emissions reductions in their Climate Action Plans by assisting them with renewable resource plans, zero- and plus-energy developments and existing home retrofits;
  • Evaluate methods and technologies to encourage and assist home occupants to reduce miscellaneous electricity use;
  • Continue to assist and advise in the refinement and implementation of California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.

Principal, ConSol 1990 to 2012

Led the Consulting Department in establishing and performing projects that could move residential markets toward sustainability. Projects were funded by builders, developers, manufacturers, and government entities, and included market analyses, integration of energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies in homes, energy savings assessments, interpretation of regulations, and training for utilities and industry. Example projects include:

  • Design and demonstrate marketable homes 40% - 100% more efficient (whole-house) than typical new homes, and to work with state and local governments, and utilities to develop methods to produce a market for Building America Program communities (U.S. DOE)
  • Zero net-energy retrofit of historic Eisenhower Home on marine base, O’ahu Hawai’i (U.S. DOE)
  • Design and construction of single family and multifamily Zero net-energy single-family and multifamily dwellings on marine base, O’ahu Hawai’i; (U.S. DOE)
  • Lead development of new volume-market (“neighborhood” and “community”) approaches to residential energy efficiency retrofits to increase market absorption and decrease costs (U.S. DOE)
  • Lead Residential team in development of California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (California Public Utilities Commission)
  • Develop sustainable designs and business models for Zero Energy New Homes Program communities that have no more than 1kW demand during the summer peak-electricity period for CEC Public Interest Energy Research (CEC PIER)
  • Design and demonstrate marketable communities of homes for Zero Energy Homes Program that produce as much energy as they consume (U.S. DOE)
  • Develop and implement innovative Building Energy Code Training Program to increase code compliance in CA & NV; commended by DOE as their most cost-effective energy efficiency program (U.S. DOE, PG&E, SCE, SDGE)
  • Produce Residential HVAC Design Guide, including research results supporting air flow patterns and comfort consequences of different duct designs and materials (CEC PIER)
  • Develop installation procedures for HVAC, insulation, air sealing, windows, and framing for energy-efficient residential envelopes for California Institute for Energy Efficiency
  • Produce Residential Manual explaining the Model Energy Code for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Design, develop, and implement Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) California Comfort Home Demand Side Management (DSM) and High Performance Duct Programs
  • PG&E Residential New Construction work papers for 1993-1995 General Rate Case

Research Director, Building Industry Institute 1999 to 2009

Directing research for the non-profit Building Industry Institute. Example projects include:

  • Develop Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) as third party program for PG&E
  • Develop Local Government Initiative, including CEEP, for Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • Direct Comfort, Quality, and Energy Efficiency PIER project for CEC
  • Create builder training program for public private partnership of CEC and Building Industry Institute (BII)

Founder and President, Hammon Consulting 1982 to 1989

Computer consulting with emphasis on energy related software. Relevant projects include:

  • First software in California to automate Residential Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24)
  • Comprehensive model of residential water heating energy use
  • Member of Governor's Select Committee on 21st-Century Schools

Executive Vice President, International Bioaccess Systems Corporation 1986 to 1987

  • Responsible for development and demonstration of biometric products.

Senior Research Scientist, SRI International 1977 to 1987

  • Responsible for development, performance, and management of research projects in multi-disciplinary fields. Project clients included NIH, DoD, and private industry.

Research Biologist, University of California, Davis 1973 to 1977

Research Assistant, University of California, Berkeley 1970 to 1972


Patents and Publications


"Method and Apparatus for Verifying an Individual's Identity"

"Method and Apparatus for Analysis and Verification of Writing in 5-Axes"

Publications available upon request


Synergistic Activities

  • Hanley Award Nominee and Finalist for Vision & Leadership in Sustainable Housing (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Co-Chair CEC New Solar Homes Partnership Advisory Committee, 2006 - present
  • Advisory Board, California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC); UC Davis Energy Center (2004 – present)
  • Advisory Board, California Integrated Renewable Energy Systems (Cal-IRES), UC Davis Energy Center (2011 - Present)
  • Advisory Board and Steering Committee, California Sustainability Alliance (2007 – Present)
  • Member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Green Action Team: Energy Efficiency Subcommittee, 2005
  • Lead Energy Consultant: First Zero Energy Showcase Home at NAHB International Builders Show. Pardee Homes: “Ultimate Family Home,” Las Vegas NV, 2004
  • Lead Energy Consultant: First Zero Energy Home on ABC “Extreme Home Makeover” TV Show. Pardee Homes, Santa Fe Springs, CA, 2005
  • Member of U.S. DOE Task Force: Buildings for the 21st Century
  • Judge: California State Science Fair, 1999, 2000
  • Southern Nevada Home Builders Association Associate of the Year award, 1997
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Ally of the Year award for Outstanding Technical Assistance, 1997
  • Juror: Leading Edge Student Design Competition, 1996 and 1997
  • Member of U.S. DOE Task Force: Buildings for the 21st Century (1997)
  • PG&E Energy Efficiency Services Excellence Award 1991
  • Member of Governor's Select Committee on 21st-Century Schools (1990)
  • Member of U.S. Office of Technology panel on Computer Security and Individual Privacy (1988)