Marc Schiler receives 2015 Passive Solar Pioneer Award

School News

Marc Schiler receives 2015 Passive Solar Pioneer Award

September 15, 2015

Professor Marc Schiler, FASES was recently awarded the 2015 Passive Solar Pioneer Award by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). The award recognizes those in the passive field whose original work has laid a groundbreaking foundation for researchers to follow.


Schiler was honored at the Solar 2015 Awards Banquet on July 28, 2015 at Pennsylvania State University. ASES noted “his early application of passive solar principles addressing the effects of landscaping, internal and external glare to the design of modern buildings.” Schiler also gave an invited presentation titled “Architecture and Environment: 40 years of climate responsive design, passive solar Architecture, and zero net energy,” which showed the progress over the last 40 years and featured the work of many ASES and Society of Building Science Educators members. 


Schiler is the second professor at USC to receive this award. Professor Ralph Knowles was honored in 2003. In addition, Passive Solar Pioneer and UCLA Professor Emeritus Murray Milne also teaches at USC in the Master of Building Science program.


“To be listed among the winners of the Solar Pioneer Award is a great honor and a somewhat humbling experience,” said Schiler. “I look at the ground we covered and am gratified. I look at what we have yet to do and am excited.”


Professor Schiler began his career conducting computer simulations of the impact of landscape design on building energy usage. Faced with the question of how to calculate the impact of a tree, he answered the question by photographing trees, using image processing to determine their densities, and writing software to calculate solar gain. His interest in this type of problem solving led to sharing these strategies and tools through teaching, which in turn led to teaching students about how to do research. Schiler’s own research interests moved toward daylight harvesting and then towards issues of glare and heat and their impact on the surrounding environment. The best-known example is his work on the Walt Disney Concert Hall, rectifying the glare issues without impacting the building aesthetically.


Schiler has published over 100 papers and six books and lectured worldwide. He has consulted on over 30 buildings and taught over 3,000 students about climate-responsive architecture, environmental controls, and minimizing carbon footprint. He has served as the director of the Building Science program and the vice dean at the USC School of Architecture. Of all of his accomplishments, Schiler thinks his work with students will have the greatest, most enduring impact. It’s also the part he likes best.