Casey Castor ’19 is on mission to harvest sustainable energy with a unique leaf-like wind module for the ‘skin’ of buildings, and will launch a pilot program with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Casey Castor, USC School of Architecture’s Master of Building Science alumnus, is on a mission to harvest sustainable energy from wind.

He first developed a passion for environmental design while taking relevant courses during his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“I grew up in Wisconsin and decided to attend architectural design school at UW-Milwaukee where I found a love of design and the built environment,” said Castor. “I felt as though I had found my calling due to my love of the natural world and conservation.”

During his senior year in undergrad, Casey took an intelligent façades studio and started to think about the ‘skin’ of buildings. This sparked an idea for a unique leaf-like wind module for the exterior façade of buildings.

Leaf Module Panel Systems

“The skin of a building is its only connection to the natural environment,” said Castor. “I began to focus on how we could harness the energy that the wind, sun and rain provide, and eventually I developed an early concept design for what is now known as the Leaf Module Panel Systems.”

Casey’s first iterations of the Leaf Module Panel Systems were leaf-like metal geometries protruding from buildings that would flap from the wind and collect water that expelled from one leaf to the next to generate energy back into the building.

After obtaining his B.Arch and working full-time as an architectural designer, Casey applied for USC Architecture’s MBS program with the intent to make his wind energy concept his thesis.

While enrolled in the MBS program from 2017 to 2019, Casey worked nearly full-time at Pasadena design firm GGA+. During his thesis, Casey explored many thoughts and concepts on the leaf-like energy harvesting system leading to a design that ultimately did not work in its very nascent stage.

Since then, Casey has continued to work with GGA+. First, in a specialty role he developed - Building Science Analyst - where he performed daylight, water, carbon and energy analysis on buildings and supported green building certifications. Then as Director of Sustainability, he focused on infusing innovation into public sector projects like affordable housing, K12 schools and civic projects.

Pilot program with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

To continue his development of the Leaf Module Panel Systems, Casey founded Mack Research and was accepted into a rigorous 2-year incubation program with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).

LACI provides investment opportunities, business support services with consultants and $50,000 in funding for Mack Research to perform a physical pilot project of his wind technology in Los Angeles, which will take place this summer.

Additionally, Casey has received a $250,000 Department of Energy grant to build a physics-based digital model of the system to give him insights on how to further refine the concept to a scientifically proven design.

“The pilot program in Los Angeles this summer will be a great opportunity for USC Architecture students to see how the system works and to learn more about energy generation beyond solar panels,” stated Castor.

“I am passionate about bringing this wind technology to commercialization and will continue to leverage all I have learned from my time at the USC School of Architecture to help this come to fruition and to continue to innovate in the built environment.”

To learn more, visit mack-research.com.

 Related Links: Master of Building Science


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