Steven J. Strong

Steven J. Strong is President of Solar Design Associates, Inc., an interdisciplinary firm of professionals dedicated to the design, engineering and implementation of renewable energy for residential, commercial, institutional and utility clients.

He founded the firm in 1974 after serving as an energy-systems engineering consultant on the Alaskan pipeline where he became convinced there were easier, less-costly, more environmentally desirable ways to provide comfort and convenience to the consumer than "going to the ends of the earth to extract the last drop of fossil fuel". 

Drawing on his background in engineering and architecture, he has earned the firm an international reputation for the pioneering integration of renewable energy systems with environmentally responsive building design - completing projects in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Canada, the Caribbean and across the US from Maine to Hawaii.

Over the last four decades, he has designed dozens of homes and buildings powered by solar electricity.    In 1979, he designed the world’s first all-solar, Zero-Net-Energy residence that exported a surplus of solar electricity to the utility grid via what has since become known as ‘Net Metering”. In 1984, working with New England Electric, he completed the world’s first PV-powered neighborhood in central Massachusetts.  In 1996, he worked with Olympic village architects to power the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta with solar electricity using the world’s largest roof-top PV power system.  His firm consults to private and public clients and architects in the design of solar-powered buildings as well as to utilities on large-scale solar implementation.

He represented the US on the International Energy Agency’s expert working group on Solar Electricity in the Built Environment for 8 years and has served as an advisor on energy and environmental issues to 3 Governors, 8 US Senators and 4 presidential candidates as well as a number of US Congressmen, State Senators and Representatives and electric utilities.

He is the author of The Solar Electric House and Solar Electric Buildings, an Overview of Today’s Applications and the editor and contributing author of Photovoltaics in the Built Environment, a Design Guide for Architects and Engineers as well as contributing author to Photovoltaics in Buildings,  Building with Photovoltaics and, Green Design - From Theory to Practice with Architect Ken Yang.

Articles about him and his work have appeared in some 100 publications including TIME, Solar Age, Solar Today, Architecture, Architectural Record, Environmental Design and Construction, World Architecture, Popular Science, Spectrum, Wired, Forbes, New Age, Fortune, Business Week, the New York Times, the Washington Post and and on television and in energy and environmental documentaries. 

Steven received the first ‘Inherit the Earth Award’ from Connecticut College in 1993 for his ‘Pioneering work in furthering sustainable energy’.  In the spring of 1999, TIME magazine named him an ‘Environmental Hero of the Planet’.  In 2001, the American Solar Energy Society honored him with its Charles Greeley Abbot award - for lifetime achievement in advancing solar energy.  In 2003, the Audubon Society named him its ‘Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year’.  In 2007, TIME again recognized Steven as “An Innovator Building a Greener World” in their special publication on responses to Climate Change.

Steven designed and oversaw the installation of three solar energy systems at the White House in Washington, DC.  He’s completed the design and oversaw the construction of a new ‘solar skin’ for the US Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and is currently working on powering our US Embassies with solar energy around the world.  He was responsible for the solar energy system to power the world’s first energy-positive, multi-story office building – The Bullitt Center in Seattle.

His firm is powered by solar electricity and his home employs passive and active solar systems for heating and domestic hot water as well as photovoltaics and is energy positive – including solar-powered transportation with an EV and an electric motorcycle.


He has lectured and/or taught at the following colleges and universities:

Tufts University (4), Duke, North Carolina State University, Arizona State University (3), Cornell (2), MIT (6), the Boston Architectural College (faculty), Cooper Union, City University of New York (4), State University of New York - Buffalo, Northeastern University, University of Oregon (4), the New School of Architecture (San Diego), University of California - Santa Barbara, Oberlin College (2), University of Vermont, Boston University (4), Rutgers University, University of Aachen (Germany), University of Toronto (4), University of Waterloo (3), Queens University (Ontario) (2),  University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture - Spring Green & Scottsdale, University of Wisconsin – Madison (3), Carnegie Mellon University, University of California - Berkeley,  Georgia Institute of Technology (3), Worcester Polytechnic, Pace University,  Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne), University of Florida – Gainesville, the Cooper Union, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arch), University of California – LA, University of Massachusetts (6), College of the Atlantic, Conway School of Landscape Architecture (12). Marlboro College, University of Colorado – Boulder, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Babson College, Brandeis University, Olin College of Engineering, New Mexico State University – Las Cruses, Lane Community College - (OR) (2), Princeton University, Connecticut College, Montana State University – Bozeman, University of Maryland, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, University of Hawaii (2), Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Northern Arizona University, Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design (2), Pennsylvania State University, Green Mountain College (3), Roger Williams University, Endicott College, Cape Cod Community College, Bentley College, Furman University, Harvard (5), Yale (4), Oxford University (2), Murdoch University (Perth, Western Australia) and, University of Southern California.                *(4) denotes multiple appearances    

 Mr. Strong’s lectures and workshops have been approved by the American Institute of Architects for professional continuing education credits in the Health, Safety and Welfare area.


Solar Design Associates, Inc. • Harvard, MA  01451-0242 • (978) 456-6855 •