Mary Ann Piette Named Berkeley Lab’s Associate Director for Energy Technologies

August 4, 2023

Mary Ann Piette, whose research has been foundational to improving energy efficiency of existing buildings and integrating flexible building technologies with the electric grid, has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) of the Energy Technologies Area (ETA). The appointment, which took effect August 2, follows a national search. Piette has served as the interim ALD of ETA since October, 2022. 

Piette takes the lead of an Area that addresses pressing challenges, including developing strategies to fight the climate crisis, fixing our nation’s infrastructure, and addressing inequity through energy justice. ETA is at the forefront of developing better batteries for electric vehicles; improving the country’s aging electrical grid and innovating distributed energy and storage solutions; developing grid-interactive, efficient buildings and industrial systems; and providing the most comprehensive market and data analysis worldwide for renewable technologies like wind and solar.

“Over the course of her four-decade tenure at the Lab, Mary Ann’s development of research programs that lead to cleaner energy systems has been a critical element of Berkeley Lab’s contribution to bringing science solutions to the world. She has also been a strong advocate of our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (IDEA) program,” said Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell. 

“I am excited and honored to serve as the ALD for ETA at Berkeley Lab,” said Piette. “ETA’s research teams are providing an outstanding portfolio of technology research and evaluating pathways to accelerate affordable, reliable, and equitable decarbonization. This work requires a multidisciplinary approach and our teams are making a tremendous impact on both society today and on our future energy systems.”

Piette began her career at Berkeley Lab as a research associate in 1983. Since then, she has taken on roles of increasing responsibility, including as deputy department head, department head, and director of ETA’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Division. 

Piette has authored more than 115 peer reviewed publications related to energy systems, and she recently won a Berkeley Lab Director’s Award for Lifetime Achievement for her work in energy-efficient and grid-interactive buildings research. As part of energy modeling teams at Berkeley Lab, she has received two R&D 100 awards for the tools to evaluate commercial building and city-level energy efficiency and decarbonization strategies. She has extensive R&D experience in India, China, North and South America, and Europe.

Piette’s leadership has helped DOE develop a coherent strategy for making buildings become a key component of tomorrow’s renewables-powered low carbon grid. And due to her successful track record, DOE’s Building Technologies Office selected the Lab to lead its $60M “Connected Communities” program, launched in 2020.

Beyond her research and management duties, Piette has mentored dozens of women at Berkeley Lab. She served for two years on the IDEA Senior Leadership Council and worked with the Women in Science and Engineering ERG’s leadership helping to organize messaging to the broader lab community. As PI of the California Load Flexibility Research and Deployment Hub, she has established an active equity advisory committee to ensure that disadvantaged communities are considered in our research. She has also supported workforce development programs, partnering with community colleges for more than ten years.

Piette is a board member of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy where she also chairs their Research Advisory Board. She has a BA in Physical Sciences and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, as well as a Licentiate in Building Services Engineering from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.