2020 40 Under 40: Luis Rivera Jr., PE, 39
Associate Director, Harris Design Studio, Oakland, Calif.; BS Architectural Engineering, University of Texas MS Sustainable Design & Construction, Stanford University
Rivera is an experienced engineering professional in HVAC design, sustainable building science, design and construction and BIM. His engineering odyssey started as an avionics technician with the U.S. Air Force. He’s built on those initial experiences, along with his education, to become dedicated to green engineering of the built environment after learning around 40% of the U.S.’s total end-use energy is consumed by the built environment, a statistic that has not significantly changed. This has led Rivera to seek out the most innovative design projects he could find that pushed the boundaries of energy efficiency. Rivera has honed and broadened his design and collaboration skills in many low-energy mechanical designs and installations such as underfloor air distribution, radiant heating and cooling, natural ventilation, mixed-mode systems and engineering within the BIM environment on high-profile projects for tech firms. One project that highlights Rivera’s many skills was the successful permitting the San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection for a semi-conditioned 12-story atrium. This building had mixed-mode ventilation, radiant floors within staggered balconies and automatic operable windows designed to greatly reduce façade loads to the conditioned office spaces while providing an architectural focal point and a sense of connection to the outdoors for the building occupants. He also enjoys socializing and learning what motivates others, evident from his years of experience as a bartender. These learned people skills have served him well as an engineer and as a person. Rivera likes staying active by hiking, cycling, running and snowboarding. He also enjoys spending family time with his wife and twin boys playing games and sports and reading books.