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We, at Donald Aitken Associates, have dedicated our lives to helping individuals and companies, communities and cities, states and nations, fulfill their missions and goals through policies and buildings that are in harmony and balance with the Earth's natural systems. We believe that we are, thus, contributing to sustainability in the truest sense, while enhancing the quality of life of our clients and the strength and stability of their cultural and economic support systems.

Donald W. Aitken, Ph.D.
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Dr. Aitken as the U.S. State Department's 2002 Earth Day speaker in Germany


Dr. Donald Aitken, a LEED™ Accredited Professonal, is currently Principal of his own consulting company, Donald Aitken Associates, founded in 1981. Fro m 1976-2010 he was also a Member of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture faculty in Scottsdale, Arizona. From 2003 to 2010 he and his associate, Barbara Harwood, were jointly responsible for the sustainable architecture curriculum at that nationally accredited school.

Previously Dr. Aitken held the position of a staff research physicist and astrophysicist at Stanford University for 9 years, where he founded and directed three laboratory research programs, and was the founder and Chairman of the Department of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, a position he held for 21 years, and where he was named "Professor of the Year." Dr. Aitken also served for two years as the Executive Director of the Western Regional Solar Energy Center for the U.S. Department of Energy, and for ten years as the Senior Staff Scientist for Renewable Energy Policy and Economics with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has over 100 publications in these various fields.
Dr. Aitken has twice served as national Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society, has twice directed the national solar energy conferences, and has served several times as the Technical Chair of the National Solar Energy Conferences. He is also the former Vice President, and Secretary, of the International Solar Energy Society. He co-founded and co-chaired, both with the U.S. Department of Energy, the first National Solar Forum, presented in Washington, D.C., in 1994. He later co-founded and served as the co-chair with his Mexican colleagues the international Solar Millenium Forum, held in 2000 in Mexico City. Dr. Aitken was on the International Organizing Committee for the Solar World Congress in Adelaide, Australia, in November of 2001.

Dr. Aitken's work has a multiple emphasis on the use of renewable energy in the electric utility sector, on renewable energy marketing frameworks, and in sustainable architecture. He has made major policy contributions that have been adopted both nationally and internationally to promote the accelerated application of sustainable energies in both marketing and governmental policy frameworks.

Dr. Aitken has used his architectural background over the last 35 years to provide major design input to extremely energy-efficient pioneering building designs. These include the U.S. Department of Energy's first solar-heated and daylit office in 1980, developed from an office building retrofit in Portland, Oregon; the headquarters for Lane Publishing (Sunset Magazine) in Menlo Park, California, in 1986, which became the most energy-efficient office building in the State; the national headquarters building for the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1996, located on Harvard Square, featuring a 70% reduction in energy use and the lowest energy for lighting ever measured in a U.S. office building; Nevada's first grid-connected solar-electric tract home in 1996; the LEED Platinum Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies in Cupertino, California, completed in 2007; and the first all-solar net-metered house in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico, also completed in 2007. (Please see "Projects", accessed from our Home Page or sidebar topical listings, for details on some of these and other built projects by both principals of Donald Aitken Associates.)

Dr. Aitken is a sought-after architectural and sustainable energy policy consultant and speaker, and professional architectural and engineering workshop leader, specializing in the use of daylight and renewable energies in buildings. He has carried these activities throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Cyprus, Israel, India, Mexico, and three of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. In April of 2002 Dr. Aitken and his colleague Barbara Harwood were sent by the U.S. State Department to be the U.S.'s Earth Day speakers in six German cities.

From 2003 through 2011, Dr. Aitken has given major invited talks in 30 significant forums in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. Notable recent ones were in 2007 to keynote the National Solar Energy Conference in Mexico; in 2008 to keynote the first-ever Latin-America Wind Energy Conference; and in 2010 to keynote the 100th anniversary celebration of the Mexico City campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, simultaneously celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the CIE, the Centro de Investigación en Energía, Mexico's premier research center for renewable energy.

In 1997 Dr. Aitken was awarded the American Solar Energy Society's highest honor for lifetime service to solar energy, the Abbot Award. In 2000 he was one of the "World Solar Award" recipients at the World Renewable Energy Congress in England. In 2011 he was given a special award for public service in promoting solar energy in Mexico by FIDE, the Trust Fund for the Saving of Electric Energy in Mexico. In 1911 Dr. Aitken was appointed to the Board of this national organization, the first non-Mexican to receive this honor.

Dr. Aitken can be reached directly on our Contact page.

Selected Publications by Dr. Donald Aitken

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