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39. Byron Washom

Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives, University of California San Diego

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Byron Washom, 61, knows where the sun don't shine. "We have a device called a Skytracker, a fish-eye in the sky. We are developing the ability to predict one hour in advance the amount of sunlight that will be falling on every solar panel in 25 square miles." The soothsaying solar consultant's 2008 move to the campus he describes as a "living laboratory"—UCSD generates 82% of its energy on-site—unleashed more futuristic ideas. A fuel cell under contract will meet 10% of the campus's needs with sewage methane, and a deal is in the works to launch the world's largest photovoltaic-integrated energy-storage project—what Washom calls "my hottest iron in the fire."

In my entire career and global travels, I have never witnessed such a combination of visionary leadership, opportunity and legacy infrastructure to build a global model of a sustainable and efficient energy infrastructure as we have here at UC San Diego.

I defy anyone to show me another campus which has the same composition of support for sustainability as UC San Diego, Washom said. To know us is to love us.