2021 Getting to Zero Forum Session Recordings


Decarbonizing New York’s Built Environment (1.5 AIA LU |HSW CEUs)


New York State’s Climate Act looks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 85% by 2050 across all sectors. With direct (onsite) emissions from buildings contributing ~30% of GHG emissions statewide – and additional emissions from the generation of electricity used in buildings and the embodied carbon associated with building construction – two Roadmaps are being developed to reduce demand-side GHG emissions in New York’s building stock: the Carbon Neutral Buildings Roadmap and the Building Electrification Roadmap. The first half of this session will be focused on presenting key findings from the two draft roadmaps, followed by a moderated discussion of industry actors exploring the implications of building decarbonization policy recommendations and other market development priorities centered on cost reduction, innovation, grid flexibility, equity, and societal benefits.

Moderator: Greg Hale, NYSERDA

Vanessa Ulmer, NYSERDA
Bret Garwood, Home Leasing
Donna De Costanzo, Natural Resources Defense Council
Molly Dee-Ramasamy, Jaros, Baum & Bolles

Transforming Traditional Project Delivery to Achieve Equitable Building Decarbonization (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

Our built environment sits at a cross section of the health, wellness, and equitable support of our communities. The technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of carbon neutral new construction is well-established, however the feasibility and knowledge of decarbonization the existing building stock continues to be a challenge. Often, those most in need of an upgrade are those the most vulnerable to the negative health impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution. How are we able to design policies and programs to ensure our investments are prioritized for frontline communities of color and our most vulnerable populations. This session will discuss the language, tools, and approaches that disrupt traditional construction methods to achieve decarbonized buildings with a high standard of indoor health for occupants.

Moderator: Kathryn Wright, Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Lori Ferriss, Goody Clancy | Nakita Reed, Quinn Evans
Saving Buildings to Save the Climate – How to Leverage our Built Heritage to Meet Climate Goals

Amanda Markovic, GBBN Architecture | Derrick Tillman, Bridging the Gap Development, LLC
Transform Traditional Delivery to Reach Socially Just Outcomes

Alice Sung, Greenbank Associates
Indicators for Equitable Building Decarbonization towards Zero Carbon

Transforming the Market: Different Pathways and Programs to Zero (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

Utility and other incentive programs play a big role in providing the carrot for the market to transform to zero. In order to effectively transform the market at scale, programs must be developed, stakeholders must be continually engaged, and program elements evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure program success. This session will discuss multi-state programmatic efforts to incentivize and drive high performance buildings to scale. Panelists from around the country will share experiences working to scale up market-based decarbonization of buildings. Learn from all three programs as they discuss from the value proposition, outreach strategies to connect with utility customers and design teams are leading market transformation.

Moderator: Donovan Gordon, NYSERDA

Michael Stoddard, Efficiency Maine Trust
Scaling Up Decarbonization of Heating: Challenges and Lessons Learned from Successful Programs

Elin Shepard, Energy Trust of Oregon | Forest Tanier-Gesner, PAE Consulting Engineers
Driving and Sustaining Innovation on the Path to Net Zero

Jennifer Green, Burlington Electric Department
The Role of Carrots and Sticks in Achieving NZE in Burlington, Vermont


Breakout Strategies for Decarbonizing the Multifamily Sector (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

Successful low-carbon and net-zero projects require and integrated approach to incorporating technologies and design strategies. This session will highlight the application of several design methods and technologies that seek to significantly reduce (and decarbonize) residential building loads. From a large multifamily passive house project in New York City, to the role central heat pumps play in decarbonizing hot water loads, to insights from a design team on how to put all the pieces together, this session will focus on how designers are leveraging design strategies and technologies to improve building performance by reducing and decarbonizing key residential energy loads.

Moderator: Jonathan Heller, Ecotope

Ryan Lobello, Handel Architects | Greg Maccarone, Cosentini Associates
Sendero Verde – America’s Largest Passive House Complex and a Model for Sustainable Affordable Housing

Jonathan Heller, Ecotope
Decarbonizing Multifamily Buildings at Scale with Central Heat Pump Water Heaters

Rosanna Lerma, EDesignC, Inc.
Multifamily=Net Zero

Finance and Development Programming Block, Part 1: Innovative Approaches to Net Zero Cost and Financing (1.5 AIA LU CEUs)

A first look at financing zero energy and carbon neutral projects can seem expensive, but innovative examples are emerging that manage costs and deliver stellar spaces. This session will feature financing models that are delivering cost-effective projects including a deep dive into the costs of building a new Living Building on a system-by-system basis that will offer real-world feedback for other projects. In addition, presenters will share a unique bundling of high performance envelope with solar and battery storage that provides payback and profits for zero carbon homes with all of the energy upgrades wrapped into a 30-year loan. Finally, a look at new options for energy savings performance contract structures and financing that will open the doors for deeper energy retrofits, as well as new operational models that promise to take building energy reduction further.

Moderator: Danielle Donnelly, Community Preservation Corporation

Marc Brune, PAE Consulting Engineers | Jill Sherman, Edlen & Co.
Making it Pencil: Developer-Led Models for a Living Building

Timothy Unruh, NAESCO
Don’t Forget the Importance of Finance and Contract Structure!

Beau Engman, PACE Equity
Innovation to Provide Low Cost PACE Capital for Low Carbon Buildings

Ensuring Benefits to Disadvantaged Communities in New York’s Drive to Carbon Neutral Buildings (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

Getting to zero will require deeper engagement with disadvantaged community stakeholders than has typically been the case for energy efficiency programs. This session will highlight work underway in New York to transform stakeholder engagement efforts to ensure at least 35% of all benefits flow to disadvantaged communities. This session will review the equitable benefits framework being developed by the State’s Climate Justice Working Group, the new Regional Clean Energy Hubs and statewide Energy Equity Collaborative, as well as several innovative and groundbreaking case studies in which Environmental Justice communities are directly shaping New York’s clean energy future. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide NYSERDA feedback on existing avenues for public engagement and equity in the decarbonization transition underway.

Moderator: Zach Zill, NYSERDA

Summer Sandoval, UPROSE
Sonal Jessel, WE ACT
Samantha Pearce, NYS Homes and Community Renewal
Eric Walker, NYSERDA

Busting Barriers to Net Zero in Multifamily Housing (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

To achieve our net zero and zero emission goals within the residential building sector, numerous hurdles must be overcome. This session will focus on a number of these hurdles, including barriers specific to affordable housing, achieving decarbonization through building renovation, and how to sustain net zero operations in multi-tenant buildings. Taken together, this session will provide key insights into how specific barriers were addressed and look to developing policies and practices that can scale for maximum impact.

Moderator: Arlis Reynolds, Opinion Dynamics

Katie Ackerly, David Baker Architects
When Zero Emissions and Affordable Housing Collide

Peter Turnbull, Peter Turnbull and Associates LLC | Ram Narayanamurthy, Electric Power Research Institute
Real World Lessons for Taking Multifamily Decarbonization to Scale: Action Plans Based on What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Needed

Marta Schantz, Urban Land Institute
It Can Be Done: Multi-Tenant Net Zero Landlord-Tenant Collaboration


Game Changing Technologies for a Better World (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

New technologies promise to dramatically change the carbon footprint of buildings with the application of products that optimize energy use for maximum savings. This session will focus in three critical technologies that are game changers in the press to decarbonize the built environments. Water heating accounts for up to one-third of the energy used in buildings, but heat pump water heaters have the potential to cut that dramatically with 2-4 times the efficiency of conventional products. HVAC system efficiency could benefit from better applications of geothermal heat pump systems, but cost barriers are keeping market share low driving engineers to look at hybrid systems or other integrations of air-source heat pumps and thermal storage. Finally, attendees will consider system integrations of shading and lighting that could super charge the effectiveness of both products for better energy savings.

Moderator: Artorius Reyes, ASHRAE NYC/Trane Technologies

Kevin Clark, Rheem

Cathy Higgins, New Buildings Institute

Micah Zender, Melink Zero | Steve Hamstra, Melink Zero


Advanced Building Construction for State Retrofit Programs (1.5 AIA LU|HSW CEUs)

The US buildings sector faces a confluence of critical challenges. Advanced building construction (ABC)—solutions combining energy-efficient decarbonization and industrialized construction—can help address these synergistically. RMI and its partners, with the support of the US Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office, have established the ABC Collaborative to bring together and catalyze constructive relationships among incumbent and emergent buildings sector actors to accelerate the uptake and scaling of ABC solutions while supporting—and leveraging—modernization of the US construction industry. NYSERDA’s RetrofitNY and RMI’s REALIZE programs are already developing and deploying ABC solutions and streamlined delivery models for existing affordable housing in several states. Join us for this session where we will explore and discuss how state stakeholders can work to implement similar high-performance retrofit programs that can help renew vital affordable housing while meeting decarbonization goals and providing additional benefits to residents and the economy.

ModeratorMartha Campbell, RMI

Lucas Toffoli, RMI

Maddie Koewler, National Association of State Energy Officials

James Geppner, NYSERDA