Your Zero Net Energy Building May Destroy the Grid

With emerging standards requiring different forms of Zero Net Energy and aggressive owners developing ZNE buildings already it's an important time to look at the potential impacts net metered buildings can have on the historic grid structure and operations. High penetration of renewable energy can destabilize the grid operations and cause havoc for grid operators.

We'll provide a detailed discussion of the different definitions of ZNE and how they impact design and interaction with the grid. We'll outline current issues with high penetration of renewables on Hawaii's grid structure and how they may apply to ZNE building design for larger grid systems. We will provide building strategies that can enhance ZNE building design participation with the grid such as battery storage with renewables, demand response, thermal energy storage, and controls. Finally the team will outline ongoing changes to the grid structures and enhancements needed to prepare the grid for true ZNE buildings on a mass scale.

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Occupant Aware Buildings, or Building Aware Occupants?

As technology and intuitive interfaces enable occupants to become more aware about buildings, buildings are becoming more aware of them. Smart buildings leveraging big data collected from thousands of inexpensive sensors and the IoT, promises to improve convenience and comfort, all in a more sustainable manner. Is this a win-win?

High performance buildings with passive design strategies require engaged occupants. Training these occupants for hoped behavioral changes, is both an imperative and a challenge. Even if trained people forget or don't care, or the specific people occupying a building changes.

Does this mean ultimately your building may know more about you than you are comfortable with, even though you are more comfortable in your building? Is the next generation of high performance only possible at the expense of personal privacy? Can we count on this additional layer of systems complexity to be reliable, affordable, maintainable and secure?

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RMI's Innovation Center: First-Year Lessons Learned

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) Innovation Center illustrates the potential of achieving net-positive-energy performance in a replicable manner, serving as a demonstration project for the design and construction industry. Its first year of operation has offered many lessons around technological incorporation, financial replicability and incentivizing an integrated design process.


With four decades of leadership and advocacy for hyper-efficient buildings and economies, RMI is the ultimate client and occupant for such an innovative project. First-hand staff video interviews will address design process, system integration, performance and occupant satisfaction. RMI researchers guide attendees through the building with interactive video technology, providing commentary to frame the experience. Observations will be contextualized by members of the architecture and engineering team, translating lessons that can—and should—be applied to the next generation of high-performance buildings.

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A Model Zoning Code for Resilient Communities

This course will provide learners with an understanding of how land use codes impact resiliency through barriers and incentives. It will help you gain an understanding of the positive impact on health and productivity from codes promoting resiliency, review case studies detailing principals of natural ventilation, daylighting and onsite energy production.

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Exceeding Thermal Performance Goals by Choosing Wood (Print Course)

Designing with wood offers architects the flexibility to design projects with increased insulation. From a thermal perspective, wood-frame building enclosures are inherently more efficient than steel-frame, concrete, or masonry construction.

This course will provide an understanding of how wood can help contribute to significant energy savings in the built environment.

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Designing With Nature In Mind

Welcome a new shift in design, where architecture and nature unite. Homes are built into landscapes, rather than overtaking nature, and incorporate elements of the earth into their design, promoting peace, creativity, and inspiration.

Building materials, such as architectural stone veneer, are being used indoors and outdoors to reflect the qualities found in nature, including symmetry, surprise, and well-being.

Not only does architectural stone veneer bring the beauty of nature into residential and commercial spaces, but it’s also a sustainable alternative to other building materials; it can be recycled, lower transportation and labor costs, and earn LEED credits. It is regulated by strict industry standards, providing durability and versatility, all while offering nearly limitless options in color, texture, look, and use.

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The Built Environment Transformed: Circular Models in Action

Successful partnerships, such as that of Staples, Davies Office and RIT, are mobilizing market transformation for more healthy, sustainable built environments through circular business models. Leaders from RIT, Staples, and Davies Office discuss strategy and implementation tactics for bringing remanufactured office furniture into the mainstream B2B commercial interiors market.

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Biophilic Design Interactive: Research Tools & Tech

It takes an average of 17 years for research evidence to become practice. How can we change this paradigm to more rapidly understand and share effective examples of biophilic design? Interactive activities will ensure participants learn from, contribute to, and engage with Biophilic Design to help achieve broader adoption.

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Get More Green: Research Links Energy Efficiency & Profits

This session will explore research aiming to analyze potential links between green buildings and financial performance in commercial real estate. Experts from UNC Chapel Hill, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Principal Real Estate Investors will discuss research challenges, data matching and aggregation efforts, and insights from recent studies.

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Material Transparency – Positive Revelations

How do you prioritize your healthy and environmental building goals and make better building material decisions?” Let’s get positive - with 10 positive actions that you can take to optimize products right now.

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