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December 2021
New Buildings Institute’s work is possible only with the support of our sponsors and donors. If NBI's guides, resources, events and advocacy work provide value to you, we invite you to consider donating. Thank you! 
Equity, diversity, and inclusion at NBI
NBI recently adopted its first Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement to help guide its work going forward. This statement, which was developed through a collaborative process between the staff and the board of directors, is a formal recognition that solving complex problems such as the climate crisis requires solutions developed collaboratively with the communities we serve including those typically underrepresented low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. For our organization, this starts with our own staff and Board, but it extends to a more diverse workforce for the building industry as a whole.
We recognize there are structural injustices and inequities in our systems and climate work. NBI is committed to the journey necessary to ensure every member of our society has equal access to and benefits from zero energy and zero carbon. This means we must partner with people of color and low-income communities in achieving ambitious energy efficiency and carbon reduction goals.
— NBI Diversity Statement
Proposals to drastically cut GHG delivered to IECC committees
To more closely link climate solutions with the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) development process, NBI submitted in October code change proposals to the IECC residential and commercial development committees that would drastically reduce GHG emissions from the building sector and help jurisdictions meet their action plan targets. These proposals build on NBI’s five foundations for achieving carbon neutral building policies, focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, electrification, and grid integration. The proposals also consider the impacts to both new and existing buildings across the residential and commercial codes. More information and a summary of the proposals is available at the link below. More information on how carbon reduction measures relate to energy efficiency in the built environment, check out the new guide (see next story) developed in collaboration with industry leaders and released by NBI. 
An insider’s guide for our clean energy future
Working with several industry trade organizations, NBI recently released a new guide aimed at helping policymakers, program designers, and building design teams better understand the aspects of carbon neutral buildings and to align policies, programs, and projects around the globe. The Insider’s Guide to Carbon Neutral Buildings does not provide a “one size fits all” definition, but rather a framework that takes into account the spectrum of carbon neutral building aspects – from building operations to whole life embodied carbon neutrality. It includes eight components of energy-efficient, carbon neutral buildings and a high-level framework that supports design practices and programs that encourage such buildings. This guide is an important step toward explaining carbon neutral building elements for those addressing the built environment in their climate change initiatives and a tool to help these market leaders explain the work ahead to clients, stakeholders, members, and others.
Schools collaborate on the roadmap to zero carbon

To develop and test solutions that address health, student experience, and carbon emissions from schools, NBI partnered with the California Division of the State Architect (DSA) to provide technical assistance to school districts in the state. The Getting to Zero in California’s School Districts effort facilitated a cohort of over 30 K-12 school districts providing tailored support through a series of remote learning and peer-to-peer information exchanges. Participants engaged with experts in developing roadmaps to carbon neutrality across portfolios in preparation for state legislation and policy that targets full decarbonization of the built environment by 2045. Through this cohort, NBI, DSA, and California school districts demonstrated that despite aging buildings and constrained operating budgets, action on getting to zero carbon over time is possible.

The outcomes of this work are being developed into a workbook and used in a series of virtual workshop sessions 21st Century Schools: Cleaner and Greener sponsored by NYSERDA and enVerid. In these sessions, school districts, school stakeholders, AEC professionals, and anyone interested in getting schools to the zero carbon goal will be able to work collaboratively and get the support they need to create the plan to get to zero carbon over time. The series will dive deep into how to lay out a plan, and provides the template materials to support districts on this path to full decarbonization. This series intends to spark action in New York State aligning with NYSERDA’s P-12 Schools Initiative. Although the series kicked off in November, those who still wish to participate can view a recording of Part one and join tomorrow through January. Cost is $60, school districts can have this fee waived, contact

Virtual Workshop Series: 21st Century Schools: Cleaner and Greener

Part 1: Setting up the Roadmap (A RECORDING IS AVAILABLE)

Part 2: Goal Setting and Stories of Success
TODAY! Wednesday, December 8, 2021: 12:00 pm-1:30 pm ET

Part 3: Setting Up Documentation to Guide Carbon Neutral Construction
Wednesday, January 12, 2022: 12:00 pm-1:30 pm ET

For more than a century, the power grid has relied on one-way energy flows from large, centralized plants, usually powered by fossil fuels. But new technologies, and markets that enable them, have emerged for two-way communication between buildings and the grid. The grid-enabled buildings (GEBs) of the future will be 1) energy-efficient; 2) flexible using on-site distributed generation, storage, and demand-side management strategies; 3) connected with two-way communication to support the grid and occupants’ needs; and 4) “smart” with analytics, sensing, and controls that manage strategies and co-optimize costs, use, and comfort.

Utilities have more than 15 years of experience designing real-time energy management (RTEM) and demand response programs. These offerings incentivize building owners to install technologies such as programmable thermostats and appliances and energy storage (batteries and electric vehicle charging), which can automatically reduce demand during certain seasons and times of the day such as when demand is at a peak. GEBs can receive signals from the grid that lower demand enough to balance loads. Yet grid-interactive efficient buildings go much further with extensive capabilities to not only modify volume and time of energy use, but also to integrate onsite generation, energy storage, sophisticated controls, and monitoring to become an asset for grid reliability.

Work has been done on the design side to define the aspects of a grid-interactive buildings. A new LEED pilot credit from NBI and U.S. Green Building Council known as the GridOptimal® Buildings Pilot Alternative Compliance Path (ACP), could empower designers, architects and engineers to lead this paradigm shift: a future in which grid-enabled buildings—those with renewable generation and/or controls that communicate with the grid—play a critical role in meeting 100% renewable electricity goals.
GridOptimal design guidance factsheets provide regional and building type information for grid optimized projects
To help building owners, designers, utilities, and other key players NBI has published GridOptimal® metrics, tools, and guidance, including a suite of factsheets that focus on appropriate grid-optimizing measures specific to their regional electrical grid mix or building type. These easy-to-understand factsheets are available for seven regions across the United States and for six commercial and residential building types and provide key context and recommend selected high-impact building design and operations strategies.
Empowering communities to accelerate distributed energy resources

In many parts of the United States, navigating the building permits needed for distributed energy resources such as solar, storage, and electric vehicles (EVs) can be a daunting process. Many communities have burdensome requirements for installing such technologies and/or lack the capacity to process applications in a timely manner. Costly delays can lead building owners and companies to dismiss technologies that will be critical for reducing carbon emissions and managing the electric grid.
A new project led by NBI, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), aims to alleviate some of these barriers to adoption. The three-year EMPOWERED project is helping communities increase deployment of technologies, namely energy storage and EV charging facilities, that will help reduce carbon emissions, save people money, and help balance energy supply and demand on the grid. NBI along with our partners are developing a set of guides and checklists that more clearly lay out a standard approach to permitting and inspections for these distributed energy resources.
2021 Getting to Zero Forum wraps, Next Gen program provides opportunity to 20 students
The Getting to Zero Forum gathered both virtual and in-person attendees at the recently wrapped 2021 event in New York City. Hosted by NBI, with co-host RMI and this year’s local host NYSERDA, the Forum packed nearly 12 hours of educational sessions in three days of programming and networking along with a full day of workshops and tours hosted by sponsors and partners. New York City was a great location to celebrate New York’s high ambitions on building decarbonization. Attendees were welcomed to the conference via video recording by U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, whose urgent message of speed of deployment needed to reach carbon emission goals was also filled with optimism about the attendance of the Next Gen cohort and a group of diverse students awarded scholarships to the Forum.

Next Gen is an industry-supported initiative designed to foster the next generation of leadership in the Getting to Zero buildings movement while bolstering better diversity in our industry—80% of the cohort are students of color. Participants in the program benefit from advanced practice educational opportunities through a certified ASHRAE curriculum, mentorship, professional development support, and participation in the Forum. Sponsoring companies allow the Next Gen program to be free of charge to students.

We are kicking off planning for our next Forum in Spring 2023. Sign up to be on our Getting to Zero information email list to be the first to know about upcoming Forums and related workshops.  
Embodied Carbon Bootcamp

Register today!

In this interactive workshop, industry leaders will present the policies that are quickening the adoption of embodied carbon ideas and show the steps necessary to lower upfront and whole life carbon emissions in new construction and major renovations. Activities will support low carbon materials and alternative product selection, and the processes used by successful teams. It will introduce the latest design and data tools available, present case studies, and engage participants in facilitated discussions around designing lower embodied carbon projects. Attendees will leave the workshop with a toolkit of resources to aid their future projects. Cost: $60

December 14, 2021 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm PST/12:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
Workshop sponsor:
New Getting to Zero San Diego resources are available

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) is delivering key zero net energy educational resources for the San Diego region to help build the ZNE market there. NBI is supporting the development of zero net energy fact sheets and educational webinars specific to Southern California.

New Factsheets:

Getting to Zero San Diego webinar recordings available:
Rethinking Efficiency in Multifamily Water Heating
Water heating can account for one-third of a multifamily building’s total energy load and over half of a building’s carbon emissions. This webinar will address water heating system design and the technologies necessary to lower energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions.
Designing with Communities, not for Communities: Equity in ZNE
Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings have a stigma of being high-cost buildings for the bottomless budget. In fact, ZNE costs are in line with other green buildings. As a benefit, ZNE buildings are higher performing, offering superior comfort, healthier places to work and live, and have lower energy bills. However, it is crucial to consider the communities adjacent to the building and the communities it will serve. 
New electrified buildings database available
A new database of all-electric buildings is now available featuring more than 250 completed and planned projects. The new resource, which is currently in Beta, is a joint venture between NBI, eSix Development, AIA California, and the William J Worthen Foundation. Its goal is to provide access to the most comprehensive list of all-electric and decarbonized buildings in the United States. The database helps demonstrate that many types of buildings across many climates are ready to be electrified at scale, today. As electricity grid decarbonization accelerates, the importance of building decarbonization grows, and electrified buildings will play a pivotal role in enabling and accelerating the transformation toward a carbon-free society.
Efficient electric water heating would slash multifamily buildings’ carbon emissions
A new report from NBI and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that efficient electric water heaters in multifamily buildings cause less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of gas-fired water heating products, presenting a key climate opportunity. The study calls for policymakers to ramp up efforts to help building owners replace old equipment. Ecotope and the Association for Energy Affordability served as data partners for the report.

Heating water efficiently is critical because in multifamily buildings with five or more units, water heating uses more energy than space heating, cooling, or lighting. The new analysis shows that converting gas-fired water heaters to advanced technology—electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs)—would cut the greenhouse gas emissions the equipment is responsible for by an average of 58%. If powered entirely by clean sources, HPWHs cause zero emissions, making them a critical tool for decarbonizing the economy.
NBI welcomes new staff members

NBI continues to grow with the addition of a new Project Manager, Market Engagement Manager, and a Finance Manager to assist the organization in supporting initiatives, operations, and projects. Project Manager Bryce Seymour is working to engage with state officials, local governments, and industry market players to maximize development and implementation of better codes & policies. Market Engagement Manager Erin Murphy will be integral to relationship management with our stakeholders and partners, and Michael Judson, Finance Manager, is part of our administrative team and is experienced in the financial growth of organizations--a perfect fit for our growing team! 
Erin Murphy 
Market Engagement Manager
Bryce Seymour
Project Manager
Michael Judson
Finance Manager
NBI in the news
Find these articles and more on our website.
NBI Senior Project Manager Reilly Loveland at COP26
Our schools expert, Reilly Loveland had the unique opportunity to present to the COP delegation in Glasgow. She and other presenters discussed "Greening America’s Schools: An Opportunity for Climate Mitigation, Health, and Equity".
Growth In Zero Energy Buildings, Facility Executive
Where we'll be:
NBI staff are participating in numerous events at any given time, for the latest on topics and appearances, visit:

12/9/21 Ralph DiNola will present at the Market Integration and Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MAITREE) Dialogues on Grid-Interactive Net Zero Energy Buildings webinar.

12/16/21 Webly Bowles will present: Roadmap to 50% Carbon Reductions in Multifamily Housing, part of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge Winter Series.

1/30/22 NBI staff Jim Edelson, Kim Cheslak, and Alexi Miller will be presenting Expanding the Role of Energy Codes to Meet Generational Shifts" at the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference
Upcoming partner events:
Event schedules around the COVID-19 outbreak continue to change. We present here the most current information as of publication. Please continue to visit these partner websites for updates.
January 29-February 2, 2022 | Las Vegas, NV and online

The 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference will be a hybrid experience, offering both in-person and virtual options for participation for attendees. The conference will feature over 80 technical sessions with updates from Society leaders, tours, social events and livestreamed sessions for virtual attendees. Technical sessions will address building performance, energy system integration, international environmental health and IEQ and challenges and opportunities for industrial and commercial purposes.
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