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August 2020
We stand in solidarity. Black Lives Matter.
As we witness repeated injustices, racism and bigotry, we stand in support of calls for justice and equity. We are committed to taking the needed actions to address inequities and will engage in the listening and learning necessary to understand the places where NBI can make a difference. As we endeavor to transform our built environment to protect people and the planet, we are committed to our own transformation. We will learn how we can better support equity and justice efforts and act through our work in energy research, guidance and policy development. After more than 20 years of efforts dedicated to energy efficiency and seeing the effects of underinvestment in a just clean energy transition, it is clear that our most important work lies ahead.
Could Coronavirus be a Wake-Up Call for Climate Action?
As with COVID-19, all populations will be affected by climate change, but some are more vulnerable than others. Climate change and local air pollution disproportionately impact disadvantaged and hard-to-reach communities, and we’re seeing similar trends with this disease. An April 2020 study by the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health links air pollution to higher rates of death from the disease. Much of this has to do with unequal exposure to particulate matter from pollution and inadequate health care.

It’s become more apparent than ever that leadership matters. With clear scientific evidence, some governments acted swiftly and invested strong policy efforts and public funding in order to stem the progression of the virus, effectively flattening the curve and leading to declines in deaths and infections. Similar bold action and investment in climate action could not only flatten the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions but bend it to zero and mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. In early May, the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment published a report outlining the stimulus policies that are perceived to deliver large economic multipliers and drive emissions trajectory towards net zero.
NBI Recommended Resources in the Time of Covid-19
NBI is compiling information from allied nonprofits, foundations and consultants relevant to building operations, design and policymaking to advance energy efficiency, zero energy, and zero carbon buildings while addressing COVID-19.
2021 Energy Code Progress Challenged: Climate and Affordability Stand to Lose Unless We Speak Up
After over a year of development, local government officials who have participated in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) update are faced with several appeals that put progress in jeopardy. The code, which would improve the IECC stringency by up to 10%, now faces challenges that will be addressed during hearings in the coming months.
If you are a Governmental Member of the International Code Council (ICC), we encourage you to engage all eligible voters from your jurisdiction (building departments, sustainability offices, housing departments, and others) to submit letters to the ICC and the Appeals Board, voice support for your original 2021 IECC votes, and the successful process of this development cycle.
Deadline to submit is Monday, August 17

For a sample letter or more information on the letter writing process, contact Maria Ellingson.

New construction represents just 1%-3% of building stock in any given year, making it clear to cities with climate action goals that they must find policy solutions that address the energy and carbon emissions of both new and existing buildings if they are going to make progress.

Jurisdictions are starting to pass laws requiring action in existing buildings. These jurisdictions include Washington, D.C.; New York City; St. Louis; and Washington State. NBI is working with an increasing number of cities and states to develop mandatory policies for improving the energy performance of existing buildings. Numerous factors are leading them in this direction, including the greening of the U.S. electricity grid, the looming timelines of many cities’ and states’ climate action goals, and interest in a proposed national green stimulus bill in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. These pressures could create a tipping point for mandatory policies and ordinances regulating the energy performance and carbon emissions of existing buildings—and based on our work with jurisdictions Building Performance Standards provide a powerful solution.
Electrification Nation?
Natural gas, once the darling to replace carbon-intensive coal in electricity production, is increasingly being recognized as a significant cause of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are fueling climate change. The main component of natural gas is methane, which when leaked through power production or pipeline supply, is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Some policymakers with a focus on climate action are taking notice and advancing rules to limit natural gas use in the built environment, sparking new programs and policies favoring electrification. Two paths driving this trend relate to policy approaches and technology advancement.
Measurement and metrics are at the core of nearly all business activity today. Those in the buildings and energy efficiency field are accustomed to some standard metrics: energy use intensity (EUI), percent better than code, cost-per-square-foot, and more recently tons of carbon emitted. Achievements in energy efficiency are often measured using these standardized metrics. But consistent, clear metrics have been lacking for one increasingly critical area: building-grid interactions. Now NBI, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and other partners are defining the measures that make a building “grid-friendly” under the GridOptimal™ Buildings Initiative.

These metrics are the result of months of work and in-depth deliberations with experts from across the country, through the GridOptimal Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). GridOptimal TAC members have helped us develop and refine our approaches. The GridOptimal Buildings Initiative Founding Sponsors have generously contributed financial support and enabled GridOptimal to make this progress.

As more renewable energy resources such as solar and wind come online, whether on buildings or at the bulk grid scale, electricity grid management strategies must evolve. The grid was built for one-way energy flows from large centralized power plants, but new policies, such as carbon emissions reduction targets, and advancing technologies are forcing grid operators to seek a new paradigm. Buildings use 75% of the electricity generated in the United States and are a critical part of the solution as we work to decarbonize and transform our energy system.
Join Us for a Getting to Zero Energy and Carbon Webinar this Fall
The Getting to Zero Market Landscape and 2020 Zero Energy Buildings List
Targets for zero energy and zero carbon outcomes are growing exponentially. Recently, Grand View Research Inc. forecast $78.8 billion of growth in the global zero energy (ZE) building market by 2025. That’s compared to $8.04 billion in 2016, according to the report. NBI has been tracking the ZE building sector for over a decade and our annual Zero Energy Buildings List is just about complete, with nearly 700 zero energy verified and emerging buildings being tracked!
Join NBI’s Alexi Miller and Kevin Carbonnier as they share the status of the zero energy market in the United States and Canada, including a technology review and the relationship between zero energy and zero carbon. The session features leaders from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, and firms Perkins+Eastman and VMDO, along with ASHRAE, which will be opening their renovated zero energy HQ this fall. The speakers will share case studies that represent a market shift in size, scale, and scope of zero energy and carbon neutral buildings.  1.5 AIA HSW CEUs Pending
Thursday, September 24, 2020
11:00 AM-12:30 PM PDT/ 2:00-3:30 PM EDT
Zero energy school construction is a growing trend driven by a combination of internal and external champions, integrated design, energy efficiency management strategies and renewable energy that make these possible at little to no extra cost. The key to achieving zero energy is drastic energy reduction and cost shifting to areas that pay dividends and reduce those big upfront costs. Strategies such as building orientation, daylighting, thermal mass, high efficiency systems and can reduce the over need for larger, more expensive renewable energy systems to achieve that zero goal. CMTA, Inc. has 10 schools operating at zero energy, with 12 currently in design and hundreds more high performance schools across the nation on their resume. Join Zachary Schneider and Brian Turner from CMTA, Inc. for this webinar as they discuss the successful approach to planning for and designing these high performance schools without the price tag. 1 AIA HSW CEU.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
10:00-11:00 AM PDT/1:00-2:00 PM EDT
Best of the Forum Webinar
Technologies: What We Have, What We Need 
Take stock of the current state of the building technologies needed to drive decarbonization at scale. Moderated by Clay Nesler, he will report out on Johnson Controls' recent Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey. Presenters will then share developments in heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, induction cooking, renewable energy, and energy storage systems, and discuss the options for full electric kitchens and how equipment needs differ in residential vs. commercial kitchens. This session will also provide a high-level view of needs and drivers for renewables, including renewable gas, and various forms of storage devices such as batteries and thermal storage options.
1 AIA HSW CEU Pending
Thursday, October 29, 2020
10:00-11:00 AM PDT/ 1:00-2:00 PM EDT
Recently added to the Resource Hub
Santa Monica Offers Guidance to Local Market

Climate-Friendly Buildings: A New Construction Guide to Support Santa Monica’s Energy Reach Code supports compliance with the Santa Monica Energy Reach Code by providing guidance for meeting all of the Reach Code requirements, including all-electric design, energy efficiency and renewable energy. It also includes additional material on grid integration, which is not required by the Reach Code, but will become an increasingly important part of the decarbonization of buildings and the electrical grid. Additionally, it includes terminology, case studies on zero energy and high-performance buildings and other useful resources.

This resource was recently added to the Resource Hub which includes over 300 guides, studies, models and other material on zero energy and zero carbon buildings (see below for more).
Check out Our Resource Hub Staff Picks
NBI staff want to show you their favorite resources in the Getting to Zero Resource Hub including the Getting to Zero Buildings Database, Seven Steps to a Zero Energy Building, and more. Hear from NBI Project Managers Kevin Carbonnier and Webly Bowles.
New Resources from NBI
Public Buildings Portfolio Management Strategic Energy Plan Template

Strategic energy planning helps local governments and other organizations increase the energy efficiency of buildings, save on operating costs, reduce emissions, and lead by example for the community. The Template can be used by cities, counties, state agencies, or school districts to develop and document a strategic, long term approach to energy and carbon impacts in municipal facilities. This template is a Word document and aligns with the Public Building Portfolio Management Implementation Guide framework.
Energy Code Roadmap for Getting to Zero Outcomes

Advanced energy codes are an important policy mechanism to drive energy efficiency and integrate renewables into the built environment. Energy code roadmaps lay the groundwork by identifying the order and priorities necessary for subsequent code improvements on the path to zero energy and zero carbon emissions. This white paper highlights code and policy mechanisms that can be leveraged by cities and states interested in pursuing outcome-based building policies.
NBI Staff Changes, Meet Our New Hires!

We are thrilled to have two new staff members with us at NBI, Maurissa Brown and Maggie Trimbach. Maurissa Brown joins us as a RAY Diversity Fellow, she is acting as Clean Energy Fellow, advancing her knowledge around research, building science, and the intersection of energy and the environment. Maggie joins the team as our new Office Administrator, she is supporting the operations and financial functions of the organization.
RAY Clean Energy Fellow
Office Administrator
We also wish to thank three people who have given tremendous amounts to NBI over the years. Eric Makela, former Director of Codes, and Jackie Waavdevig, former Office Administrator have retired, and Mark Frankel, former Technology Director, has joined Ecotope. The individual contributions of these staff members have made a lasting impact on the legacy of NBI.
NBI Study Keys in on Optimizing Automated Shading 

From Cathy Higgins, Research Director and published in Architectural Products: The California Energy Commission has funded a research project on the use of automated shading and associated technologies in the effort to standardize technology application in zero energy commercial retrofits.

Published by Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for almost 40% of total carbon emissions in the United States. Policymakers are advancing both policies that reduce emissions from the built environment and that favor electric technologies.
October 7 is Energy Efficiency Day.
But efficiency is year-round.

Energy Efficiency saves money, cuts pollution and creates jobs. What’s not to like? For Energy Efficiency Day, #EEDay2020, let’s work together to cut energy waste. Join the thousands of people who have already pledged to save energy and money on October 7.
Join the Conversation in the new LinkedIn Getting to Zero Leadership Network

Ideal topics are new zero energy or zero carbon buildings, advanced energy codes and policies, building innovations, embodied carbon and carbon emissions reduction, and upcoming training/webinar opportunities.
Upcoming Webinars and 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.
Virtual | August 17 – 21, 2020
For the first time, ACEEE is offering a virtual 2020 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. You will be able to attend from the safety and comfort of your home, register at less than half the in-person fee, and feel good about avoiding travel-related emissions. You will also have exclusive access to online presentations and more than 430 papers on cutting-edge research. Only registered attendees will be able to view these resources at their convenience for at least the next six months, giving them an event that lives on.

Don't miss NBI CEO Ralph DiNola and NBI Board Member Steve Nadel in their Informal Session, “Zero Energy Buildings and Homes: What is the Pathway for Making them Common in New Construction and Major Renovations?”
August 20, 12:00 PM (PDT)
Schools are leading the race to zero energy construction with over 200 verified and emerging educational projects across the country aiming to consume only as much energy as they produce from renewable resources. Recent advancements in building codes and zero energy policies confirm that zero energy schools are here to stay. Presenters from New Buildings Institute and VMDO Architects will share national trends in the field and how zero energy schools are a critical component of moving the needle to a carbon free and healthy future.

Don't miss NBI Project Manager Reilly Loveland's presentation in this session.
Virtual | August 25-26, 2020
Hosting over 250 leading architects, policymakers, contractors, system manufacturers, building owners and real estate executives, this NetZeroBuild Summit is an opportunity to find the expertise and secure suppliers to deliver sustainable, energy-efficient construction and renovation projects. The interactive conference program facilitates networking in the sustainable build community and showcases new, exciting projects. 

Don't miss NBI Director of Codes and Policy Jim Edelson's Recorded Presentation: Transforming Building Energy Codes and Policy to Achieve Net-Zero.
Virtual | September 15-16, 2020
This year, we're bringing the Net Zero Conference to your living room! Join leaders in green at NZ20, the world's largest net zero building conference and a hub for thought-leaders and industry-shapers in Climate, Carbon, Energy, Water, Waste, and Transit. This two-day event will feature exciting keynotes, cutting-edge educational panels, workshops from innovative leaders in sustainability like the International Living Future Institute and U.S. Green Building Council, premium networking opportunities, the annual Trailblazer Awards ceremony, and an interactive virtual expo hall featuring leading companies in our industry.
Virtual | September 21-25, 2020
World Green Building Week is World Green Building Council’s annual campaign that empowers us all to deliver greener buildings. This year, we’re asking you to #ActOnClimate. We’re calling on the building sector, policymakers and governments to take urgent action to deliver net zero buildings. We’re also calling on them to provide a showcase for those leaders already taking action to show where, why and how they are achieving it. It is time to bring these solutions to scale, and the industry is ready to deliver.
Virtual | September 23-24, 2020
Now in its ninth year, BuildingEnergy NYC is a conference designed by and for practitioners in the fields of high-performance building and design, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Last year's event brought more than 400 professionals from across the industry together to learn from and network with one another. Every year, sessions are chosen by a committee of NESEA Members and highlight best practices and lessons learned.
The ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) offers a wide range of professional development seminars and short courses, including these two sessions on zero energy buildings:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
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