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Click here to explore our NZ21 Program guidebook.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Climate+Change Opening Remarks

Drew Shula kicks off the conference with lively "climate optimism," and a little boxing as he "fights" the climate crisis! Shula is the Founder & CEO of Verdical Group, and the Founder of the Net Zero Conference. He seeks to inspire attendees against a backdrop of the beautiful California Sierra Nevada Mountains where he hails from in Los Angeles. Shula will share the launch of Verdical Group's new Climate+Change initiative (come learn what it's all about!). Drew will share Verdical Group's own climate action story, including actionable steps every company can take to reduce carbon impact. Verdical Group has committed to offsetting the company's entire carbon footprint back to its founding in 2012. Drew's primary message: "stop burning fossil fuels." Hear challenges his own company faced in cutting ties with fossil fuel clients. The Net Zero Conference is back! And we're off to the races!

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Expo [Virtual]
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
KEYNOTES: Seventh Generation | XPRIZE

Join us for the following Keynote sessions:

  1. Ashley Orgain, Global Director, Advocacy & Sustainability, Seventh Generation
    • As the Global Director of Advocacy and Sustainability for Seventh Generation, Ashley serves as a senior leader for the Company’s Mission at global and regional levels and for the U.S. based Corporate Consciousness team. Ashley leads key facets of the work articulated in Seventh Generation’s mission- To Transform the World into a Healthy, Sustainable and Equitable Place for the Next Seven Generations. She is responsible for overall vision and strategy to achieve success against as the company’s long- and short-term sustainability goals. Ashley serves on Seventh Generation’s senior leadership team, contributing to overall company policy development and direction and sustaining a culture of mission orientation In 2010, she became the first President of the Seventh Generation Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting social and environmental progress through education, conservation, research and advocacy. Ashley received her Green MBA in Environmental and Organizational Sustainability from Antioch University New England. And her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont.
  2. Marcius Extavour, PhD, Executive Director, Prize Operations, Energy & Resources, XPRIZE
    • Marcius Extavour comes to XPRIZE after over a decade working at the intersection of science, policy, education, and technology development. As leader of the Energy team, he combines his experience in partnership building and strategy with his training in physics and engineering to help lead the transition to a clean energy future. 
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Mini Sessions: A Decade of Action: Telling your Sustainability Story in the Age of Climate Change | TEDx Countdown

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. A Decade of Action: Telling your Sustainability Story in the Age of Climate Change
    • Speakers: 
      • Sarah Stanley, Ruder Finn
      • Gautami Palanki, The Howard Hughes Corporation
    • The UN has stressed that 2020 to 2030 needs to be a decade of action. Climate change is finally front-page news and we've seen the number of corporate net zero and climate commitments more than triple from 2019 to 2020. The result? A barrage of press releases and promotions from companies highlighting sustainability efforts. So, in an increasingly crowded space, what is the best way to tell your story? What pitfalls do you need to avoid? We'll talk through do's and don'ts when it comes to talking about ESG, sustainability and climate efforts. We'll cover the importance of transparency and accountability as part of storytelling and explore case studies that show where communications hit the mark and where it missed.
  2. Host a TEDx Countdown Event
    • Bring your community into the conversation and host a TEDx Countdown event. Learn more at
10:00 AM - 11:05 AM
Climate Change and the Shifting of Business: A New Paradigm

How are organizations shifting their practices to prioritize climate change? What trends are we seeing in the goals companies create for their ESG, supply chains, and customer communication? 

Hear diverse perspectives from leaders at Deloitte, Shopify, the International Living Future Institute, and American Realty Advisors as they discuss changes their business will be making over the next 10-20 years, where they hope to see the most progress, and the single most effective thing fellow leaders can do today to really move the needle forward.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Mini Sessions: One Tree Planted Part I | Resilience Hubs: Centering People Over Disaster

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. One Tree Planted Part I: The Tree Planting Charity
    • Learn about One Tree Planted: what they do, how it works, and how you can help.
  2. Resilience Hubs: Centering People Over Disaster
    • Speakers: 
      • Chase Engelhardt, Climate Resolve
      • Kristin Baja, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
    • Resilience hubs are community centers that have been enhanced with resilient infrastructure (e.g. backup power). These spaces are community led, and community designed, so no two are alike. This session will provide an introduction into the framework of what resilience hubs are, their history, and their roots in mutual aid. We will then explore several different examples of existing resilience hubs and how they bolster everyday resilience in communities, and contrast this with resilience strategies that center disasters as part of their core concept framing. Finally, tools will be provided for participants to help them evaluate the assets and vulnerabilities in their own communities, and identify opportunities to build power for community resilience.
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Zero Carbon Leadership in Life Sciences: Going Beyond Buildings to Transforming the Industry

Zero carbon ambitions and science-based carbon reduction targets have recently been implemented in most global corporations and major institutions. Significant progress has been made in achieving net-zero carbon for corporate headquarters and commercial offices. However, most environmental impact and scope for organizational carbon reduction is embedded in their value chain for most organizations. The Life Science industry has a 55% higher carbon intensity than the automotive industry. Some of the most challenging aspects of their overall footprint are research laboratories and supply chains. In this session, representatives of leading corporations will discuss the specific, company-wide plans to achieve Zero Carbon buildings, operations, and supply chains. Additionally, we will learn how My Green Lab, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a global culture of sustainability in science, is helping life science corporations meet their zero-carbon goals.

Anaerobic Digestion: Its Role in Cutting Food Waste & Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In this session, the audience will learn about the federal government's effort to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by the year 2030. This goal includes supporting anaerobic digestion (AD) research and infrastructure throughout the U.S. You'll hear about AD's place in the Food Recovery Hierarchy, its economic and environmental impacts, key AD resources like the AgSTAR Project Development Handbook, the results of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's latest survey of AD operators nation-wide, and our AD grants program.

Leverage Points for Material Reuse: How to Drive Zero Carbon in the Supply Chain

Building material reuse is an unparalleled, though oft-overlooked, opportunity for reducing embodied carbon, while also diverting construction waste, protecting natural resources, and creating green jobs. But to achieve this we will need to stretch our thinking and re-examine our existing practices, mindsets, and supply chains. This interactive session will bring participants of all backgrounds to work together on how we make design for disassembly, deconstruction and material reuse a viable solution - exploring new business models, design approaches, and cultural acceptance needed to bring an inclusive, circular, and cooperative economy another step closer to reality.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Mini Sessions: Count Us In | Policy Frameworks and Roadmaps

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Count Us In: Protect What You Love
    • Speakers from Leaders' Quest and Future Stewards
    • Learn about how you can advance your climate commitment, quantify your impact, and have it all add up to something bigger.
  2. Policy Frameworks and Roadmaps
    • Speakers:
      • Ritika Dhamija, Verdical Group
      • Rebecca Ramsdale, Verdical Group
    • Join us as we talk about various measures that are being put in place around the world to holistically fight climate change. What is working and what could use some work?
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Microgrids: Finding the Balance - Resilience, Economics or Both?

This session will discuss various PV/Battery microgrid concepts based on actual projects, including creative strategies that are being used to deploy microgrids and how these strategies impact the design, function and benefits offered by a microgrid. Microgrids are being developed for a variety of uses. Some examples include: Utility Bill Reduction; Fire Season Resilience – providing a low cost solution allowing facilities to operate during daylight hours during one of California's multiday Public Safety Power Shutdowns; or Infrastructure Reduction – using a microgrid to avoid costly upgrades when adding additional load when adding additional loads to already highly loaded electrical systems. Optimizing the system to meet the often conflicting demands for the benefits a microgrid can offer is the key to success.

Stop Pissing Away Resources in our Community!

Most of our high performance buildings miss a critical opportunity to recover valuable nutrients that we are literally flushing down the toilet. This session will describe the very latest in resource recovery efforts from high strength waste. We will cover design basics, regulator issues, and the value proposition. We will end with a deep dive discussion into a growing circular economy that includes understanding net zero carbon fertilizer... a key aspect of a holistic net zero carbon future.

The New Climate Playbook: "Company Native" Strategies

The most ambitious companies are building sustainability programs into their actual products or business models. Driven by insights and data, Stripe lets companies direct a fraction of their revenue to carbon removal, and companies like Google are tweaking products like Google Maps to offer people more sustainable routes to travel. Imperfect Foods is designing the entire experience of grocery delivery to be net zero carbon. Are these programs effective, how can any business figure out what its unique climate levers are, and how do sustainability advocates convince leaders to invest in change? Taylor and Maddy would discuss how net zero strategies can adapt in line with business growth (including Imperfect Food's shift from produce to all groceries), and how better data can inform day-to-day decisions to move products (from ingredients and packaging, in Imperfect Food's case) and operations (from fulfilment centers to delivery vehicles) closer to net zero.

Operationalizing 'Zero Over Time'

The proliferation of data has now made it possible to assess your buildings' ideal pathway to net-zero, factoring in both optimal returns and the actual lifecycle of your buildings' assets. Conveniently, this pathway often coincides with one that optimizes your buildings' sale value, whether or not you plan to sell in the near future. This session will go into depth on several topics related to the optimization of building value through energy efficiency.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Mini Sessions: One Tree Planted Part II | HeartFoods Community Farms: A Food Waste-to-Food Operation

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. One Tree Planted Part II: What is Reforestation?
    • Learn more about the importance of our reforestation, including site selection, process, and benefits for our local communities and ecosystem.
  2. HeartFoods Community Farms: A Food Waste-to-Food Operation
    • Speaker: Mark Buehrer, 2020 ENGINEERING
    • HeartFoods community farms operate a revolutionary food waste-to-food production system with a closed loop, net zero design, to protect and restore the environment, create a local circular economy, and provide a sustainable solution to the global food crisis. Fresh organic foods are grown year-round in a local operation using recycled nutrients, carbon, water and energy from local food wastes. The Net Zero goals include: Net Zero Waste, Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water and Net Zero Carbon. The unique food waste-to-food process includes cleantech components such as an anaerobic/fermentation digester, fuel cells, passive and active solar, geothermal and rainwater harvesting. The HeartFoods community farms addresses all four parts of the world's food system that must be transformed, that is: Production, Processing, Distribution and Consumption.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Conscious Consumerism: How to Vote with Your Wallet

Conscious Consumerism is on the rise and companies are taking note. Consumers are beginning to value the social, economic and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. In this way, people are "voting with their wallet" or buying sustainable products, from companies that represent values which matter to them the most. This engaging session will dive into conscious consumerism as well as the key obstacles that the fashion and beauty industries face today. In an attempt to meet the sustainable shopping demand of consumers, greenwashing inevitably occurs – or providing misleading information about the environmental integrity of a company. In order to combat this, our goal is to establish a foundation for consumers to implement sustainable practices in their shopping patterns. Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of how they can make the seamless transition to conscious consumerism.

Drawdown Decade: Climate Action Commitments in the Building Industry

As of 2021, we know that operation and construction of buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Although the building industry continues to work toward reducing our impact, we need to do more, and faster, in order to mitigate the worst damage caused by climate change. This session will daylight recently-announced climate action commitments within the building industry. The discussion will weave a connecting thread between firm-level commitments such as Miller Hull's EMission Zero, industry-wide campaigns, and global initiatives such as the Science-Based Target Initiative. This session will conclude with an outlook towards integrating these pathways to take climate action. Session attendees will take away strategies for developing their own initiatives, in application to their own firms and projects.

Get Your Gas Out of the Kitchen: Make it Electric

Traditional kitchens, be they in residences, restaurants, or large commercial operations, typically contain a combination of gas and electric appliances. Irrespective of where they are, truly all-electric kitchens, that is, with no fossil fuel-based energy source, reflect decarbonization goals. This panel, composed of chefs and architects, focuses strictly on kitchens, since the ovens, cooktops and ranges in them often represent a key opportunity to reduce overall natural gas usage. The challenges of existing infrastructure and cultural preferences are legitimate, but not insurmountable. As a means of overcoming these barriers, this panel will describe electric kitchen technologies, present pros and cons, especially in terms of performance, health benefits and greenhouse gas reductions, and present design considerations for all-electric kitchens in a range of project types.

Climate Modeling for a Resilient Future

Developers evaluate a multitude of data, but one of the greatest variables they face is the impacts of climate change. Energy models rely on historic data to predict energy performance and energy usage. And energy audits analyze historical data to estimate future energy savings. That historic data is giving way to forward-looking trends around increased climate risks like changes in precipitation, rising temperatures, severity and locations of hurricanes, and sea level rise. We will introduce concepts to support developers that are interested in implementing future-informed climate models in their strategy. This session addresses design strategies to respond to climate change rather than to prevent climate change. The session will include a comparison of modeled results based on historical weather data versus predicted climate data.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Net Zero Conference Opening Remarks

Drew Shula opens day two of the Net Zero Conference with opening remarks set against a beautiful backdrop of a pristine Maine lake, where he was born and raised. Shula is the Founder & CEO of Verdical Group, and the Founder of the Net Zero Conference. He shares his Top 5 climate activist influencers to follow, and his Top 5 current trends in the sustainability world today. What's in your top 5? Light up the chat in our virtual platform. Shula discusses the courage required to take on radical transformation toward a low carbon economy, comparing our collective global climate action to "turning a tanker." The Net Zero Conference is about inspiring change, sharing cutting edge content, and making a dent in the universe. Shula closes with a special memorial message for green building leader Lance Hosey, AIA Fellow, LEED Fellow, who passed away August 27, 2021. 

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Expo [Virtual]
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
KEYNOTES: Dr. Kimberley R. Miner | Jedidiah Jenkins

Join us for the following Keynote sessions:

  1. Dr. Kimberley R. Miner, Climate Scientist
    • Dr. Kimberley R. Miner is a Scientist and Systems Engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in California, where she researches and forecasts climate risks. Her work has taken her to the most extreme environments in the world- from Antarctica to Mt. Everest- where her team secured a Guinness World Record for identifying the highest altitude pollutants. Dr. Miner’s research has been highlighted by CBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, GQ, and Sports Illustrated. Before coming to NASA, she worked with the Department of Defense in Washington DC, assessing climate risks to national interests. Dr. Miner is a Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security and Co-chair of the NASA HQ Interagency Forum on Climate Risks, Impacts, and Adaptation. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (MPA) and the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute (Ph.D.), where she was a Fulbright, Switzer, and Department of Defense fellow. She is a Black belt, certified Wilderness Firefighter and First Responder, and mom to a lively cattledog.
  2. Jedidiah Jenkins, NYT Best Selling Author and Entrepreneur 
    • Join this conversation between Jedidiah Jenkins and Verdical Group's Karen (KYo) Young as they discuss ways to reconnect with nature and the importance of reusable mugs.
    • Jedidiah Jenkins is a travel writer and public speaker. He has written two books, ‘To Shake The Sleeping Self’ a memoir about cycling 14,000 from Oregon to Patagonia. And ‘Like Streams to the Ocean,’ a collection of essays about love, family, friendship and career. He is Executive Editor of Wilderness Magazine. He is also co-founder of Byta, a travel mug designed to change the way we drink and promote a reusable economy.
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Mini Sessions: Keilhauer | Building Decarbonization Practice Guide

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Keilhauer: Designing for the Environment
    • Provoking, iconic, and covetable, Keilhauer is recognized around the world for design excellence. Every piece in our expansive offering features unparalleled craftsmanship, thoughtful details, and incredible comfort. Made from the finest materials, and with the utmost consideration for the environment, we believe that everyone deserves to be made a little more comfortable. For more information, contact Keilhauer at 1-800-724-5665 or visit
  2. Intro to the Building Decarbonization Practice Guide 
    • Speaker: Kyle Pickett, William J Worthen Foundation
    • The Design Professional’s Practice Guide to Decarbonization of the Built Environment offers the practice knowledge architects and engineers need to understand, scope, and integrate cost-effective systems in the design process. This resource presents how to evaluate alternative systems, plan for the impacts of all electric building system solutions, and how to navigate the complex Code-compliance issues that are presented by the use of natural gas systems as the baseline for Code-required energy performance in a concise and visual format.
10:00 AM - 11:03 AM
Net Zero from a Utility Perspective

Leading utility providers come together to discuss their most exciting new initiatives and interact with audience members in a virtual Q&A session.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Mini Sessions: GBES | Plant Based Buildings to Achieve Net Positive Whole Life Carbon

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. GBES 
    • Learn about how GBES can help you pass your green building credential exam.
  2. Plant Based Buildings to Achieve Net Positive Whole Life Carbon
    • Speakers:
      • Padraig McMorrow, IBI Group
      • Ari Bose, IBI Group
      • Adam Weis, IBI Group
      • Kira Hunt, IBI Group
      • Michelle Roelofs, ARUP
    • The urgent need for solutions to mitigate climate change has motivated IBI Group to develop a prototype Mass Timber building using plant-fibre materials for structure, insulation, and finishes. This prototype building is a viable solution to reorienting the construction industry as a leader in the new green economy. Beyond this immediate solution we have charted a process for our system to utilize fast growing plant materials including bamboo, cork, cellulose, hemp, and straw, reducing demand for high-value non-renewable resources. The project included an investigation of biomimicry strategies to further improve the sustainability of the design. Our design supports circular economies, using regenerative local agriculture practices to produce bulk insulation materials that store CO2 in the built environment and soil. Our mass timber solution has a net positive carbon footprint, and is ready for construction in today’s regulatory and industry supply chain.
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
LEED Safety First Pilot Credits for Climate Resilience

Join us as we share strategies that were used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that can be translated to preparing for a more resilient facility and workforce in the face of expected future disruptions from climate change.

Achieving 24/7 Carbon Free Energy for Buildings and Cities

Google has committed to running entirely on 24/7 carbon-free energy – everywhere, at all times – by 2030. Through this goal, Google aims to prove electric decarbonization is possible – and create pathways for others to follow. A key element of success will be improving access to detailed energy data and modeling. That's why Google has partnered with Tomorrow, a company building data transparency technology for everyone to better understand their own electricity usage. Together, Google and Tomorrow are helping propel the movement towards a cleaner grid for all. Through partnerships and access to better tools, we can tackle the hurdles that stand in the way of a clean energy transition and help other companies and cities make similar commitments towards a carbon-free future.

USGBC-LA Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) - Inside the Box

To bring net zero innovation to scale requires de-risking, fine tuning and piloting new approaches and technologies to prepare for broad adoption. Join us as companies from the USGBC Los Angeles Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) cohort present how they are solving for IAQ, energy efficiency, and waste management “inside the box” (or, as we say, the building envelope). These thought leaders and change makers are now seeking guidance and pilot opportunities from our community to help them—and by extension all of us—increase occupant health, building decarbonization, and circular economies.

Presenting companies include: Clean Robotics; HydroidMeter; HyperBorean; Origen Air; Peak Power; Thermenex; and Wynd. All of which will have key representatives in the Chat for Q&A and will also have virtual exhibit booths.

The Race to Net Zero: Implementing the CCC's Climate Change and Sustainability Resolution

As the California Community Colleges continue to demonstrate leadership within the State by setting ambitious goals for a more sustainable future, the San Bernardino Community College district has met this challenge head on. Since adopting its own sustainability plan, SBCCD has spent the last decade on the path toward building a cleaner environment and sustainable future for the community it serves. The steps taken and commitments made in educating and partnering with industry, architectural, and engineering experts, have positioned the district to achieve the Chancellor's Office Climate Change and Sustainability Resolution Goals for 2030. Recent district projects such as the new Technical Education project at Valley College exemplify these goals and achievements in pursuit of a net zero future.

Climate Resilient Infrastructure Design Options for Residential Buildings, India

Replicable residential design options are proposed in Tier 2 cities which show great potential growth, for the 5 distinctive climate zones of India, by incorporating an "Integrative Design approach." This provides the user contingent choices, amalgamating passive & active techniques, which in turn provides an integrated design of buildings. The user can opt for a design option from four levels of energy efficiency cases, which are arrived at based on careful selection of Building Envelope, Lighting, Ventilation, and choice of Material & Equipment. The iterations help the user systematically evaluate, the best-case scenario with respect to Energy performance, Carbon dioxide emission, Daylighting & Natural ventilation analysis, Cost-Benefit & Life Cycle Analysis, thereby able to mitigate the adverse effects of Climate change on the built structure.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Mini Sessions: Climate Justice Can't Happen Without Racial Justice | Zero Carbon to Zero Disparities: Integrating Climate Change with UN SDGs

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Climate Justice Can't Happen Without Racial Justice
    • Speaker: David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England
    • Thanks to TED Countdown for allowing us to share this important content from their 2020 Countdown event. Why has there been so little mention of saving Black lives from the climate emergency? For too long, racial justice efforts have been distinguished from climate justice work, says David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England. In a stirring talk about building a new movement to care for the planet, Lammy calls for inclusion and support of Black and minority leadership on climate issues and a global recognition that we can't solve climate change without racial, social and intergenerational justice.
  2. Zero Carbon to Zero Disparities: Integrating Climate Change with UN SDGs
    • Speaker: Samiksha Gadodia, The Green Ink Studio
    • UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on an equitable, just and sustainable developments. The session focuses on what these goals are, challenges faced by developing and under-developed nations in implementing these goals and why is it important to achieve these goals to fight climate emergency. The discussion also revolves around the economic benefits and stakeholder management for achieving the SDGs. We will discuss on how different nations around the world have come up with different opportunities for a net zero carbon future and zero disparities among the citizens followed by steps various other nations can take to overcome their challenges. After all, climate emergency and environmental issues aren't limited to a few nations. The world needs to come together and fight towards a better future. Go Green!
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Skin Deep: The Facade System as Gateway to Resilience and Sustainability Goals in Buildings

As the nexus of myriad considerations, the building skin combines attributes of both performance and appearance like nothing else in architecture. Explore the potent influence of the facade system in the pursuit of critical resilience and sustainability goals for buildings and urban habitat.

Pathways to Limiting Embodied Carbon in Concrete

From the perspectives of a policymaker, an engineer, a concrete supply specialist, and an architect, this panel will focus on emerging paths to achieve lower embodied carbon and global warming potential in concrete. Two panelists have lead roles in The Bay Area Built Environment Embodied Emissions Project, aiming to reduce embodied emissions in the built environment by creating local specifications and model policies for low embodied-carbon concrete, developed through a robust regional stakeholder engagement process. The panel will discuss lessons learned from one 9-story, Type IB concrete affordable housing building and how to ensure the subcontractors are given latitude to meet carbon goals. A sustainability expert in the concrete supply industry will discuss the parameters and constraints of add-mixtures, mix design, and global warming potential.

The Nuts and Bolts of Zero Energy Schools in Baltimore

Planning a Zero Energy building is no easy task, especially for resource constrained school districts looking to provide world-class schools that can integrate teaching, learning, and equitable sustainable design. This session will cover the cost-shifting strategies of energy-efficient design with a focus on zero carbon operation and using the building as a teaching tool for two new urban Zero Energy Pre-K through Grade 8 public schools in an under-resourced neighborhood in Baltimore City with high poverty rates. Additionally, the session will share how the design of this prototype school exceeds the educational goals of the for student-centered learning, collaborative spaces, and community use integration. The panelists will share challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned for zero energy strategies, user behavior outreach, and ongoing occupant training.

The Global Race to Net Zero: Commercial Real Estate Strategies

Net zero is an important part of restoring our Earth. Join us from leaders within the industry to map out new targets from ULI Greenprint, Better Building Challenge, and Science Based Targets along with methods for how to achieve Net Zero targets through energy efficiency, power grid electrification, onsite and offsite renewables, embodied carbon and circular economy strategies. You'll receive practical steps with case studies on setting targets and strategies for real estate portfolios to achieve Net Zero and stabilize Earth's climate.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Mini Sessions: All Hands on Deck!: Join the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon | Humanizing Resilience in a Net Zero World

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. All Hands on Deck!: Join the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to Help Build the Next Generation
    • Speaker: Holly Jamesen Carr, U.S. Department of Energy
    • As a practicing architect or engineer, you may think you’ve missed out on your chance to participate in the Solar Decathlon, a collegiate competition from the U.S. Department of Energy which challenges student teams to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings powered by renewables. Think again! The Solar Decathlon now offers new opportunities for professionals to participate as mentors, design and industry partners, and as learners. Join this session for an update on all that’s new for the 2022-2023 Solar Decathlon and how you can get involved!
  2. Humanizing Resilience in a Net Zero World
    • Speaker: Ben Stapleton, USGBC-LA
    • With so many optimistic commitments happening recently, we need to humanize the work we are doing. The struggle for progress is eternal. This is the human journey, and we need to take joy in the small moments of triumph. USGBC-LA is committed to helping the local community through various workshops, the new Green Building Corps, a new Talent Portal, a centralized hub for jobs, trainings, and free recorded content, and the Net Zero Accelerator program, which is highlighting 15 exciting startups in 2021. USGBC-LA encourages you to be engaged in creating a more sustainable future for all. Learn more at
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Using Sustainable Economics to Decarbonize SFO's Central Utility Plant Cost-Effectively

Almost 85% of SFO's Scope 1 & 2 emissions derive from its natural gas-powered CUP. To reduce this, the airport is considering four alternative CUP options: one being gas-powered and three all-electric heat recovery chiller plant designs with various levels of water use. SFO wants to choose an option that: eliminates natural gas; dramatically reduces water usage; reduces the electrical load impact; and minimizes life cycle costs. This session showcases how SFO monetized the lifetime triple bottom line impacts of each option. It will then highlight how they are able to use these results to justify an all-electric option with a higher upfront cost due to its lifetime savings. Lastly, it will illustrate the contribution of this design toward SFO's carbon reduction and sustainability goals.

Moving from Zero Energy to Zero Carbon Buildings: Market Leaders' Perspectives

Net zero energy has been the north star for high-performance buildings for more than ten years, but the target is quickly shifting to net zero carbon. This change in definitions might seem abstract, but it drives real changes for building designers, owners, efficiency programs, regulators, and others. In this session, a panel of buildings industry market leaders will present key zero carbon building goals, standards, and programs. These include USGBC's LEED Zero program, ASHRAE Standard 228p (zero net energy and zero net carbon building performance evaluation), ULI Greenprint Center's Net Zero Carbon goals, and NBI's Getting to Zero building database tracking and analysis. This panel will discuss key frameworks, definitions, and market implications of today's shift from zero energy to zero carbon buildings.

Prioritizing Resilience in Climate-Responsive Housing

Zero-carbon housing design should prioritize long-term robust building operations and community resilience. Driven by statewide GHG targets, reach codes, R&D investment and industry innovation have pushed rapid electrification in affordable housing. Electrification holds promise for long-term community health and well-being. But when the policies and investments originate with state drawdown goals, the co-imperative of resilient housing can take a back seat. This panel will discuss lessons learned from the perspectives of policy, development, technology, and design in prioritizing resilience and equity in climate-responsive housing. Speakers will address recommendations for how decarbonization policies might foreground equity and resilience concerns, a review of technical challenges in multifamily buildings, and tools to enhance design decisions and communication with residents.

Embodied Carbon Storage in Mixed-Use Infill Construction

Bio-based materials are a promising way to store carbon in buildings, as agricultural materials pull carbon out of the air on an annual basis. Some bio-based materials have gained a following, but are generally confined to single-family or low-rise, specialty projects. If we are to reach a net zero carbon built environment by 2050, including embodied carbon, we must find a way to scale up the use of these materials. With this case study we offer the San Francisco Bay Area and wider community a prototype to demonstrate – using the BEAM Calculator Tool – how carbon-storing (i.e. bio-based) materials can be scaled to larger residential buildings, California's most desperately needed building type. Included are examples in several other developed countries where they have scaled to bio-based materials to larger, taller construction.

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Job Opportunities: Find Your Career in Climate Action

Meet the Portals that are housing some of the best Climate Action career opportunities:

  • USGBC-LA  |  Speaker: Ben Stapleton
  • USGBC National  |  Speaker: Jenny Wiedower 
  • Climate Resolve  |  Speaker: Kristina von Hoffmann
  • Green Jobs Network  |  Speaker: Leonard Adler
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Expo [Virtual]
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
KEYNOTE: Edison International

Join us for the following Keynote session:

  1. Caroline Choi, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs
    • Caroline Choi is senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, and its parent company, Edison International. Choi oversees Corporate Communications, Corporate Philanthropy, Government Affairs and Public Affairs on national, state and local levels. Previously, Choi served as senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs at SCE and was responsible for the company’s regulatory strategy and policy, including regulatory affairs, regulatory operations and environmental affairs. Choi also served as SCE vice president of Energy and Environmental Policy and oversaw the analysis of energy and environmental policies; development of a long-term environmental, energy and technology strategy; and management of regulatory efforts at the California Public Utilities Commission and other state energy and environmental agencies. Before joining SCE in 2012, Choi was executive director of Environmental Services & Strategy at Progress Energy (now Duke Energy), where she led environmental permitting, compliance and policy. Choi’s other roles at Progress Energy included director of Energy Policy & Strategy and manager of Federal Public Affairs. Choi is active in national policy and community engagement. She serves on the board of Smart Electric Power Alliance, a nationwide organization that supports the implementation and deployment of clean energy and distributed resources. She also chairs the board of Veloz, a non-profit dedicated to accelerating the shift to electric transportation through public-private collaboration and public engagement. In addition, she is a member of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Statewide Leadership Council and serves on the boards of the Electric Transportation Community Development Corporation and National Forest Foundation. Choi holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College.
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Mini Session: Metropolis - Getting Interiors to Net Zero

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Session:

  1. Metropolis - Getting Interiors to Net Zero
    • Speaker: Avinash (Avi) Rajagopal, Metropolis
    • We all need to fight climate change. Yes, Interior Designers too.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Meet the Primes Building a Net Zero Future

General Contractors have a unique opportunity to incorporate sustainability into the construction process and are responsible for building and bringing to life the design team’s intent for high performance and net zero buildings. During this session, you will hear from nationally leading prime contractors, responsible for hiring diverse suppliers, to hear what they’re looking for in subcontractor partners, and what it takes to deliver some of the most sustainable projects in the country. You’ll learn green building best practices, hear about real-world case studies, and meet the sustainability leaders on the ground building a net zero future.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Mini Sessions: Climate Change is our Reality. Here's How We're Taking Action | 5 Things You Need to Know to be Net Zero Ready

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Climate Change is our Reality. Here's How We're Taking Action
    • Speakers: Al Gore, Gloria Kasang Bulus, nana Firman, Ximena Loria and Tim Guinee
    • Thanks to TED Countdown for allowing us to share this important content from their 2020 Countdown event. With the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore is helping mold future leaders to build the movement for climate survival and social justice from the ground up. He introduces us to four of the Project's graduates, each of whom confronts climate change on their own terms: Ximena Loría, founder of Misión 2 Grados, an NGO influencing public policy in Central America; Nana Firman, "daughter of the rainforest" and advocate for climate justice among Indigenous peoples; Gloria Kasang Bulus, a Nigerian activist for women and education; and Tim Guinee, a first responder and climate change fighter in upstate New York. Together, they're gathering local actors into a global, grassroots movement that aims to turn the climate fight around.
  2. 5 Things You Need to Know to be Net Zero Ready
    • Speaker: Emma Hughes, U.S. Green Building Council
    • What happens when we take lessening the impact of buildings on the environment to the next level? For more than two decades, LEED has provided a framework for high performance buildings and spaces, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through strategies impacting land, energy, transportation, water, waste and materials. Building on that work, USGBC has developed LEED Zero, a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals in existing buildings. This mini session will leave you with five key things to know to be net zero ready!
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Designing for Decarbonization: Pathways to All-Electric Multifamily Residences

Residential communities form a cornerstone of a climate-adaptive, resilient future, such that carbon reduction technologies and associated measures that improve health, equity and resilience for people in their homes promise multiplying benefits to society, if executed with such priorities in mind. Multifamily residential buildings in particular present significant opportunities for decarbonization; the 24 hours/day operation of these buildings has great implications for energy use, occupant health and comfort, and indoor air quality demands in every season and location. This panel will lay out both the unique challenges and technical solutions to create socially just, comfortable, and healthy living spaces while achieving decarbonization goals.

Do Building Materials Create Social Injustice?

Every product has a social impact footprint. What goes into a building may have complex and destructive supply chains that affect people beyond the direct building end-users. This session will be an eye-opening discussion on the various groups of people impacted by typical building material supply chains. You will discover important links between materials and people, and understand how to make smart decisions for product selection in order to support a transition to a more resilient and socially just world.

The Dirty Secret of Electrification, and What You Can Do About It!

As we move towards decarbonizing our built environment, one glaring challenge with all-electric buildings is hidden in plain sight. The shift towards electric heating and cooling systems like heat pumps and VRF have also substantially increased refrigerant use. Over a 60-year life of a building, refrigerant leakage and disposal from mechanical systems can be as high as 20% of the building's whole life carbon emissions. Using whole life carbon project case studies, we will discuss the necessary steps to reduce environmental impacts of refrigerants. We will also showcase best practices and strategies that designers/engineers can use to incorporate zero or low GWP refrigerants in their projects. Project Drawdown identifies refrigerant management as the number one climate solution and our presentation will show the reason why.

Zoning Policy for a Net Zero Boston

In 2019 Mayor Marty Walsh committed to making the City of Boston carbon neutral by 2050. In 2020 the City began developing regulations to neutralize the emissions of its building stock. Currently, all city-funded affordable housing is required to be zero net carbon (ZNC) with most if not all of its energy produced on-site. As of 2020 all new municipal buildings will be zero-net carbon, and in 2021 the City is expected to enact legislation that requires all new buildings over 50,000 GSF to demonstrate carbon neutrality. Amidst a boom in high EUI laboratory construction, the standards are putting the potential of a carbon-neutral future to the test. This session will include representatives from the City of Boston and the consulting engineers developing the standard.

USGBC-LA Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) - Outside the Box

This is Part II of yesterday's USGBC-LA Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) - Inside the Box session.

To bring net zero innovation to scale requires de-risking, fine tuning and piloting new approaches and technologies to prepare for broad adoption. Join us as companies from the USGBC Los Angeles Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) cohort present how they are solving for analyzing and acting on data both inside and literally “outside the box” (beyond the building). These thought leaders and change makers are now seeking guidance and pilot opportunities from our community to help them—and by extension all of us—increase decarbonization, clean construction, financing, and systems-level change across portfolios, communities and entire cities.

Presenting companies include: Dynamhex; National Energy USA; PACEfi; Verdigris; VERO; YellowTin; and Zero. All of which will have key representatives in the Chat for Q&A and will also have virtual exhibit booths.

12:30 PM - 1:02 PM
Mini Sessions: Enhancing Passive Systems for Thermal Resilience | Unlocking New Revenue Streams for Real Estate while De-Carbonizing Energy Markets

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Enhancing Passive Systems for Thermal Resilience
    • Speaker: Aylin Ozkan, RWDI
    • In the face of climate change, and as building codes and standards evolve to promote increased building energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprints, it is also important to ensure that buildings can withstand prolonged power outages during extreme weather events to provide habitable shelter passively. This presentation will focus on going beyond typical compliance energy modelling procedures, in order to demonstrate a new approach to guide early stages of building design to improve passive performance through time-based thermal resilience metrics. It will highlight the critical measures that need to be addressed effectively to achieve high levels of thermal autonomy and passive habitability and provide practical examples of how the methodology is applied in professional practice.
  2. Unlocking New Revenue Streams for Real Estate while De-Carbonizing Energy Markets
    • Speakers:
      • Elena Bondareva, Vivit
      • Sheree Ip, Power Ledger - Australia
      • Nat Chanitsorn, BCPG - Thailand
    • How do we prepare for a clean-energy future where we design, build, operate, and inhabit grid-interactive buildings? The real estate industry has amassed a proportional response to the energy efficiency, embodied carbon, and net-zero challenges. Still, it has remained a largely passive consumer of energy. This simply won’t do for long because the future of energy is interactive: energy has shifted from a “perishable” commodity to a tradable one. You may have heard that if you are not using your credit cards to earn rewards, you are subsidizing other people’s holidays. Well, the same holds here: if you are not mobilizing your asset, you are leaving money on the table. As an industry, we have another opportunity to step up, transforming the CapEx and OpEx business cases while slashing the costs of “doing the right thing.” See how net-zero targets can be met via the marketing budget; how every dollar spent on the RECs credits of LEED do more to fight climate change; and how a real estate asset can be an asset for the grid even without a solar panel or a battery.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Park - First Step to Net Zero Water

By 2050, the population in California is expected to rise to 50 million people while our rainfall is projected to decrease by 10-15% due to climate change. Locally, the City of Los Angeles loses 100 billion gallons of water a year do to stormwater runoff through a largely impermeable drainage system. AHBE/MIG, Paul Murdoch Architects (PMA) and PACE Water Engineering has developed a park in South Los Angeles for the County of Los Angeles that is a model for renovating an aging park and creating a 21st Century facility that not only addresses how Southern California might implement the capture and reuse of our stormwater runoff but adds a much needed amenity to an underserved community.

Successes and Challenges in Adopting Buy Clean California Act

Aiming to reduce embodied carbon emissions in certain construction materials, the City of Los Angeles will be the first city to fully adopt and implement the Buy Clean California Act (AB262). BCCA is state legislation that requires an Environmental Product Declaration and sets maximum global warming potential limits. The City is establishing the standard for all capital improvement projects to meet BCCA requirements as of July 1st at the local level. This presentation will provide an overview of the BCCA, the process of adopting these requirements into project delivery, and share the successes including collaboration efforts with material manufacturers and organizations, lessons learned as well as challenges such as adding concrete to the mix.

Building Performance Simulation Strategies and Tools

Building Performance Simulation (BPS) is a set of computer-generated calculations that help designers compare design options and predict anticipated energy consumption, daylight availability, thermal and visual comfort in buildings. BPS is key to reach Zero Net Energy and Carbon Neutrality in building design. A diverse group of experts from Arup, WRNS Studio, ENERlite Consulting, and Lionakis will discuss their methods and tools to reach those goals. In this session, the results of a survey about BPS strategies will be reviewed, followed by a discussion with four experts about their design workflow and the tools they use. Strengths and limitations of the tools, quality assurance of the outputs, benefits and challenges of BPS will be discussed.

Cost-Effective ZNE Retrofit Solutions and ZEV in Underserved Markets

Improving climate equity is an emerging policy imperative at the national level. Zero net energy retrofits are of key importance for building decarbonization and are more challenging than ZNE in new construction. Buildings will also be increasingly interactive with the transportation sector as the latter is electrified. This panel will describe a small commercial ZNE retrofit toolkit that provides replicable, integrated whole-building retrofit packages that enables small commercial multi-floor office spaces to achieve energy use intensities equivalent to ZNE through cost-effective, underutilized technologies and controls; case study examples of successful commercial building retrofits in the Bay Area which have been leased out in record time; and a modeling case study of single family residential ZNE retrofits and vehicle electrification in two disadvantaged neighborhoods in Fresno.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Mini Sessions: Cities are Driving Climate Change. Here's How They Can Fix It | Greenbuild Presents: Developing a Corporate Sustainability Program

During this featured break, you can watch the following Mini-Sessions:

  1. Cities are Driving Climate Change. Here's How They Can Fix It
    • Speaker: Angel Hsu, Climate and Data Scientist
    • Thanks to TED Countdown for allowing us to share this important content from their 2020 Countdown event. Cities pump out 70 percent of all global carbon emissions -- which means they also have the greatest opportunity to lower CO2 levels and energy consumption. Climate and data scientist Angel Hsu shares how cities around the world are leading the response to climate change by innovating new, low-carbon ways of living.
  2. Greenbuild Presents: Developing a Corporate Sustainability Program - Lessons Learned from Informa’s CSO
    • Speaker: Ben Wielgus, Informa
    • Developing a Sustainability Program is often less a linear path and more a winding journey with successes, challenges and surprises along the way. Informa PLC. is a FTSE 100 company, and parent company of the Greenbuild International Conference + Expo. In this session, Informa’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Ben Wielgus, discusses his path to implementing a rapidly growing and constantly improving program. He’ll discuss what his team learned from missteps along the way, and how he sees the role of the sustainability professional evolving to become one of integral leadership in the organization.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Retrofits on the Fly: The Best Low Carbon Diet

Retrofitting, adaptive reuse, and renovation of existing buildings accounts for nearly half of U.S. architecture billings. However, building analysis is often time-consuming and cost-prohibitive, discouraging owners to move towards energy-efficiency with their current stock. This session discusses simple, cost-effective evaluation tools that can quickly identify pinch points, and result in more comfortable indoor conditions, and reduced operational and embodied carbons. Using Hawaii Department of Education's districtwide heat abatement program and a California multi-housing renovation project, among other case studies, we'll present a tool kit of design and engineering strategies that can be employed for any existing building. By improving what already exists, we can reduce waste and carbon while bettering communities; a payback that goes beyond utility bills.

Visit Tomorrow Today at Netzeroland!

Disneyland is of course an iconic place deeply woven into the history and cultural fabric of Southern California. While the theme park might seem an unlikely topic for the Net Zero conference, we invite you to join us in reimagining its "Tomorrowland" attraction as "Netzeroland." "The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future." ~ Walt Disney Our panel will examine the most forward-thinking concepts and disciplines of our net zero, sustainability, and nature-inspired communities and fold them into a new vision for what today's Tomorrow might look like as a theme park attraction. This reimagining of a "living future" could serve as a marquee showcase for net positive impact.

Equitable, Resilient Transition to Building Electrification

California has goals to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate climate change. In addition to decarbonizing the electric grid and electrifying transportation, building decarbonization is key to meeting GHG targets. Building electrification will require changes for new and existing buildings. Through this transition, how will low-income communities and other vulnerable receive benefits and not be left stranded? As the impacts of climate change become more pronounced and disruptions in power supply become more likely, how can buildings more reliant of electricity be resilient, affordable, and safe? This presentation will examine these issues and will draw on findings of a study to examine the implications of electrification from an equity and resilience perspective, with a focus on buildings and end-users.

How Low Can You Go? Embodied Carbon Panel

Breaking down silos, how we can work together to reduce embodied carbon on the ownership, design, and construction teams.

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Expo [Outdoor, In-Person] - L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles

The Terrace at L.A. LIVE  |  Los Angeles, California

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Trailblazer Awards Gala [Outdoor, In-Person] - L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles

The Terrace at L.A. LIVE  |  Los Angeles, California

Time Zone: (UTC-07:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) [Change Time Zone]

Will I be able to earn CEUs for attending the virtual event?

Yes. Attendees can self-report their hours for the Net Zero Conference. Our virtual platform allows us to track session registration and attendance -- if you would like to request a certificate after the event, please contact us at Our attendees typically self-report to USGBC, AIA, and ILFI.


Health and Safety Update, as of September 6, 2021:

The in-person portions of the Net Zero Conference on Thursday, 9/16 will adhere to official government, local, and venue-specific guidance regarding COVID-19. Currently, our policy is the following:

When inside at the L.A. LIVE venue, we'll require guests wear masks into the lobby and elevators then they can remove their masks once upstairs in the open-air outdoor roof deck area where the event will take place. If you don’t wear a mask outdoors, you are self-attesting that they have been vaccinated or tested negative. Given the increase in community transmission of COVID-19 and the growing presence of the more easily spread Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads much more easily than strains of the virus that circulated in LA in the past.