Net Zero Buildings Week Spotlights Heroes, Resources

During the second Net Zero Buildings Week , June 13-17, over 250 partners (see list below) shared stories, building project examples, and resources about net zero energy and carbon neutral buildings on social media. This year’s theme “Net Zero Heroes worked to elevate the stories of the people behind these commercial and residential buildings. Organizations around the world, representing multiple segments of the built environment, used the hashtag #NetZeroNow on social media to connect and share resources, as well as some truly remarkable buildings. The results were exciting. The campaign reached well over 20 million impressions on social media with engagement spanning 34 different countries. The outcomes of the collaborative messaging proved that:

  • there is a large and growing market for net zero building, and
  • by working together, we can continue to build the demand and professional capacity to develop them. 

Honoring the champions

Organizations such as ICLEI took the opportunity to make the work of getting to zero in the built environment personal by celebrating the advocacy of climate leaders such as Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, “I’m proud to say that the City of Hoboken is an enthusiastic participant in the Race to Zero. The City of Hoboken knows firsthand that climate change is real and we need to take bold action now to protect future generations. “

Twitter chats were a highlight of the week and provided insight via polling on the hot topics net zero professionals are talking about today. Featured experts in varied disciplines discussed “Net Zero Solutions to Climate Change.” The group discussed how buildings can be positioned as solutions to the climate challenge and shared advice for the next generation of building professionals. Participants included Ralph DiNola CEO of NBI, Sarah Sutton from Environment and Culture Partners, Fiona Cousins from Arup, Debbie Karpay Weyl of World Resources Institute, Marge Anderson from Slipstream, Pagan Poggione from Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and Eric Corey Freed from CannonDesign.  A poll during the Twitter Chat found that building electrification is currently one of the hottest topics in the industry. Eric Corey Freed ended the conversation by reminding us of the urgent need for action, “There’s no such thing as a 2050 climate plan…You need to be taking bold action today to achieve it. Remember, 2030 is just 90 months away!”

Featuring buildings and best practice

GSA shared its first near net zero building, the 104 year-old Wayne Aspinall Federal Building in Grand Junction, Colorado, demonstrating that existing buildings can be high performing. NBI shared verified net zero energy buildings from Leaders Circle firms including the Discovery Elementary School designed by VMDO Architects. The school was designed to be a teaching tool and is the first school to achieve the USGBC’s LEED Zero Energy Certification. One of AIA’s tweets debunked the cost-myth of net zero buildings, sharing a case study and advice on how to design net-zero ready buildings on a budget. The most popular tweet of the week was shared by DOE’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with a video describing what makes a building net zero.

Working together, the partner organizations successfully showed the world that there are legions of passionate people working on many fronts to decarbonize the built environment. As NBI Board President and Slipstream EVP Marge Anderson put it, “Our collective power is greater than we think.” Her advice to us all is, “Work together with neighbors and building pros to demand local and state policies that bring #NetZeroNow to scale in our hometowns.”

Keep using the #NetZeroNow hashtag to share resources and accomplishments and our collaborative will continue to pass them on. Take a deep dive into the items already spotlighted by searching LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for #NetZeroNow.

Thank you to all who participated!

by Erin Murphy, Marketing Engagement Manager, New Buildings Institute





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