In the first Expert Exchange webinar we talk about net-zero (and beyond) energy use in our buildings—why achieving it is important and some strategies for getting there. This topic is garnering a lot of attention as electric grid infrastructure is disrupted by more frequent extreme weather events and the effects of greenhouse gases from fossil-fueled energy demand action. In response, many high-performance home designers and builders advocate for on-site energy production. Having a resilient and renewable power source is critical at this time in human history. Representing a wide range of climate zones, the panelists address the net-zero-energy objective in terms of both new construction and existing buildings. HVAC measures, solar design, battery storage systems, carbon-storing and other alternative building materials, and the need to go all-electric are among the talking points. This far-reaching conversation is both global in scope and granular in detail. Enjoy.
“Solar power is a matter of national security.”—Armando Cobo
Jacob Deva Racusin is Studio Director and Director of Building Science and Sustainability with New Frameworks Natural Design/Build, offering services in renovation, new construction, consultation, and education. As a builder, consultant, designer, and educator, Jacob is able to merge his passions for ecological stewardship, relationship to place, and social justice. Jacob has authored two books and numerous articles, and regularly instructs on topics of building science and climate impact. An active member of the Carbon Leadership Forum, Jacob is engaged in code and policy development, professional training, and other initiatives supporting the transition to a more just industry.
Armando Cobo is a zero-energy custom home designer, trainer, and building consultant with over 35 years of experience. Armando designs following the guidelines of DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, The Building America Program, Build Green New Mexico, California’s Title 24, National Home Builders Association’s Green Building Program, and LEED for Homes, among others. He’s designed over 500 custom homes, and helps homeowners and builders achieve success with their zero-energy projects. He works all over the country.
Todd Usher built Addison Homes on a solid green foundation. After 10 years in the corporate chemical industry, he discovered his passion for construction while renovating investment property. After searching for construction industry best practices, he discovered several green building standards that provided an outline for the Addison Homes quality system. A lifelong learner, Todd has earned three degrees from Clemson University including a BS in Packaging Science, an MBA, a Masters in Construction Science, and is currently a PhD candidate in Planning, Design & the Built Environment. Todd generously shares his knowledge and experience with others in the industry including Clemson students where he is an adjunct faculty member. He strives to bring high-performance, healthy, sustainable, and net-zero construction to the mainstream building industry.
Randy Hafer, cofounder of High Plains Architects, is an architect, developer, and thought leader committed to environmental sustainability, urban revitalization, and historic preservation. Since founding the firm in 1999, High Plains has completed 11 certified historic tax credit projects, 13 LEED Platinum Certified projects, and one Living Building Challenge certified project, Montana’s first. Randy also founded Urban Frontier Development Services, an affiliate of High Plains Architects combining financing tools, capital stack strategies, and design processes to produce local investment opportunities. Randy is currently engaged in redeveloping several historic buildings, bringing new housing and services to vacant historic structures in small Montana communities. Beyond architectural design and development services, Randy provides sustainability consulting for individuals, agencies, larger-scale projects and institutions.
Paul Lukez has been actively engaged in architectural practice, research, and education for 30 years. Before founding Paul Lukez Architecture in 1992, Mr. Lukez worked with nationally and internationally recognized architectural firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, William Rawn Associates, and Arrowstreet Inc. Mr. Lukez has received over 60 academic and professional honors, and editors of many publications have recognized his work.
Kiley Jacques is senior editor at Green Building Advisor. Photo by Aaron Kraft.
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