Recap of Industry Discussion on the Next Generation of Net-Zero

by Mike Humphrey

On February 26, I was thrilled to be a presenter in a thought-leading panel discussion about the 'Next Gen of Net-Zero' in design and construction. Net-zero refers to a building that returns as much, or more, power than it takes from the grid on an annual basis. Hosted in Charles M. Salter Associates’ office in San Francisco, the event was facilitated by Lisa Matthiessen and Kevin Hydes (Integral Group) with presentations from Peter Rumsey (Integral), Matthew Porreca (BNIM Architects) and Steve McDowell (BNIM). The event was set up in a PechaKucha (pa-cha-ka-cha) 20x20 format where each of us had timed our presentations to deliver 20 graphic slides with only 20 seconds for each slide. You'd be surprised how fast 20 seconds goes by when you're excited about the topic!

The presentations were followed by an interactive conversation with a highly engaged and highly informed audience. Our own Ted van der Linden added some valuable insights. Here are a few of the topics that gained some audience traction:

  • How will we capture the voice of the younger generation? Environmental responsibility is an expectation for them, not a luxury.
  • How can we shift attention (and budget) towards designing and building very efficient and interactive exterior skin systems…all five facades…instead of focusing on mechanical systems to counterbalance the inefficiency of the skin?
  • Do automated 'red-light, green-light' systems really have an impact on occupant behavior? Are there more intuitive, simple cues that can help shift occupant behavior?

Fascinating conversation! This was a group with the power and passion to transform our world. I can hardly wait for the next discussion!

Check out some of DPR’s net-zero work: DPR Phoenix office, DPR San Diego office, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters (the headquarters was designed for net-zero and we hope to know the official status by the end of the year).