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The Race to Zero Energy: Reaching 2030 Goals Session 1 – Passive Strategies

May 12, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT

Join Green Building Alliance as we present this four-part The Race to Zero Energy series! The series kicks off on Thursday, May 12 with a look at Passive Strategies: Reducing Your Building’s Footprint. We have an exceptional panel lined up to share expertise, perspectives, and recommendations for building owners and practitioners alike. Don’t miss this ground-breaking educational series.


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What You’ll Learn:
Are you a practitioner hoping to build skills in applying passive strategies to commercial buildings? Are you a building owner looking for resources to greatly increase energy efficiency? Are you a property partner in the Pittsburgh 2030 District, hoping to meet and exceed your 2030 goals? This event is for you! Hosted at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, we’ll hear a variety of perspectives on the importance of exploring passive energy options, along with their benefits and applications to commercial properties. Following this event, we’ll offer three additional topics in the same format, in order to help owners and practitioners explore various aspects of reaching net-zero (or near net-zero) energy usage.

The remaining topics in the series are:

  • Technologies & Products: Enabling Building Performance (June 23)
  • Renewables: Solar, Wind, & Geothermal in Pittsburgh (July 21)
  • Financing Strategies: Moving Key Projects Forward (August 25)

Stay tuned for more details about future events in this series!


3:00 – 5:00 – Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Q&A

5:00 – 6:00 – Networking Reception


Learning Objectives:

1.Learn about the benefits and applications of passive strategies from the perspectives of architects, engineers, academics, and developers.

2.Discover how passive strategies can be applied to commercial buildings.

3.Understand the connections between passive strategies and other methods for getting to net-zero energy use.

4.Learn how passive strategies can help commercial buildings reach the energy reduction goals of the Pittsburgh 2030 District.


This event is approved for 2.0 GBCI CEUs and 2.0 AIA HSW hours.


Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits.  Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.



About our Speakers: GBA has compiled an expert line-up of speakers for our Passive Strategies panel discussion. Each speaker contributes a unique perspective on this topic, but they all have something in common: they demonstrate both personal and professional commitment to healthy and high-performing construction practices, and they all work on the cutting edge of building performance in their fields. Meet our speakers here:

Rob Hosken: Principal, Building Performance Architecture
Rob HoskenRob leads Building Performance Architecture, where he uses his vast expertise (as a Registered Architect, HERS Rater, BPI Multifamily Building Analyst Professional, a Level I Infrared Thermographer, a Certified Energy Manager, and a PHIUS+ Multifamily Verifier) to help clients achieve program compliance, cost savings, quality, comfort, and sustainability. Rob grew up in Madison Wisconsin, in a passive solar home where no money was spent for heat on sunny winter days. After Rob discovered his interest in architecture, this experience and a concern for humankind’s long-term future led him to start learning as much as he could about energy efficiency and green building. Rob is President of the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, a regional foundation dedicated to financing clean energy and energy efficiency.

Vivian Loftness: Professor and Senior Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University
Vivian Loftness
With over 30 years of experience in research and practice focused on sustainability in the built environment, building systems integration, and design for health and productivity, Vivian is recognized both nationally and internationally for her many achievements. She helps lead CMU’s Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics and is former head of the university’s School of Architecture. Vivian is an AIA Fellow, a LEED Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, and one of 13 Stars of Building Science by the Building Research Establishment in the U.K. She has served on the board of Green Building Alliance and the U.S. Green Building Council, on the Technical Advisory Group for the Clinton Climate Initiative, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Laura Nettleton: Principal, Thoughtful Balance
LauraLaura has more than 30 years of experience in development, sustainable design, and community engagement. She has been on the cutting edge of sustainable and low-energy design solutions for affordable housing for the past two decades. Laura finds comfort in the idea that cultures can radically change: she first worked in an architectural office where she was the only non-smoker, and she graduated from Johns Hopkins’ second class to admit women. In the built environment, she initiates drastic transformation. Laura is a founder and past president of Passive House Western Pennsylvania.

Brandon Nicholson: Principal, Nicholson Kovalchick Architects
Brandon Nicholson
Brandon is an architecture and real estate professional who is actively involved in the design and development of high performance, zero energy buildings, advocating for policy advancement that leads to sustainable urban environments and more attractive neighborhoods.  Brandon is passionate about reducing the impact of buildings on global climate change, utilizing his research and development projects to establish a cost effective method to deliver net zero energy buildings now. An advocate of Passive House design and building standards, Brandon was instrumental in Seattle’s acceptance of Passive House as a green building incentive. Brandon is current president of Passive House Western Pennsylvania.

Craig Stevenson: Executive Vice President, James Construction
Craig Stevenson
Craig has successfully negotiated and guided many construction projects. He has experience and expertise in multiple construction delivery methods including Construction Management, Design/Build, General Contracting, Program Management, and Integrated Project Delivery. Craig’s strengths are in the identification and implementation of innovative construction software, project-delivery methods, building performance, and pre-construction services and he is an expert in construction estimating for both conceptual and designed projects. Craig is a founder and past president of Passive House Western Pennsylvania.


We’d like to extend a big thanks to our Race to Zero Energy Series sponsor: Forte Building Science!





This event is made possible in part by funding support through the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.






May 12, 2016
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Leslie Montgomery


East Liberty Presbyterian Church
116 S. Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, 15206 United States
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