Share this newsletter with your networks:
December 2019
Decision Makers Vote on Efficiency for the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Update
Online voting for the 2021 International Conservation Code (IECC), which closed on Dec. 6, 2019, allowed representatives from states and local governments decide on the energy stringency of the 2021 IECC update by casting votes for proposals. The IECC update is one of the most profound ways states and local governments can improve the comfort and health of residents, reduce costs for building owners and residents, and make progress toward climate action goals. Final results of the voting are expected to be announced in January.

Updated every three years, the IECC sets minimum energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential buildings. The decisions made during the update set the stage for how buildings will operate for decades to come. There were over 500 proposals submitted during the nearly year-long process, but several of them represent the best opportunities for efficiency improvements including residential and commercial proposals target building envelope, heating and cooling, lighting, and beneficial electrification.

Other proposals address some of the challenges of a prescriptive code in achieving high levels of efficiency. Several proposals for both the residential and commercial sections work to increase flexibility in how designers meet the code by offering efficiency “packages” and establishing a point system that allows for higher efficiency in some areas and trade offs in others. In addition, a new zero energy appendix was proposed that states and local jurisdictions could adopt to require all new homes meet a zero energy standard, meaning that they consume only as much energy as can be produced by nearby clean, renewable resources. Learn more at the links below.
New Stretch Code Makes San Jose the Largest City to Adopt a Reach Code Aimed at Decarbonizing its Building Stock 

San José’s City Council voted Sept. 17 to approve a new ordinance that will make it the largest city in the United States to move to decarbonize its local building stock by requiring the construction of all-electric buildings. The city’s new building codes prohibits natural gas infrastructure in new single-family and low-rise multi-family buildings beginning in January 2020, while allowing the use of the fuel in high-rise buildings.

“Over the next half-decade, electrification presents our greatest opportunity to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Particularly as the renewable content in our electricity supply reaches 100% in the years ahead, we can capitalize on the environmental benefits of clean electricity by shifting the power source of our two primary emitters of greenhouse gas emissions—transportation and buildings—away from fossil fuels to the electric grid,” he said.
Funding for development support for the code was provided by  American Cities Climate Challenge (ACCC) , technical assistance for the project was supplied by NBI and NRDC, among others.
As the building industry transitions into a new era — one focused on delivering zero carbon buildings — building policies will play an increasingly critical role in defining the kind of buildings that industry must deliver. “Making the Transition from Zero Energy to Zero Carbon Building Policies” is the third in a series of blog posts about the transformation occurring within the built environment away from programs and policies that deliver kilowatt-hour savings toward programs and policies that deliver carbon reductions and even carbon neutrality.
Making the Transition from Zero Energy to Zero Carbon Building Policies
NBI is excited to announce five top-level industry influencers as new Senior Fellows including: Doug Baston of North Atlantic Advisors; Dian Grueneich, Stanford Precourt Scholar and former California Public Utilities Commissioner; Vivian Loftness, professor and former head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University; Jan Berman, Director, Grid Integration at PG&E; and Michael McAteer, former Director Commercial Energy Efficiency Services at National Grid.
Vivian Loftness
Dian Grueneich
Doug Baston
Jan Berman
Michael McAteer
Passive House as a Defined Path for Stretch Code Compliance
As a building standard, Passive House offers a clearly defined path to proven ultra-low energy performance using super insulation, airtight envelope, thermal bridge free construction and right-sized, highly efficient mechanical equipment, are  known to be an effective way to significantly reduce heating and cooling loads regardless of climate or building location

Recognizing that the design standard can deliver a foundation for achieving zero energy performance in buildings, some jurisdictions are writing Passive House certification into codes as an acceptable alternative “stretch” code compliance pathway. Three states —  California , Massachusetts and  New York  —as well as the city of Denver have already incorporated or are looking to incorporate Passive House principles into codes and policies as a way to achieve deep  energy and carbon savings
NBI Releases Zero Energy Performance Targets for New Construction Projects
When zero energy building performance is the goal, the first step is typically setting an energy performance target that the design team can aim for. But setting that target, typically communicated as the project’s energy use intensity (EUI), is not always easy.  Climate and building use/type, along with energy efficiency measures for building envelope, windows, and HVAC systems, determine a building’s energy performance. To help with this work, NBI technical staff leveraged data from hundreds of high performance building examples in our Getting to Zero Database in combination with published energy modeling analyses to create ambitious yet attainable EUI recommendations. This information was analyzed and developed to guide the various people working on zero energy buildings with appropriate targets. This will ultimately create a common approach and reduce the time for individual analysis.

The findings of the analysis were summarized in a new white paper,  Zero Energy Commercial Building Targets , that details EUI recommendations for zero energy new construction projects across all U.S. climate zones and for common building types. 
California School Leaders in Zero Net Energy Honored with Awards
The San Bernardino Community College District accepts their Award during the annual Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit on October 16, 2019 in Pasadena, California.
San Bernardino Community College District, Mark Day School in San Rafael, Calif., and Nik Kaestner, Director of Sustainability, San Francisco Unified School District were among the individuals, school districts and school projects in California that were recently honored with the  ZNE Schools Leadership Awards for their innovation and leadership in driving a new zero net energy (ZNE) standard for school environments. California is leading the nation in the transformation of K-12 schools and community colleges to ZNE performance with over 80 ultra-low and zero energy projects operating or underway . ZNE schools are low-energy buildings that consume only as much energy as is generated through clean, onsite renewable resources.
Free Webinars for Schools Looking to Set Zero Energy Goals
NBI continues to provide free webinar trainings for those working toward getting schools to zero energy. This season’s webinars cover case studies from two schools from the northeast U.S., student driven initiatives, and financing approaches. For detailed descriptions of these upcoming webinar sessions visit our event page .

Zero In Schools Is Achievable! Stories from Schools on the Path to Zero
Dec. 16 from 12-1 p.m. Eastern
This one-hour webinar will highlight two projects that demonstrate the proof-of concept in zero energy school construction: P.S. 62 – the Kathleen Grimm School in Staten Island, NY and John J. Sbrega Health & Science Building at the Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA. (1 LU|HSW AIA Credit Available.) This event is sponsored by National Grid.
The path to zero energy school construction can be a daunting one. In this one-hour webinar, hear how assess various financing options from financiers and learn about cost effective methods to improve efficiency, cost-saving methods to procure renewable energy and evaluating life cycle costs in buildings. (1 AIA LU | HSW Available.)
As urgency around addressing climate change increases, local leaders are working to define near-term actions, including those targeting the built environment, which accounts for 39% of global carbon emissions. Uptake in actions happening across the United States include: a surge in local and state policies aimed at driving down building sector carbon emissions; climate policy entering the presidential debates; design and construction professionals coalescing around the need to build capability to deliver on energy outcomes for buildings; and youth and community leaders mobilizing for climate action.

By many measures, the  2019 Getting to Zero Forum  held in October in Oakland, California, felt like the culmination of these developments. With newfound urgency, there was a call for transformative changes in the building sector through the development and implementation of practical and innovative solutions.
Become A Supporter of New Buildings Institute
NBI’s work to transform our built environment is possible only with the financial support of people like you who want to see a zero energy / zero carbon future. We just launched a new, more convenient online option for setting up a recurring donation or making a one-time gift. NBI’s donors made some  big wins at NBI possible this year, including helping guide the City of San José to adopt a reach code and natural gas phase-out. NBI can, with an expanded base of support, spark similar innovations in many more cities nationwide.  Explore our new giving options and make your tax-deductible gift at
Zero Energy Schools Can Lead the Charge on Climate Leadership
A recent Construction Executive Magazine article from Project Manager Reilly Loveland reports on the benefits of zero energy schools, including the non-energy benefits of healthier environments, and in using the school buildings as living labs that support educators teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculums. 
Amy Cortese, Program Director, wins 2019 Women of Vision Award
Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce’s Women of Vision is an educational and awards program that supports the women who are shaping our built environment. NBI’s Amy Cortese was one of the honorees this year recognized for her leadership, both at NBI and in community roles, mentoring efforts for junior staff, and the promotion of diversity in the AEC industry.
NBI’s Building Innovation Multifamily Team Recognized by GlobeSt
Our Building Innovation Multifamily Team, comprised of Cathy Higgins and Sean Denniston, was recognized as a top team for GlobeSt’s Real Estate Forum Influencers in Multifamily Real Estate. This recognition reflects a decade of research, codes work and design guidance for the multifamily sector. 
New Resources Help Cities Get on Track to Meet Climate Goals
The Public Buildings Portfolio Management framework offers a set of free resource for cities, states, counties, school districts and other community organizations working to reduce the energy use of their public buildings. Hear more about the project with an on demand webinar. View resources
Where We'll Be: Catch up with NBI Staff at These Events
Upcoming Partner Events:

Las Vegas, NV | Jan. 20, 2020

NBI is pleased to partner with Green Builder Media on the 4th annual Sustainability Symposium 2020. The event will focus on  Improving the Human Condition and highlight how a sustainable built environment and transportation system can foster environmental stewardship, social equality, and financial prosperity. Speakers include sustainability leader Andrew Winston, world-renowned architect Ed Mazria, Green New Deal co-author Rhianna Gunn-Wright, award-winning Thrive Home Builders CEO Gene Meyers, and civil rights attorney Kalpana Kotagal. 

Novi, MI | March 24-25, 2020

Hosting over 250 leading architects, policymakers, contractors, system manufacturers, building owners and real estate executives, this NetZeroBuild Summit is an opportunity to find the expertise and secure suppliers to deliver sustainable, energy efficient construction and renovation projects. With an interactive conference programme, the NetZeroBuild summit has been purposely crafted to facilitate networking in the sustainable build community and allow new, exciting projects to be showcased. 
Find us on these social networks: