Conference Program

The Carbon Smart Building Conference Program will inspire and equip leading architects, structural engineers, contractors, developers, materials manufacturers and policy makers to scale up the building industry’s collective commitment to reduce the carbon emissions footprint of the built environment now, and eventually store carbon at massive scale in the built environment.  Attendees will leave committed to lead the decarbonization of the built environment, and equipped with the latest tools, resources and programs to help their firms thrive in a zero net carbon future.


Breakfast, networking and exhibits


Welcome by Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Earthlab, and Carbon Lighthouse. 


Opening Keynote by Ed Mazria, Founder of Architecture 2030

To Net Zero Carbon and Beyond: Framing the Challenge

Today the built environment is the biggest contributor to the Global Warming problem.  The building industry must work together to become a big part of the Global Warming solution.  In this session we’ll establish a framework for the building industry to collaborate to phase-out carbon emissions and make the built environment a carbon sink.  We will also define the commitments we must make now to dramatically scale up our impact.


Opening Plenary Panel

Zero Net Carbon Buildings Commitment: Strategy, Tactics, Tools, and Partnerships

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment challenges companies, cities, states and regions to reach Net Zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be Net Zero in operation by 2050. Transforming the built environment requires an historic global collaboration. It will require measuring the carbon footprint of every project during design, build and operations, and Net Zero Carbon certification for every project. Our success depends on sharing expertise, tools, and technologies, and a vision of positive transformation. 


Break, networking and exhibits


Creating Highly Efficient New Buildings


Focus on Design   

Building to Accelerate the Transition to a Clean Energy Grid 

How we design buildings can help accelerate our transition to a clean grid. Technology innovations such as batteries, solar, IOT (Internet of Things), and big data) can support grid-optimal project design, and new resources and tools can help design teams implement grid-optimal projects. This session will help attendees understand how to define and address local grid challenges, and will suggest resources and tools that can help design teams implement grid-optimal projects.

Focus on Development

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Are Better Buildings: Raising the Bar on Building Performance

Buildings that emit no emissions in materials, construction processes and operations are no-regrets buildings – and necessary to ensure a stable climate for future generations.  They are affordable, efficient, and healthy.  By optimizing design for the local grid, they can help accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.  This session will describe the tools, technologies, and practices that exist today and how to apply them to make all projects emit zero carbon (net) going forward.  

Focus on Policy

Accelerating Large-Scale Decarbonization of the Built Environment: Policy Trends 

Progressive state and local governments and companies have implemented a wide array of policies to decarbonize their investments and operations.  Internal carbon pricing.  Low-carbon procurement standards. Zero codes.  POS upgrade requirements. Commercial benchmarking.  Residential disclosure.  Pioneers of these policy innovations have learned from these experiences and are moving forward with wider and deeper application.   This session will educate attendees about what is coming and how to prepare for a low-carbon future.


Lunch, networking and exhibits


Retrofitting Existing Buildings for High Efficiency


Focus on Design

Best Practices for Delivering Cost-Effective Deep Energy Efficiency Upgrades

There's a significant difference in the potency of a "deep" or "shallow" energy retrofit to reduce the carbon footprint of a building. Designers have a multitude of ways to measure ZNC results, including energy savings, greenhouse gas emissions, comfort, health, and productivity.This session will help attendees identify critical design and build best practices needed to achieve best results, and help them understand how to analyze cost-effectiveness of bundles of measures

Focus on Development

Tapping the Climate and Profit Opportunity in Deep Energy Efficiency Upgrades 

Retrofitting our buildings to improve their Energy Efficiency is an opportunity to save businesses and households money now while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  And improve occupant comfort and health.  And grow industry revenues while generating living wage jobs.  Why aren’t we doing more of it?  How can we scale up the investment we’re making in deep energy efficiency retrofits?  This session will explain how we can leverage  recent  innovations in technology, policy, and financing that are ready to scale, and describe the business development potential of the energy efficiency resource.

Focus on Policy

Providing Health, Wealth and Jobs Through Building Energy Efficiency Retrofits:  Recent Innovations 

Energy retrofits represent the largest and lowest-cost GHG emission reduction opportunity facing urban areas. In addition to a range of community benefits of deep energy retrofits such as comfort, health, and the creation of living wage jobs. When retrofits includew deep energy upgrades, they can offer a range of possible energy savings, and improve ROI for owners. This session will identify the greatest barriers to investing in deep energy retrofits, and help attendees understand the elements required for a comprehensive policy to stimulate investment. 


Break, networking and exhibits


Reducing Embodied Carbon Emissions While Storing Carbon


Focus on Design

Best Practices and Tools For Quantifying the Carbon Footprint of Every Project 

Measuring the carbon footprint of every project during design, build and operations is a pre-requisite for reducing it.  This session will describe the recent developments in tools and best practices for Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment and Net Zero Carbon Certification.

Focus on Development

The New Carbon Architecture: Treating Carbon as a Precious Material Resource

Innovations in design and materials are making carbon storage in the built environment a huge opportunity for global good.  We must strive to minimize embodied carbon emissions in project design and product development.  This session will showcase the latest low-carbon and carbon-storing innovations and describe how to make them standard practice.

Focus on Policy

Equipping Households and Businesses To Make Fully Informed Building Purchase Decisions

Building ratings and disclosure policies are a pre-requisite for scaling up building decarbonization, and there are a variety of tools, programs and resources that policy makers can use to implement building ratings in their jurisdictions. In this session, attendees will learn about innovations in residential rating systems, and learn about best practices and outcomes of commercial building rating systems.



Break, networking and exhibits


Closing Plenary Panel

Health and Equity in the Built Environment

Buildings have profound impacts on quality of life for building occupants, surrounding communities, and the global climate.  How can we think about and incorporate these impacts into our projects to maximize the triple bottom line?  In this session we’ll describe approaches to make maximization of social, environmental and economic benefits standard operating procedure. Imagine the building industry contributing to the creation of a socially just and equitable world. Imagine every architecture, engineering, and construction firm making life better for people from all walks of life. Imagine giving a voice to people who rarely have one. Imagine transforming entire supply chains and accelerating local and regional economies. Imagine changing who does business with whom. Imagine realigning government procurement to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help marginalized communities thrive.


Rich Lessons, Significant Opportunities

Report back on the day's events. Surprising insights, conversations, network connections, awareness of new tools, new goals, new policy options, new design concepts. Share the most important thing you learned today.

Further, Faster, Together: Collective Impact

We’re not yet on track to avert catastrophic climate change.  And we’re running out of time to change at the scale needed to ensure a stable climate for future generations.  We need to aim higher, do more, and figure out how to work together more effectively.  This session will showcase innovations in collaboration that we must adopt to scale up our impact. A collective impact brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. It starts with a common agenda, establishes shared measurement, fosters mutually reinforcing activities, encourages continuous communication, and it has a strong backbone.

Tomorrow Morning Things Are Different

All of us will be changed by this experience. How will I do things differently in the future? On my next project, in my next meeting, my next business decision? What are my personal commitments? How will I measure my success? How will I make a difference? How will I hold myself accountable?


Closing Keynote


Reception with Hors d'oeuvres and No-host Bar