Net Zero Conference Featured in ILFI’s Trim Tab

Verdical Group’s Net Zero 2020 Conference & Expo (NZ20), which will be hosted virtually on September 15-16, 2020, has been featured in the International Future Institute (ILFI)’s Trim Tab publication.

The article focuses on the ways in which ILFI is partnering with NZ20 to present a program filled with case studies, tools, and lessons-learned that encompass many of ILFI’s offerings. This includes several educational sessions, two intensive workshops, case studies of various Living Building Challenge and Net Zero Energy certified projects, and more.

Click here to read the full article.

To learn more and register for the Conference, visit

NZ20 in Your Living Room | Register Now


Join us September 15 + 16 for our first carbon-neutral Net Zero Conference!

You’re invited to attend NZ20 from anywhere in the world. Our virtual program will mimic the energy and excitement you’ve come to expect from the Net Zero Conference with an interactive Expo Hall, exciting keynotes, remote building tours, and top-notch continuing education sessions on climate, carbon, energy, water, waste, and transit. Read more

NZ20 Call for Abstracts



While we understand that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing, the Net Zero Conference is scheduled to take place on September 14 – 16, 2020 in Los Angeles.

We are excited about the prospect of engaging in-person with our community in the months ahead, and we encourage you to take advantage of any extra downtime you may have to submit your abstract for NZ20! Read more

Net Zero Conference Partner Event: LF20

We’re pleased to invite you to join Verdical Group at our Net Zero Conference partner event, LF20, and share what sustains your hope for our future! Due to concerns around COVID-19, LF20 has been transitioned to a virtual event. Learn more here.

By attending an International Living Future Institute (ILFI) conference, you are helping to shape the living future we all want. The event will feature keynote speaker Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an indigenous climate activist, hip hop artist, and youth director of Earth Guardians, as well as Dr. Katharine Wilkinson of Project Drawdown.

ILFI is adding new speakers and sessions, so stay tuned to see who is joining the movement, and add your voice today to make an impact and give hope to the current climate crisis. Remember to use code VERDICALGROUP10 to receive 10% off your full conference pass!

VG to Partner with Climate Resolve for Trailblazer Gala

We’re proud to announce that Climate Resolve will be the nonprofit partner for our 2021 Trailblazer Gala. Climate Resolve is an LA-based organization working to create a just and resilient future by building coalitions, collaboration, and connecting communities, organizations, and policymakers to address a global problem with local action. Their work supports equitable, practical climate solutions that reduce pollution and prepare the Los Angeles region for climate impacts.

The Trailblazer Gala, presented in partnership with the annual Net Zero Conference, celebrates leaders who are building a net zero future through their work in climate, carbon, energy, water, waste, and transit. To learn more, visit our website here.

NZ19 Recap | Video ? + Photos ? + Slides ?+ CEUs ?
















A huge thank you to our photographers, Reuben Herzl, Ling Luo, and Dennis Hill. 










NZ19 provided powerful insight into trends in green building, net zero design, sustainability policy, and more. Here’s what our team hopes attendees took away from the event:



Congratulations to our inaugural Trailblazer Award Winners, who were recognized in front of our full Net Zero Conference audience at the Los Angeles Convention Center for building a net zero future through their work in the carbon, energy, water, waste, transit and / or policy sectors.




The Cleantech Rising newsletter featured a recap of the Net Zero Conference Morning Keynote from Ed Mazria, Founder & CEO of Architecture2030.




NZ19 is pre-approved for LFA CEUs. You can also self-report CEUs to GBCI and AIA using the following instructions:



Urban Renewable Talks Net Zero Policy, Design, and NZ19

Urban Renewable recently posted an introductory article on net zero building policy, design, and trends. The author spoke about her experience at the Net Zero 2019 Conference & Expo and how the event highlighted challenges, solutions, and emerging technologies in the net zero space. You can read the article here.

Cleantech Rising Shares NZ19 Recap

The Cleantech Rising newsletter featured a recap of the Net Zero Conference Morning Keynote from Ed Mazria, Founder & CEO of Architecture2030.

“There is a distinct feeling of joy that comes with being surrounded by inspired, like-minded people. And that’s exactly the feeling we had this morning at Verdical Group’s net zero building conference.”

You can read the newsletter here.


Trailblazer Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA – The first annual Trailblazer Award Ceremony took place today during the world’s largest net zero building event, the Net Zero 2019 Conference & Expo (NZ19).

The Trailblazer Awards celebrate leaders who are building a net zero future through their work in the carbon, energy, water, waste, transit and / or policy sectors. The Awards were presented in front of the full audience at the Net Zero Conference and Expo, in Petree Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The inaugural Awardees included:

  • Lauren Faber, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
  • Steven M. Hilton, Chairman of the Board, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Lauren Sparandara, REWS Sustainability Program Manager, Google
  • Will Vicent, Energy Codes & Standards, Customer Programs & Services, Southern California Edison
  • James Connelly, Vice President, Strategic Growth for the International Living Future Institute
  • ILFI Net Zero Certification Award Winner: Chad Edwards on behalf of the City of Cincinnati District 3 Police Station
  • ILFI Net Zero Certification Award Winner: Chris Ladner on behalf of Entegrity Headquarters
  • USGBC-LA’s Net Zero Accelerator Showcase Winner: Yotta Energy

“We’re thrilled to be launching the Trailblazer Awards to recognize ‘trailblazers’ in our industry,” Event Chair Drew Shula said. “While there are plenty of incredible award ceremonies in the green building sector, we felt like there was a gap when it came to recognizing those who are working on ‘net zero’ in particular, whether it be our buildings, our infrastructure, or our policies.”

The awards were presented by Shula. Ben Stapleton (Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council [USGBC-LA]) and Neal Anderson (Director of USGBC-LA’s Net Zero Accelerator) co-presented the Net Zero Accelerator Showcase award.

Please contact Chloe Woodruff, Marketing Manager for more information –


Reuben Herzl

Lauren Faber, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Lauren Faber O’Connor is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. She is the lead architect of LA’s Green New Deal, a global model for local action to confront the climate crisis. L.A.’s Green New Deal is guided by four key principles: a commitment to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement; a promise to deliver environmental justice and equity; a plan to ensure every Angeleno has the ability to join the green economy; and a determination to lead by example within City government. She oversees the buildout of LA’s sustainability future, from electrified transportation, to clean energy, to healthy food access, energy efficient buildings, and more. To deliver accelerated leadership on sustainability, Lauren also builds collaboration including through Climate Mayors, a coalition chaired by Mayor Garcetti of over 400 US Mayors committed to US leadership on climate change and C40, an international network of cities raising the bar on climate action.

Lauren has a history of enabling cooperation among governments to promote and expand ambitious climate and clean energy policy.

In her early career at the British Embassy in Washington DC, she forged partnerships between the United Kingdom and leading cities and states around the US to take on carbon pricing and renewable energy targets.

Before to returning to her home state of California, Lauren served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., where she advised on comprehensive national climate change and energy strategies for domestic and international companies, and NGOs, and in particular, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.

As assistant secretary for climate change at the California EPA to Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, Lauren helped design California cap and trade program and engage stakeholders on implementation. This included working with other states and Canadian provinces through the Western Climate Initiative, as well as states and provinces from around the world to develop collaborative partnerships.

Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Lauren served for four years as the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco. At EDF she worked on building successful strategies and constructive partnerships to win support for protecting and promoting climate policies, clean energy finance, and land and water conservation.

Lauren, a native Angelena, serves on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters and previously the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Advisory Board. She is a member of the Catto Fellowship for environmental leadership at the Aspen Institute and of the Truman National Security Project. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.


Reuben Herzl

Nancy Sutley, Chief Sustainability Officer, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

Nancy Sutley is Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Chief Sustainability Officer and oversees the Department’s energy efficiency goals, environmental affairs, sustainability initiatives, and the electrification of transportation network. Since she began the position in 2014, Nancy initiated LADWP’s corporate sustainability programs, commissioned LADWP’s headquarters – the John Ferraro Building – as a LEED Gold facility, created many of the Department’s cleantech initiatives which included the grand opening of the La Kretz Innovation Campus, developed and organized LADWP’s climate change efforts and ramped-up the City of Los Angeles’ electric vehicle programs.

Prior to joining LADWP, Nancy served as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Under her leadership, the Council played a central role in shepherding the Obama Administration’s signature environmental projects and was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan. In addition, Nancy oversaw the designation of national monuments, established the better building challenge and coordinated NEPA.

Nancy has an extensive background in public service that includes posts as Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the City of Los Angeles, Board Member of the Metropolitan Water District, Member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Energy Advisor for California Governor Gray Davis, Deputy Secretary for Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Senior Advisor to the US EPA Administrator during the Clinton Administration. Sutley received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her Master in Public Policy from Harvard University.


Reuben Herzl

Steven M. Hilton, Chairman of the Board, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Steven M. Hilton is chairman of the board of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a family foundation established in 1944 by his grandfather, Conrad Hilton, who started Hilton Hotels. A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and has received numerous honors and awards for his work in philanthropy over his 35-year career.

In the mid-2000s, while serving as chairman, president and CEO, Steve Hilton had a vision of a cutting-edge, environmentally sensitive, energy efficient campus that would support the Hilton Foundation’s anticipated growth. The campus constructed under his leadership achieved LEED Platinum status, awarded by the US Green Building Council. It features 100 percent onsite renewable energy, cutting-edge technology for building operations, passive downdraft system for heating and cooling, green roof system, automated exterior window shading, solar water collection tubes and sophisticated water collection and irrigation system for both interior and exterior use on the property. The landscape, which is Hilton’s passion, was designed using 97 percent native plant materials.

To this day, the project continues to be featured in trade journals, and operations staff host ongoing tours and educational sessions for architects, engineers and students of sustainable design, to support the advancement of science in the built environment.


Reuben Herzl

Lauren Sparandara, REWS Sustainability Program Manager, Google

Lauren Sparandara is a Sustainability Program Manager for Google’s real estate portfolio. Over the last several years she has worked to advance sustainability goals for Google’s new construction in the Bay Area, with a focus on optimizing the health and performance of Googlers, communities, and the natural environment.

Recently, she has been spearheading the sustainability initiatives at Google’s Charleston East project, an ambitious ground-up office development in Mountain View, California that pushes the boundaries of workplace design and sustainability. Lauren is leading the project team in pursuing the Living Building Challenge Materials Petal Certification as well as LEED Platinum certification. At 600,000 square feet, the project is the largest in the world to pursue 100% Red List Free materials and Net Zero Waste.

This year she also received a Living Future Hero Award from the International Living Future Institute, celebrating individuals championing regenerative design.


Reuben Herzl

Will Vicent, Energy Codes & Standards, Customer Programs & Services, Southern California Edison

Will Vicent, also known as “Will Vi the Building Science Guy,” is dedicated to reimagining our built environment into one that is more inspired, more beautiful, and more ecologically intelligent. He has been instrumental in bringing to life verified Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings in both the residential and commercial building sectors.

In 2011, he founded a small building science consulting firm called Between Built & Natural Environments to help clients identify, evaluate and install cost-effective sustainable building solutions. In this capacity, he has worked closely with nationally recognized design firms, builders, research entities, and utilities. Currently, he is a proud member of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Energy Codes & Standards team, where he helps to champion Building Electrification and leads net zero planning and coordination activities company-wide. He is often invited to speak about topics in building science for industry leaders including ASHRAE, USGBC, AEE, IBPSA, the White House and various universities.


Reuben Herzl

James Connelly, Vice President, Strategic Growth for the International Living Future Institute

James Connelly has been at the forefront of Net Zero Energy Design and Construction for the past decade, ever since he first developed concept design in University for the Bullitt Center — a groundbreaking ZE project widely regarded as the greenest commercial building in the world.

As a young sustainability enthusiast, James received a Fulbright fellowship to help develop China’s green building standard in Beijing. Upon his return, he joined the Living Future Institute, where he has held many roles, from managing the Living Building Challenge to creating the Living Product Challenge. He is currently Vice President of Strategic Growth, and works to grow ILFI’s mission and programs all over the world.

For the past 5 years, James has returned his attention to China, where he has worked with the US Department of Energy and Chinese Ministry of Construction to develop the Zero Energy market in China. He supported the launch and development of China’s first domestic Zero Energy Standard, with the goal of rapidly accelerating ZE buildings in the world’s largest construction market.

Reuben Herzl

The City of Cincinnati District 3 Police Station, presented to Chad Edwards of Emersion Design

At the end of a design/ build competition, the City of Cincinnati hired the Messer/ emersion DESIGN team to deliver their first police station is over 40 years. The city gave short-listed teams criteria and 1 month to give a Guaranteed Maximum Price on their design solution. The Messer/ emersion DESIGN team’s LEED Silver base bid came in $1 Million cheaper than the 2 other shortlisted teams. The City then opted for enhanced community engagement, extra square footage, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum options with the saved resources.

In short, the team was able to deliver larger LEED Platinum design for their competitors LEED Silver costs. The team proved, and the City accepted, a NZE package with a 6.6 year payback. The end result is the planet’s first LEED Platinum and NZE police station. Other team members included CMTA, Human Nature, genesis design, and ZH Commissioning.

Reuben Herzl

Entegrity Headquarters, presented to Chris Ladner of Entegrity Partners

Originally known as the Darragh Building, the building was designed by Noland Blass, Jr in 1958 and renovated in 2017 to house Entegrity, an energy services company headquartered in Little Rock. The 13,342 sf mid-century modern building was designed and renovated with sustainability and historic preservation in mind. Cost-effective strategies were used to reduce energy use as much as possible before adding a rooftop solar array to reach net zero energy. The project was designed, executed, and documented by Entegrity and certified LEED Platinum for New Construction/Major Renovation.

It achieved USGBC’s LEEDv3 BD&C: NC Platinum (86/110 points), USGBC’s LEED Zero Energy Certification, and ILFI’s Net Zero Certification in 2019 with a 40% reduction water usage and a 94.9% energy cost savings with a net EUI of -0.77. The project was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Reuben Herzl

USGBC-LA’s Net Zero Accelerator Showcase Winner: Yotta Energy

Yotta Energy was awarded the Trailblazer Award for their innovation in solar storage. Yotta is redefining solar storage through decentralized, panel-level technology. Neal, Stapleton, and Shula presented the Yotta team with the Trailblazer Award for USGBC-LA’s Net Zero Accelerator.

One Percent for The Planet “Stories” Blog Highlights VG Founder Drew Shula

Verdical Group is proud to be a 1% for the Planet Member Company, donating 1% of our annual sales, not just profits, to environmental non-profit organizations.

Our Founder Drew Shula was recently interviewed for 1% for the Planet’s “Stories” blog, where he spoke about doing business in a way that gave back to the environment, our upcoming Net Zero Conference, and his journey to launch his own sustainability company.

Click here to read the full interview.