Perspectives on Net Zero – What Does the Future Look Like?

Photo credit: The Bullitt Center

Verdical Group’s sold out Net Zero 2016 Conference, the largest net zero building design conference in the country, was hands-down the best yet. Not just because of the world-class lineup of speakers and exhibitors that captivated a packed SoCalGas Energy Resource Center in Downey, California. Not simply because all of the attendees seemed to leave the event with ambitious smiles on their faces, ready to venture out into the world to make their own mark on a net zero future. It wasn’t only due to awe-inspiring presentations such as “Net Positive Building Design for Higher Education” by Miller Hull architect Brian Court. No, the greatest aspect of the conference was the “Perspectives on Net Zero,” panel that convened gas, electric, and water utilities, municipalities, and a visionary nonprofit (the International Living Future Institute) to discern what a net zero future would look like.

How did each representative present their view on a net zero future? Below, the panelists’ various perspectives surrounding net zero energy and water will be reviewed. Based on their discussion, it’s possible to envision a future where net zero building performance is possible. Read more

Verdical Group Hosts 3rd Annual Net Zero Conference: Energy + Water + Waste

Photo credit: Nic Lehoux

Aggressive Strategies for a Changing Climate

Downey, CA— Buildings alone contribute almost 40% of total US carbon emissions, and Zero Net Energy buildings will play an aggressive role as we strive to mitigate the effects of climate change. California is leading the way with mandates that all new residential construction be net zero energy by 2020, and commercial construction to follow suit by 2030. The market is pivoting, and companies and designers are finding opportunity in these shifts. Gaining traction, Zero Net Water, and Zero Net Waste movements are taking hold across industries as well, as inefficient systems and industry waste are being more accurately seen risks and hidden costs, and value is extracted from streams previously identified as waste only. Read more

Building Product Manufacturing Done Right

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

If you’re creating sustainable building products for some of the most progressive green buildings in the world, it makes sense for your own company office or studio to be certified in an equally ultra-green rating system. Surprisingly, there is only one building product manufacturer in the world that has received Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification. Mohawk Group, a leader in the sustainable commercial flooring industry, has recently announced that their Light Lab—a renovated design studio in Georgia—achieved the prestigious Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). This specific type of certification requires that a project fulfill the requirements in at least three categories of the Living Building Challenge, with at least one being from the water, energy, or materials category.

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Envisioning California’s Bold Net Zero Shift

Photo credit: Zaha Hadid Architects

The Sci-Fi Vision to Push Us Further

Sometimes, science fiction gets it right. Total Recall, one of Arnold’s first slam dunk movies, predicted full body scanners before they were the norm at airports (you may know them as x-ray “backscatter” machines). Blade Runner, released in 1982, introduced video calls to moviegoers. Now we have Facetime, Google Hangouts, Skype, and who could forget Snapchat, where we can even communicate with one another while wearing weird virtual masks. It’s great to see how old movies have unintentionally informed modern technology. But, watching modern Sci-Fi movies and wondering whether or not they will accurately depict the future of humanity can be a little worrisome for some. One recent flick, Midnight Special, has an ending (spoiler alert) that should not trouble anyone, but instead be an inspiration for how our built environment should look in the future. Read more

Our Built Environment Filled With Net Zeros: Energy, Water, and Waste

Photo credit: JE Dunn

Building Within the Site

Before jumping into all of the numerous ‘Net Zero’ definitions that exist for one simple idea, lets go back in time briefly to examine how efficient home design has influenced one aspect of this famous buzzword today. Germany (with the help of Lund University in Sweden) was first to coin the design for an ultra energy-efficient home—the “Passivhaus.” The idea, still relevant today for all net zero energy structures, is to build a home or building in such a way so that the need for artificial heating and cooling is severely reduced. But how does a builder accomplish this? Read more