iiSBE group in Florida holds a Net Zero symposium

A symposium on Net Zero buildings was held on 6 and 7 March in Gainesville Florida. The event was organized by Dr. Charles Kibert, who heads the Powell Center for Construction and Environment at the University of Florida. Professor Kibert was supported in the organization by Dr. Robert Ries, Director of the Rinker School of Construction Management at the university, and was given much organizational support by Lantz Holtzhower, who is completing his Ph.D.at the university.

The purpose of the symposium was to present and discuss the issues relevant to net or nearly zero energy buildings, but also to launch an iiSBE working group that will focus on the subject over the long haul, both at the building and micro-urban scale. Several iiSBE members participated, including Charles Kibert, Vanessa and Maristella Gomes (Brazil), Steve Burroughs (Australia), Richard Lorch (UK) and Ray Cole (Canada). Nils Larsson was there to present a paper written by Manuela Almeida, Luis Bragança and others from Minho University in Portugal.

U.S. speakers whose names you are likely to recognize included Jerry Yudelson (President of Green Building Initiative), Paul Torcellini (NREL), and Ann Edminster. Others who made noteworthy contributions included two senior officials of the U.S. Army who described their
very aggressive efforts to move towards net zero energy and water on military facilities.

Private sector notables included Paul Hutton, head of a large architectural firm and also of the AIA committee (it is huge) on sustainability, who outlined his extensive experience in designing near zero (and some zero) schools, Rod Kruse, principal in BNIM Architects a
large U.S. based firm, Ted van der Linden of DRP Construction and Peter Morris from the U.S. office of Davis Langdon. A final plenary presentation was made by Andreas Athienitis, a senior professor and researcher at the Canadian Concordia Centre for Zero Energy Building
Studies, part of Concordia University in Montreal.

During informal discussion at the event, a decision was made to establish an iiSBE North American working group on Net Zero, and that a subsequent meeting is likely to take place in 2015 in Montreal, under the auspices of Andreas Athienitis of Concordia. The scope of the
event will probably include small urban zones as well as buildings. As a first task for the working group, those interested decided to put together a joint paper on the status of net or nearly zero in North America, Europe and Asia, in order to inform and guide the members of the working group as well as other researchers and professionals. There is not yet a firm schedule, but mid-May seems reasonable as an assumption for a first draft. Perhaps iiSBE will be able to link the work of this group with similar ones in Europe and Asia.

For further information contact Charels Kibert at ckibert@ufl.edu