Net Positive Energy + Water Conference Coming to San Francisco

SEATTLE — Focused on the rapidly evolving model of net-zero energy and net-zero water buildings, the International Living Future Institute will host a two-day conference that will highlight how the Living Building Challenge is expanding net-zero concepts as well as the latest in net-zero ideas, technologies and applications.

The Net Positive Energy + Water Feb. 4 to Feb. 5 will be held at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco to bring together forward-thinking architects, engineers, manufacturers and government officials to hear from the nation’s leading net-zero experts.

“I think ultimately change happens through people and through projects,” said Brad Liljequist, technical director of the Living Building Challenge. “When people come together in an inspiring environment and hear from the most inspiring people about the most inspiring projects, it’s one of the most profound ways to catalyze change.”

The opening day will begin with net-zero building tours in the city of San Francisco and the East Bay. The tours will showcase such Bay Area facilities as the Exploratorium, the offices of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the El Cerrito Recycling and Environmental Resource Center, and the David Brower Center.

David Hayes, developer of the Bullitt Center, will speak at the opening plenary. The Bullitt Center, Liljequist said, is the foremost example of how much buildings can achieve with existing technologies.

“The design and technologies used both on the energy and water side are amazing examples and we wanted people to hear about them,” Liljequist said. “Also, Dennis Hayes is just an amazing speaker, really profound deep thinker.”

Other speakers not to be missed include keynote speaker Jason McLennan, founder and CEO of the International Living Future Institute, and Amanda Sturgeon, vice president of the Living Building Challenge. Sturgeon will discuss biophilia and net zero energy. Sturgeon, who presented a session on the same topic at last year’s Greenbuild, is a national thinker on biophilia and how it applies to buildings, Liljequist said.

“I think people are really increasingly seeing the connections between biophilia and net-zero energy and net-zero water buildings,” Liljequist said. “Biophilia and the human nature connection is a really important thing for the institute both from a philosophical standpoint and how it really factors into the building performance.”

The conference will also feature next generation technologies such as energy storage, heat pump technologies and sewage heat recovery. Through the sharing of information and best practices, Liljequist believes attendees will have a greater understanding as to the feasibility and benefits of seeking the Living Building Challenge and new, innovative way to create net-zero buildings.

“This is a way to at least engage a conversation with folks. Net-zero energy is a popular concept — people get it and it’s a good conversation starter,” Liljequist said. “What we find with projects is they look at net-zero energy and then they look at the whole Living Building Challenge and then they start to realize maybe the whole challenge is possible.”

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