Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Faced with Federal Climate Change Denial,

2,500 Industry Leaders
Commit to Green Building


The opening plenary session, examining whole-systems focus, will be given by Dr. Craig Jones, of Circular Ecology. Courtesy photo.

The opening plenary session, examining whole-systems focus, will be given by Dr. Craig Jones, of Circular Ecology. Courtesy photo.

As the federal government slips into climate change denial, sustainable energy practitioners in the northeast are increasingly committed to building more healthful, more durable, and more energy efficient buildings and communities. Organizers of the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show expect 2,500 professionals from every field in the building trades to attend, sharing best practices for building and for climate change mitigation. The conference will be held on March 7-9 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

“NESEA has been holding conferences for architects, engineers, and builders for more than 30 years,” said conference co-chair Heather Nolen, of Steven Winter Associates. “We’ve built a reputation as a one-stop venue for all things related to sustainable energy in our buildings. Conference topics provide attendees with techniques ready for immediate use on current projects and provide inspiration for future endeavors.”

Jennifer Marrapese, Executive Director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), which hosts the conference, remarked, “What separates this year’s conference from those in the past is that we’ve reached far beyond our single-family, residential roots to address much larger buildings and communities. As the urgency of mitigating climate change increases, we’ll be there to answer the call.”

This year’s program has unprecedented diversity. It features over 60 sessions and workshops and presents 100 exhibitors. Sessions focus on buildings of all types and sizes. There are several case studies of high performance building projects on college campuses, including techniques used to engage occupants in their operation.

Conference Co-Chair Stephan Wollenburg, an independent energy consultant in Worcester, MA, explained, “The most effective way that we, as professionals, can mitigate climate change is to ensure that our largest buildings are as efficient as possible. But it’s not just about the buildings anymore. Our sessions go beyond energy. They address the whole system – from how much energy it takes to produce and transport our building materials, to how our buildings are designed to operate in the context of a smarter and cleaner grid, to whether building occupants know how to operate their buildings to minimize their environmental footprint.”


The opening plenary session, examining whole-systems focus, will be given by Dr. Craig Jones, of Circular Ecology. Dr. Jones is an embodied energy, carbon footprint, and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) expert. He was listed as number 14 on Building Design’s list of the most influential people in UK sustainability in 2012. He provided data to carbon footprint the construction of the London 2012 Olympics. He tailored an embodied energy and carbon database for the $22 billion Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, which aspires to be the first zero-carbon, zero-waste, and car-free city. Dr. Jones’ session will provide a visual overview of how our own local consumption can have unexpected impacts – even on the other side of the world.

Other conference themes include the following:

  • Water, water everywhere: How to heat water efficiently, how to conserve it, how to build for resilience where flooding is a growing threat. In one session, world-class expert Gary Klein will offer a hands-on opportunity to learn how best to configure a DHW system for energy efficiency.
  • Occupant behavior: A building is only as efficient as its occupants. The conference features several sessions to ensure that energy efficient projects perform as intended, and that the occupants know how to optimize the building for efficiency and comfort.
  • Community-scale solutions: Several sessions focus on scaling energy efficiency and resiliency for communities and neighborhoods. In one session, “Boston Women Leading Change” will dive deep into ideas and solutions they generated from a trip to Copenhagen. These include storm water management, wind energy, transportation planning, district heating, and social resiliency.
  • New technologies: The trade show floor will feature the latest in sustainable energy technologies. These include energy storage solutions, charging technologies for electric vehicles, and more. Two “lightning round” conference sessions will feature practical information on products and services.

Additional sessions will be given by Patrick Deegan of DAC Technologies, Thomas RC Hartman of C&H Architects, Stephanie Horowitz of Zero Energy Design, Declan Keefe of Placetailor, Katrin Klingenberg of PHIUS, Andrea Love of Payette, Bill Maclay of Maclay Architects, Ty Newell of University of Illinois, Christopher Nielson of Bruner/Cott, Karl Rabago of Pace Law Center, Marc Rosenbaum of South Mountain Co., Cooper Schilling of Kieran Timberlake, John Straube of RDH Building Science Laboratories, Paul Torcellini of NREL, Kohta Ueno of Building Science Corp., solar pioneer Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates, who installed photovoltaics on the White House in the 1970s and again in 2014, and many more.

The BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show is the region’s leading event for professionals and practitioners working to build a more sustainable world. It is hosted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). NESEA was formed in 1974 with a mission to advance the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by connecting professionals to each other and to information. NESEA serves 10 northeastern states. (

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