BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 22

In late 2016, BED awarded Better BEE a contract to develop the
standard. Led by Conboy, they began outlining a strategy inspired
by similar programs through NYSERDA, NSTAR and SMUD. But for
Conboy, success in Burlington requires a three-pronged platform
THE COMMERCIAL MARKET
BED only has 3,500 commercial customers (compared to 16,500 of financing, training and a program for residents to take a
stepped approach to deep energy retrofits.
residential customers), yet this sector consumes 75 percent
The key to achieving a net zero Burlington, says Conboy, is to
of all electricity and natural gas. And the top 20 commercial
bend the cost curve so that net zero buildings are competitive
customers consume 50 percent of all residential and commercial
with code compliant buildings. "We're at the point where cost
electricity combined.
parity is achievable. And some might go as far as saying that
Burns said that when it comes to new construction, BED used
you could build an energy efficient commercial scale project at
to just rely on the energy code. "We gave them a prescriptive
or below conventional costs," said Conboy. He points to places
cookbook," he said. BED simply verified that the right equipment
that have adopted energy standards akin to Passive House
was installed without monitoring actual performance. "It was a
performance. "Whether it's Brussels or Germany, or Australia,
very prescriptive way of doing things and that's how a lot of new
there was a period of time where the learning curve was
construction programs work across the country."
subsidized so that either through pilot projects or other means,
When the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy
the knowledge base was grown." That's what Conboy wants
and Environmental Design (LEED) standard became popular, BED
to mirror with BED through targeted professional training. The
started exploring how they could promote energy modeling. Burns
and his team became LEED Accredited Professionals, but they were goal is to get contractors to stop "baking their numbers with a
5, 10 or 15 percent adder because they're going to, for example,
frustrated that many LEED Certified projects were not improving
energy performance beyond code. So they started a new, voluntary install windows to a degree that they hadn't before." He points
to a training on thermal bridging offered in 2016 that resulted
program for new construction projects. BED pays 50 percent of
in a project manager bringing the class wall mockup directly to
the energy model cost up front, then pays 50 percent of energy
a jobsite. That simple act was a game changer for his company,
rebate incentives based on the model upon occupancy. To ensure
that the building actually performs as designed, they recalibrate the which now confidently markets high performance buildings
at market rates. BED and Conboy believe that every firm in
energy model 9 months to a year later based on occupancy data,
Burlington can do the same.
and the remaining 50 percent of rebate incentives are paid based
From an industry perspective, the timing is right for a net zero
on actual performance. If the building is not performing well, BED
offers technical assistance to get the building where it needs to be. standard in Burlington. This spring, the entire city was awarded
2030 District Designation. Led by Vermont Green Building
According to Burns, this assistance is designed to occur within the
Network's Executive Director, Jenna DiMare, the 2030 District is
warranty window provided by general contractors, so many of the
charged by BED to create a roadmap for businesses in Burlington
corrections are covered.
Almost every new development has participated in the program. to reach net zero by 2030, starting with benchmarking the energy
use of major properties in the city.
Burns said that "it's one of the smartest and best things we've
Indeed, this knowledge base is already growing in Burlington.
ever done. It completely changes our role, it changes the attitude
of everybody on the team. The owners are a little bit reluctant, but A new company called Vermod is designing and building modular
once they do it, they want to do it again. We really feel that at the homes meant as an alternative to conventional mobile homes.
Through efficient pre-fab design and a mix of subsidies from
end of the day we end up with a stronger, more persistent energy
savings project where everyone's better informed, rather than just housing trusts and EEUs such as BED, their homes are cost
competitive. And, unlike conventional modular homes that
filling out a prescriptive form and getting a check."
depreciate in value, Vermod's homes appreciate in value, much like
any other house with a permanent foundation.
DEVELOPING A DEEP RETROFIT STANDARD
Burns acknowledges that he's championing an "audacious plan."
In 2015, a local energy efficiency financing firm called Better
Yet the activity in the last year alone has taken the work to new
Building Energy Efficiency (Better BEE) sent Ravi Parikh, an
heights, and with it, there is a growing sense of excitement in
Energy Services Specialist with BED, to the Passive House
International conference in Germany. The exchange was organized the building community. That's certainly true for Conboy, who is
focused on dispelling myths that this work can't be done. "There's
by Better BEE's CEO Rob Conboy, who was impressed by Europe's
a Yankee, pragmatic way of approaching [net zero] that Burlington
rapid adoption of the Passive House standard, and who saw the
potential for the same transformation in Burlington. The timing
is well suited for," he said.
of the conference was ideal - the Mayor had just adopted BED's
proposed net zero goal and BED was developing a strategy to
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
engage its aging residential housing stock.
Mike Crowley believes that a sustainable design/build revolution
At the conference PHI introduced a new excel-based tool called
can heal our relationship to each other and the natural world. He is
the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) designed to provide
the President of the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. There, he's
a step-by-step approach to deep energy retrofits. When Parikh
focused on empowering sustainability and climate leaders - from
returned to Burlington, he gave a detailed presentation to BED
professionals to Do-it-Yourselfers to change-makers - with design/
senior staff and the Mayor and recommended that Burlington
build skills that make sustainability tangible. Mike holds a Masters
develop a residential deep energy retrofit program. According to
of Science from Schumacher College, and has held leadership
Burns, the presentation was "intriguing and mind-opening" and
positions at the Harvard Office of Sustainability and the Institute for
inspired BED to pursue a new deep energy retrofit standard.
Sustainable Communities.
BUSINESS MEMBER
branding is targeted for each type of residential customer, from
single families to multi-families and condos.

22 * BUILDINGENERGY VOL. 36 NO. 2 | FALL 2017



BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017

From the Executive Director: A strategic plan for emerging professionals.
From the Board Chair: Taking flight into new territory.
What is Strategic Electrification? Simply Put, It’s an Energy Transformation: A core pathway to deep carbon reduction.
Better Steam Heat: Generating steam system upgrades in New York City.
Going All the Way:What it will really take to achieve net zero energy in Burlington, VT.
Are You Forging the Weakest Link?: A deeper dive into how the quest for resilience alters the design process.
Air Quality in Your Bedroom: Nighttime Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Bedrooms of 22 Vermont Homes: Can occupants of leaky houses breathe easy in their sleep?
Inclusive Diversity Key to Sustainability: Opinion: Sustainability planning must embrace diversity.
BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines: An interview with Jonathan Orpin.
High Performance Walls: Discover an alternative to traditional insulation methods that can reach superior insulation performance with thinner walls.
SAF®– A Solar Faade to Stay?: A technical overview of the newest attachment systems in the low-energy construction market.
NESEA Green Pages: This premier resource for sustainability professionals in the Northeast and beyond is just a few pages away. To have your business listed in next year’s Green Pages and become a NESEA business member today, visit nesea.org/join.
Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Intro
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 5
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - From the Executive Director: A strategic plan for emerging professionals.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 7
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - From the Board Chair: Taking flight into new territory.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 9
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - What is Strategic Electrification? Simply Put, It’s an Energy Transformation: A core pathway to deep carbon reduction.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 11
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 12
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 13
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 14
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 15
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Better Steam Heat: Generating steam system upgrades in New York City.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 17
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 18
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 19
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - INSERT1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - INSERT2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Going All the Way:What it will really take to achieve net zero energy in Burlington, VT.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 21
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 22
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 23
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Are You Forging the Weakest Link?: A deeper dive into how the quest for resilience alters the design process.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 25
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 26
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 27
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 28
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 29
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Air Quality in Your Bedroom: Nighttime Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Bedrooms of 22 Vermont Homes: Can occupants of leaky houses breathe easy in their sleep?
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 31
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 32
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 33
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Inclusive Diversity Key to Sustainability: Opinion: Sustainability planning must embrace diversity.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 35
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines: An interview with Jonathan Orpin.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 37
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - High Performance Walls: Discover an alternative to traditional insulation methods that can reach superior insulation performance with thinner walls.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 39
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 40
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 41
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - SAF®– A Solar Faade to Stay?: A technical overview of the newest attachment systems in the low-energy construction market.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 43
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 44
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 45
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 46
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 47
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - NESEA Green Pages: This premier resource for sustainability professionals in the Northeast and beyond is just a few pages away. To have your business listed in next year’s Green Pages and become a NESEA business member today, visit nesea.org/join.
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 49
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 50
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BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - INSERT4
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BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 75
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 76
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - 78
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - cover4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert1
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert2
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert3
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert4
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert5
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2017 - outsert6
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