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Building Decarbonization 101: The Technology, Data, Operations, and Finances of Net Zero Development

In this online program, participants will dig into groundbreaking buildings worldwide, hear from a global group of experts, and emerge with holistic strategies to apply to their projects.

Decarbonizing existing and new buildings is a top priority of cities worldwide, from New York to Tokyo. At the same time, companies are seeking more appealing facilities amidst enduring reluctance to office returns from workers. In response, owners, architects, engineers, and real estate professionals are racing to identify technologies, critical data, operating models, and financial cases that enable the success of modern retrofits and designs.

What to Expect

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Two people shaking hands in an office

In 2024, building owners, developers, architects, and engineers need to meet new performance mandates and address societal needs for everything from energy savings and carbon emissions reduction to occupant safety, wellness, and increased productivity. Specifically:

  • Owners must consider public mandates to decarbonize amidst growing tenant expectations to improve air quality and spatial amenities while also considering the impact of hybrid work on their bottom line.
  • Tenants want spaces and technologies that provide teams a reason to come to the office and improve their working experience.
  • Architects and engineers must grapple with the crushing demand to redesign existing buildings to meet these new needs while designing future buildings.

Sessions will cover (order may change in the program):

Session 1:  Building Decarbonization 101, LEED Platinum Case Study, & Unlocking Existing Buildings

The program begins by establishing a foundational understanding of the Building Decarbonization movement, including its driving forces behind reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its primary contributors. We’ll provide an overview of the policies shaping Building Decarbonization and their impact. Additionally, we’ll delve into decarbonization strategies, followed by exploring one of Spain’s newest, most innovative, and most sustainable buildings – Platinum 22 @ BCN, recognized as the highest-scoring LEED platinum building in the commercial rental sector globally.

A significant portion of our session is dedicated to understanding how to enhance the performance of existing building stock. We’ll discuss technological retrofits that can improve the operational control of buildings and explore the synergy between Building Science and Data Science for benchmarking and performance verification. Industry experts will share insights and case studies on how building owners have improved efficiency with their existing buildings.

Session 2:  Net Zero Building Development & Data Driven Decarbonization

In this session, we will further explore the development of Net Zero buildings, focusing on case studies that showcase successful decarbonization projects. We’ll examine the Why, What, and How of developing Net Zero projects, emphasizing the impact of decarbonization on project design and building performance.

Following this, we’ll delve into the digital infrastructure and planning necessary to support the operation of hyper-connected, high-performance buildings. We’ll discuss the role of tools such as Data Analytics, Building Digitization, and Digital Twins in enabling efficient building operations. Participants will gain insight into market trends surrounding AI and machine learning, software platforms, and applications, as well as the associated challenges, risks, and opportunities. Lastly, we’ll address cybersecurity and cultural considerations related to collecting and managing building and occupant data.

Session 3:  Decarbonization Policies & Certifications, Passive House Case Study

During this session, participants will analyze and compare various sustainability and wellness certifications, including LEED, Passive House, GBI’s Green Globes, and FitWel, among others. We’ll also explore emerging smart building certifications such as SPIRE, WiredScore, and SBC. Additionally, we’ll delve into the evolving penalties that owners must consider when pursuing decarbonization efforts and discuss which certifications or standards are most suitable for new versus existing buildings.

Students will get an intimate look at the planning process for the Winthrop Center, the largest Passive House commercial office building in the US in Boston, MA. They’ll have the opportunity to hear from the Director of Sustainable Development of Winthrop Center regarding the driving factors behind the selected building certifications, the challenges encountered, and the lessons learned as the building approaches its one-year mark of operations.

Session 4:  Financing and ROI of Decarbonization, PropTech & Understanding Buyer vs Seller Market

Building upon the concepts covered in Session 3, participants will develop essential skills for successful building projects, with a focus on operational considerations. Students will learn about funding mechanisms for Building Decarbonization and potential avenues for finding money to finance decarbonization efforts. Students will learn to navigate pricing considerations, evaluate various procurement models (OpEx vs. CapEx vs. Hybrid models), assess technology maturity, and distinguish between startup tech and vaporware. Additionally, participants will enhance their understanding of multidisciplinary design coordination, commissioning, data transparency, cybersecurity, and efficient building operations.

We’ll conclude by examining how to identify the different value drivers for both buyers and sellers of building decarbonization technologies. This critical aspect will equip participants to ask the right questions and adopt an outcome-oriented mindset. Furthermore, we’ll explore exciting climate and PropTech advancements that are helping organizations create more sustainable, healthier, and safer environments for living, working, and leisure.

  • Key Drivers – identify what is influencing developers and designers as they plan for new buildings and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, including the sociotechnical issues that affect the uses of building technology, with an emphasis on public mandates for building decarbonization.
  • Technology – Explore the intersection of PropTech (property technology) with building users while identifying the opportunities, key personas, and challenges of implementing this technology for building owners and developers.
  • Data – Examine the role of data in benchmarking and performance verification while planning for Net Zero and carbon-neutral buildings while grasping the nuance of what data generated by the building is important to which audience.
  • Certifications – Explore which building certifications or standards best suit new vs. existing buildings and how industry certifications and standards impact technology procurement decisions.
  • Operations – Explore high-performance buildings’ operational considerations, including multidisciplinary design coordination, commissioning, data transparency, and cybersecurity.
  • Finances – Establish metrics for high-performance building financial goals and Benefit-Cost Ratios.

This course is a comprehensive yet entry-level program for building owners and professionals in Commercial Real Estate, Facilities, Planning, Engineering, and Technology Planning roles who believe in the power and promise of building technologies, specifically:

  • Builders, business development, city planners, and other building stakeholders
  • Architects, Developers, and Engineers in working in Commercial Buildings markets
  • Property owners – individuals with oversight or ownership of significant real estate footprints in need of renovation/adaptation/decarbonization
  • Heads of campus facilities seeking to overhaul their buildings
  • Technology Planners seeking an understanding of emerging technologies
  • Lectures that orient you to key course concepts
  • Group exercises, growing in scale and complexity as the course progresses
  • Reports from groups on their exercise work – enabling greater collective learning
  • Reflection on session learnings


Ernie Beck

Associate Principal, NV5 Engineering & Technology

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Brad Mahoney

Director of Sustainable Development at MP Boston

Headshot of Joseph Bocchiaro

Joseph Bocchiaro

Principal Consultant Emeritus, NV5 Engineering & Technology

Guest Speakers

Beth Eckenrode

Author of The Power of Existing Buildings, and Co-founder & Board Chair of AUROS Group

Iris Chan

Executive Director, NV5 Net Zero

Participant Stories

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Angela Han

Senior Director, Development | PIF Portfolio Company

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Ariam Kesete

Founder & CEO | AK Development

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Steve Tatham

Theme Park Designer

Building Decarbonization 101: The Technology, Data, Operations, and Finances of Net Zero Development

March 20, 22, 25, & 27, 2024 | 11:00am – 1:00pm Eastern

Tuition:  $1,750
AMDP Elective Units: 1

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Discounts & Deadlines

Please email us at [email protected] with any questions and to ask about group signup.

Registration Deadline: 3 hours before the start of the program.

Full Discount and Cancellation Policies