Buildings alone contribute almost 40% of total US carbon emissions, and Zero Net Energy buildings will play an aggressive role as we strive to mitigate the effects of climate change. California is leading the way with mandates that all new residential construction be Net Zero Energy by 2020, and commercial construction to follow suit by 2030. The market is pivoting, and companies and designers are finding the opportunity in these shifts. Gaining traction, Zero Net Water, and Zero Net Waste movements are taking hold across industries as well, as inefficient systems and industry waste are being more accurately seen risks and hidden costs and value is extracted from streams previously identified as waste only.

Verdical Group, a full-service green building consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California, organized the Net Zero 2016 Conference to convene thought leaders and decision makers around case studies featuring net zero buildings, manufacturing techniques, and the role of net zero moving forward. The 3rd Annual Net Zero Conference, hosted August 19th, 2016 at Southern California Gas’s Energy Resource Center, assembled a high level group of built environment professionals around the application of net zero design techniques and applied strategies.

Brad Lilquiest

Courtesy of Verdical Group

Over 800 architects, engineers, designers, manufacturers, consultants, and various other professionals registered for the event, which opened with remarks from Verdical Group Founder & Principal Drew Shula. Shula introduced the Conference Sponsors, and reminded attendees about the role all Green Building professionals play in improving our environment.

Keynote Speaker Seth Maxwell, President and Founder of Thirst Project, kicked off the day by discussing the global water crisis, and the 663 million people who lack access to clean potable water. Globally, 88% of all disease is caused by lack of access to clean, safe water, and Thirst Project goes into the world’s most vulnerable communities, hires local drillers, and builds fresh-water wells to draw safe, protected water. Since 2008, Thirst Project has been raising awareness and funds to improve lives around the world, and involve America’s youth in the fight for global access to clean water.

The Speakers

Courtesy of Verdical Group

The half-day conference included a variety of short TED-style presentations and panel discussions from nationally leading Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms, Manufacturers, Utilities and Rating Systems, with speakers introduced by Verdical Group’s Sofia Siegel and Emily Hand. Conference presentations covered the applications and scalability of net zero practices, including energy, water and waste. Presentation topics included: a manufacturer case study on achieving zero landfill; net positive Living Building Design at institutions of higher education; a current case study highlighting the successes of recovering energy from waste heat; bringing net zero water and net zero energy to scale; and a panel of thought leaders from Utilities and Rating Systems. The conference speakers, representing a diverse mix of thought leaders from a variety of industries emphasized the impacts of net zero design and implementation across industries and throughout the built environment as we work to build a future where all buildings perform at a net zero energy, water and waste standard.

Conference Speakers included:

  • KEYNOTE: Seth Maxwell, CEO, Thirst Project
  • Drew Shula, Founder & Principal, Verdical Group
  • Kayleigh Gregory, Sustainability Coordinator, Mohawk Industries
  • Brian Court, Partner, The Miller Hull Partnership
  • Anthony Brower, Sustainable Design Director, Gensler
  • Justin Di Palo, Energy Engineer, Glumac
  • Lisa Matthiessen, FAIA, LEED Fellow
  • Joel Cesare, Sustainable Building Advisor, City of Santa Monica
  • Lisa Alexander, Vice President of Customer Solutions, SoCalGas
  • David Jacot, Director of Efficiency Solutions, LADWP
  • Brad Liljequist, Director of Net Zero Energy Buildings, International Living Future Institute
  • Bill McDonnell, Water Use Efficiency Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Marc Ulrich, Vice President of Customer

The program concluded with a Q&A with all conference speakers followed by a networking reception. For more information about the Conference, please visit: To receive the presentation slides and video recording, please contact Event Coordinator, Sofia Siegel, at [email protected].




About Verdical Group
Verdical Group is a full service green building consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Our services include: LEED, Commissioning, Energy Modeling, Program Management, and Events. The name “Verdical” is derived from the Latin root for “green” and plays on the word “vertical” – signifying the value created through green building strategies. With experience on more than 85+ LEED projects, the firm advises on sustainability strategies with our client’s bottom line in mind.