Join the conference + attend workshops to receive 8 AIA CEUs

Attend the ILFI shoulder session for another 4 credits!

Passive House, Zero Net Energy and Architecture 2030 – the future is here

Alex Boetzel, Chief Operations Officer, Green Hammer

The building sector accounts for about 40% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, more than any other sector. Therefore, reducing energy use – and consequently, CO2 emissions – of buildings, is an instant and continued action on climate change. The Passive House Standard is the most stringent energy efficiency standard in the world today and ensures total energy reductions by 65-75%. Allowing on-site, renewable energy generation, sufficient to make building Zero Net Energy and carbon-neutral. In addition, Passive House buildings are durable and resilient and provide exceptional comfort and indoor air quality. Passive House makes Zero Energy Buildings possible today.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the definition of the Passive House Standard
  2. Learn and understand passive design principals
  3. Introduction and definition of Zero Net Energy
  4. Understand Passive House case studies.

Water Strategies – Grass Roots Lessons from NOLA

Arthur Johnson, Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development’s Executive Director
Rebecca Wodder, Water Resources Advocate & Island Press Author

Learn how to build community resilience as a response to climate-driven water challenges—and build natural and social capital in the process. Ms. Wodder brings a policy context and will discuss strategies for community engagement, while Mr. Johnson will provide case studies in building community resilience using examples from his work with residents to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Strategies that only focus on restoring and replicating natural hydrological functions can be inadequate for landscapes that are heavily altered by humans. Instead, we must develop sustainable solutions for coastal cities that work with, rather than against, nature. While it can seem daunting to making a difference at the local level with a challenge as global and complex as climate change, when it comes to water issues, grassroots community action can often be the most effective.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Develop concepts in community outreach and education related to water mitigation
  2. Identify opportunities to apply climate resilience to development projects
  3. Apply learning lessons form a natural disaster to improve design strategies on sites
  4. Understand how social equity initiatives can enhance social capitol in communities through neighborhood scale efforts

Building the Decarbonized Future           

Vincent Martinez, COO Architecture 2030

In the wake of the US’s intention to withdrawal from the Paris Agreement it is clearer than ever that change in the building sector will come from the bottom up. For some time now, real and measurable progress has been made at the state and local levels, and in the private sector where building design and planning, innovation, equity, policy, business, and climate change intersect. Architecture 2030 will share the critical role of private public partnerships, educational tools, and new policy interventions for cities in decarbonizing the built environment by 2050.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Frame the Paris Agreement goals within the context of the building sector — what are the targets, when must they be met, and where must action be taken?
  2. Illustrate the intersection of equity and resilience with climate goals; how community-led efforts create more meaningful and more effective solutions for building emissions reduction.
  3. Identify current public policies and programs at the local or regional level with the greatest potential to affect building GHG emissions.
  4. Understand the role of private partnerships, networks and individual designers in meeting the challenge and accelerating change.

Affordable Housing: Ripe for Disruption

Bec Chapin, Founder, Engage Possibility, LLC

In this session, participants go on a tour of how we currently approach affordable housing and sustainability and build the case for how we can become transformational in our efforts and our results. We are the gate keepers to the change we want to see in the world. This talk is a journey of sustainability ideals meet business, meet social justice meets systems thinking meet the housing industry with clear calls to action and first steps we can take. From the perspective of a construction industry expert with a passion for social entrepreneurship and positive change.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will be able to see the impact of class, race and ethnicity in the sustainability movement, specifically the built environment.
  2. Participants will be able to see how their actions impact the system of sustainable goals, climate change and affordable housing.
  3. Participants will be able to list 4 or more first steps to combating the access gaps and failures of affordable housing.
  4. Participants will have a renewed sense of hope and purpose in combating homelessness, housing insecurity and climate change.

Three’s Company: Cities, Certification Programs, and Utilities for the Win!

Shannon Todd, TRC Solutions

On behalf of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Shannon Todd will share a vision for partnerships between local governments, certification programs, and utilities – where each offers a benefit to builders to make green building an obvious, cost effective choice. Shannon will share examples of massive uptake in green building in regions where governments and utilities offer complimentary benefits for builders that certify their homes with a certification program – benefits like expedited permitting, cash incentives, density bonuses, design substitutions, and waived fees. Bellingham and surrounding Whatcom County are ripe for such partnerships. As a follow up to the success stories, Shannon will present findings on how this region can take the first steps to introduce similar partnerships.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how local governments throughout the Northwest have implemented successful partnerships to stimulate green building.
  2. Learn about the kinds of benefits that local governments and utilities are able to offer builders.
  3. Learn what conditions make Bellingham and surrounding Whatcom County ripe for green building partnerships.
  4. Learn about next steps to drive partnerships between local government, utilities, and certification programs.

Designing for Social Equity         

Patti Southard, King County Green Tools

Does your project contribute to social justice in your community? Even with the best of intentions, community development projects can often lead to gentrification and further disenfranchise current inhabitants.  How do we create vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities that all people can enjoy and benefit from? Patti Southard will explore this issue through the lens of the Liberty Bank Building in Seattle that is an exemplary approach to designing for equity and that is actively fighting gentrification and embracing a rich cultural heritage.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Examine a successful project was able to accomplish for social equity
  2. Explore how we can apply these same principles and approaches to other projects – both the design process and the design itself.
  3. Learn valuable lessons on how to design for equity
  4. Create strategies and approaches that will allow us to holistically create buildings and communities that thrive at the intersection of sustainability and social justice.


Molly Freed, ILFI Policy Coordinator
Sam Wright, ILFI Living Building Challenge Technical Manager

This session will present tangible resources and processes for achieving the Living Building Challenge specifically within a low density, predominately residential locale like Bellingham. We will pull from real world examples of projects that are leading the way to a Living Future within similar contexts, and the strategies they have used to diminish the gap between current limitations and the end-game positive solutions we seek.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify three health and financial risk factors that disproportionately impact low income communities.
  2. Understand the components and traits of Living Affordable Housing, and ways that it is uniquely poised to benefit low income occupants.
  3. Learn about the successes, obstacles, and lessons learned from a variety of affordable housing case studies around the country.
  4. Discover new tools for creating affordable housing that meets the Energy, Water, and Materials Petals of the Living Building Challenge.

Stormwater Management 4.0 – 40 years later

Colleen Mitchell, PE LFA, Herrera Environmental Consulting
Chris Webb, PE LEED Fellow,  Herrera Environmental Consulting
Ellen Southard, Hon. AIA & Founder, Site Story

Where do we stand after 40 years of implementing stormwater management practices?  This timely session examines where we have been and where we are going with stormwater management including best-available science and professional knowledge from the lab and the field.  Chris Webb and Colleen Mitchell from Herrera will present emerging trends, research findings, and best practices for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design. The session will discuss the state of the practice for GSI design and will examine emerging trends and what the future may hold for the design of the next generation’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the evolution of stormwater management practices in the United States;
  2. Examine the current state of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practice, and learn about the latest scientific findings and GSI design practices
  3. Gain insight into approaches to improving GSI design based on science and knowledge from the lab and the field;
  4. Understand where the practice of stormwater management is heading and emerging

The NET ZERO ENERGY evolution

Sam Lai, Chief Acquisitions Officer & Co-founder, Green Canopy Homes

A fast paced, story based, “TED-style” presentation. Sam will take you on a minute journey from the beginning of life on earth, the early days of home building to our Net Zero Energy future. This is the funny and humble story of Green Canopy Home’s process of pivoting its entire production line to Net Zero Energy. Sam will also share practical Net Zero Energy home building takeaways including company strategy, market case studies, project market analysis, construction budget line-items and marketing & sales strategy. Warning! – You may cringe at the belly flops, hand-wringing scenes and lessons painfully learned.  No swan song here – this story is designed for your own individual or group process of growth and evolution for a rapidly changing world that needs you.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives: 

  1. “Goldilocks” conditions needed to create an adaptable organization.
  2. Explore strategies to hack the status quo in construction and real estate.
  3. Hear about our lessons learned (so you won’t have to experience them yourself!)

Shoulder SESSION

Included Free with your Conference ticket – Receive 4 AIA CEUs

Building a Better Birchwood Charrette: Envisioning Deep Green and Affordability

Wednesday November 8, 8-12pm
Eleanor Apartments

Living Buildings can be accessible to all. This half day charrette will use the Living Building Challenge Framework to assess the Birchwood Affordable Housing Project to build homes that have no energy bills, are free from toxic materials, and are truly sustainable for future generations. The charrette is designed to be an interactive and educational experience for the participants. Join Bundle Design Studio, Sustainable Connections, and the Living Future Institute for this hands on workshop.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Thank you to our Green Building & Sustainable Design Program Sponsors!

Gold Sponsors

Sanitary Service Company

Silver Sponsors

Bellingham Bay Builders
2020 Engineering
Barkley Company
Chuckanut Builders
Lautenbach Industries
RMC Architects
People’s Bank
RJ Group

Bronze Sponsors