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The Nuance of Net-Zero: why it’s not enough

September 13, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

September 13, 2023
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Join AIA and Partner First Energy/Willdan for an AIA-approved education.  Willdan is a AIA and AIA PA continuing education provider as well as an allied member.

Course Description: 
For nearly two decades, ‘net-zero’ has been a rallying cry for architects pursuing sustainable design. In 2006, solar and wind energy represented a negligible part of the grid, but in the past 15+ years renewable but intermittent solar and wind have been the fastest growing sources of energy. As we approach 2030, we ask ourselves: is net-zero the right goal or does our goal require more nuance? The challenge is that the grid must always strike a balance between energy generation and energy consumption, not just on average over the course of the year. Historically we have maintained this balance by adjusting power plant generation to match the demand; increasingly, we will be turning to buildings to help maintain the balance. This session will offer considerations for building-grid interactions.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Describe the changes happening to the electric grid and why they can inform how we design buildings.
  • Realize how the timing of energy use affects its environmental impact.
  • Evaluate which types of strategies can make a building a good “grid citizen.”
  • Compare and contrast metrics that can be used to evaluate building interaction with the grid.

Who Should Attend:
Attendees will be project team members familiar with design for commercial buildings, including a basic understanding of building systems and energy efficiency strategies.



Vincent Mazzella, Project Manager, Willdan, Implementation Contractor for FirstEnergy
Vincent works with design teams and building owners to reduce overall building energy consumption through detailed energy modeling and comparative analysis. He has six years of experience in energy efficiency project management implementing PV systems, LED lighting, and efficient HVAC systems. Vincent received his B.S. degree from Fordham University in Engineering Physics.

Abhishek Pal, Energy Specialist, Willdan, Implementation Contractor for FirstEnergy
Since joining Willdan in March 2021, Abhishek has worked with design teams and building owners to optimize building performance through comparative analysis with detailed energy modeling. He has five years of experience providing engineering support to energy efficiency utility programs in various parts of the country. Abhishek received his graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station.


September 13, 2023
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Categories:


AIA Pennsylvania