Zero Energy Buildings - a Path to Zero Carbon


Zero Energy (ZE) buildings are not zero carbon, but they are a key pathway to reducing fossil fuel use and they set the stage for electrification and Decarbonization at both the building-level and the grid. Ms. Higgins will share the trends in California and North America for ZE buildings addressing the locations, sizes, types and energy use of these leading buildings. Then she will set this in the context of the policies that are priming the zero carbon pathway and the role of ZE buildings and practioners in moving to zero carbon. 



Cathy Higgins
Research Director
New Buildings Institute

Cathy Higgins is the NBI Research Director and has over 25 years in energy efficiency strategic planning, research, policy and large-scale project management. At NBI she manages work involving zero energy (ZE) buildings, measured performance, emerging technologies, market assessment and is increasingly engaged on the topics of electrification and decarbonization. She frequently shares findings on buildings and market trends nationally through conferences, webinars and meetings with practioners, program staff and policy makers. Cathy is currently leading a $5 million field demonstration in Los Angles on the retrofit potential and energy savings for shading and lighting technologies. Other recent projects include support on the New York Getting to Zero study, a gap analysis of California zero energy emerging technologies, and the energy performance of radiant cooling and heating systems energy use with University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to joining NBI in 2000, she served as Director of the Oregon Municipal Energy and Conservation Agency and was a Commercial Conservation Manager with Bonneville Power Administration. Cathy was recognized as a 2018 Woman of Vision by the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce and she has received Oregon and National Awards for her work in energy efficiency.