Detroit conference to focus on ‘Zero Net Energy’ commercial buildings

DETROIT–The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Green Home Institute is sponsoring “Reaching for Net Zero Commercial Buildings in Michigan,” a conference on building or retrofitting buildings that generate as much energy that they use, on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jam Handy, 2900 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Registration is $35 and can be purchased here.

The event aims to bring together solar and energy efficiency contractors, architects, developers, building owners, and renewable energy advocates to discuss how buildings–from office buildings to apartment complexes to churches to schools–can be retrofitted or designed to be “Zero Net Energy,” or close to it–in other words, buildings that possess onsite technology to generate as much power as they use.

Keynote speakers include Joel Howrani Heeres, director of the city of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability, and Douglas Kelbaugh, professor and former dean of the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

There will also be case studies of existing projects, such as the retrofitting of the union hall of Local 58 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Detroit; the Jam Handy event venue itself; Keeler Flats, a 132-unit low-income housing development in Grand Rapids; the Long Lake Culinary Campus in Traverse City; the new Aviation Education Center at Western Michigan University’s College of Aviation campus, the former W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek; the new administration building and visitor center at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe; and others.

There will also be breakout sessions on zero net energy for faith-based and nonprofit organizations; geothermal energy; financing for zero net energy projects; and the overall future of the zero net energy movement.

The event will conclude with an afterglow reception at 5 p.m. at Kiesling, 449 E. Milwaukee Ave. in Detroit.

More about the Green Home Institute at

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