Reaching for Zero

June 20, 2018  8am-5pm  |  Fetzer Center, Kalamazoo, MI 

Reaching for Zero is a summit promoting widespread adoption of net zero energy building design and construction. The Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter invite change makers of all disciplines to attend this one-day event at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center.

Reaching for Zero will feature headliner Matt Grocoff, principal of Ann Arbor based THRIVE Collective. Concurrent sessions will cover topics related to on-site renewable energy, net-zero building design, regulatory frameworks, certification paths, local case studies, and more.

Summit includes continental breakfast, lunch, and networking reception.

Special Student Luncheon at WMU's Office for Sustainability!

Luncheon takes place from 11 am - 12:30 pm with special guest Matt Grocoff. The Office for Sustainability is located at 2529 West Michigan Avenue; get driving directions and more informaiton here. Check the "yes" option during registraiton to be included in the special luncheon.

Matt Grocoff, Keynote SpeakerKeynote Speaker: Matt Grocoff

Matt is the founding principal of the THRIVE Collaborative working to create life-enhancing buildings that harvest their own energy and water, create zero waste and are beautiful and restorative.

He was honored as a 2012 Michigan Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press, called a “proven zero energy master” by Green Building Elements and one of “Greater Detroit’s most progressive personalities” by MyFord Magazine. He is co-founder of Mission Zero Fest and a nationally renowned advocate and thought-leader on net zero energy buildings, Living Buildings and restorative design. Matt is host of Greenovation.TV, a contributor to the Environment Report on public radio, contributor to FOX2 News EnergyTeam, writer and the green renovation expert for Old House Web and ImprovementCenter.com.

Matt is a sought-after speaker, writer and a frequent source for journalists. He’s had the honor to speak at Google and TEDx and dozens of prestigious international conferences and events. He is a Living Future Accredited (LFA) professional having “demonstrated a holistic framing of sustainability and the understanding needed to help lead a transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.”

His home was selected as one of USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010″ and The Atlantic called it “sustainable perfection.” It is America’s oldest and Michigan’s first net-zero energy building, meaning it annually produces more energy than his family consumes. His work has been featured in two recent books People Habitat: 20 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities; No Regrets Remodeling and Green Is Good: Save Money, Make Money, and Help Your Community Profit from Clean Energy.

Matt is an adviser to the University of Michigan BLUElab team targeting Living Building Certification for his landmark home.

He has been featured in the pages and on the airwaves of hundreds of media outlets including USA TODAY, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, Fine Homebuilding, Preservation Magazine, Photon International, Solar Today, Fox Business News, This Old House and countless online magazines and blogs.

Matt is a Living Buildings Ambassador and LEED Green Associate. Matt is also an accomplished woodworker, amateur behavioral economist, biophiliac, avid sailor, backyard chicken enthusiast, urban farmer, certified California gray whale naturalist, energy geek and . . . a daddy.

Here's a sneak peek at Matt's own Ann Arbor- area home renovation!




08:00am-08:50am | Ballroom                  Registration / Networking / Continental Breakfast

08:50am-09:00am | Breakout                  Opening Remarks

09:00am-09:30am | Breakout                  Mission Zero House

09:30am-09:40am | Breakout                  Q&A

09:40am-10:10am | Breakout                  Eastside Zero Energy Ready Pocket Neighborhood

10:10am-10:20am | Breakout                  Q&A

10:20am-10:50am | Breakout                  Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Zero Net Energy Retrofit

10:50am-11:00am | Breakout                  Q&A

11:00am-11:15am | Lobby                      Coffee Break

11:15am-11:45am | Breakout                  On-Site Generation – Policy Perspectives

11:45am-11:55pm | Breakout                  Q&A

11:55am-12:25pm | Breakout                  The Zero Energy Lexicon – Certifications & Terminology

12:25pm-12:35pm | Breakout                  Q&A

12:35pm-01:40pm | Ballroom                  Lunch & Matt Grocoff Keynote

01:40pm-02:10pm | Gazebo                   Break / Wellness Activity

02:10pm-03:25pm | Ballroom                  Zero Energy Development Workshop – Overcoming Systemic Barriers in Kalamazoo County

03:25pm-03:30pm | Ballroom                  Closing Remarks

03:30pm-05:00pm | Lobby                     Networking Reception



08:50am-09:00am | Breakout
Opening Remarks & Sponsor Recognition  |  Matt Hollander, Board Member, Southwest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum

09:00am-09:30am | Breakout  
Mission Zero House  |  Presenter: Matt Grocoff, Founding Principal, THRIVE Collaborative

The Mission Zero House, a 1901 historic preservation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a 1,500 square foot single family home in a climate with four distinct seasons (temperatures ranging from 95°F to -20°F [35°C to -28°C]). Occupied by the Grocoff family (Matt, Kelly and their two young daughters), the intent of Mission Zero House is to redefine home, proving that where we live is much more than four walls, but a space to cultivate and sustain community.

The Grocoffs set out to restore their Victorian-era home to Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water and ultimately make the building a learning tool for the community in both spirit and ecology. The project was a historic rehabilitation achieved within the restraints of the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation guidelines—not a gut rehab. A visitor would never recognize the house as a typical “green” house, which was an intentional aspect of the design.

More info at https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/mission-zero-house/ and www.happyhome.how.

09:40am-10:10am | Breakout
Eastside Zero Energy Ready Pocket Neighborhood  |  Presenters: Tom Tishler, Construction Manager, Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity; Shaun Wright, Deputy Director, Community Homeworks; Chelsie Hubbarth, Communications, Grants & Operations Manager, Kalamazoo Land Bank; Steve Hassevoort, Managing Principal, InForm Architecture

Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity has been building Zero Energy Ready homes in Kalamazoo since 2016. Build crews use cutting edge, science-based construction techniques that minimize utility bills and offer homeowners a simple pathway to net zero energy. All they need to provide after move-in is their own renewable energy, such as rooftop solar, and they can avoid paying for electricity or gas altogether.

Building upon Habitat’s success, the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and InForm Architecture have partnered to design and construct a pocket neighborhood of Zero Energy Ready homes in Kalamazoo’s Eastside Neighborhood. The neighborhood will include affordable Habitat homes as well as other home ownership opportunities for Kalamazoo residents.

10:20am-10:50am | Breakout
Kalamazoo Nature Center’s Zero Net Energy Retrofit    Presenters: Jim Escamilla, President/CEO, Byce & Associates; Nathan Smallwood, President/CEO, Kalamazoo Nature Center; Benjamin Glendening, Zero-Net Energy Pilot Program Manager, Consumers Energy

The Kalamazoo Nature Center has partnered with Byce & Associates to participate in Consumers Energy’s Zero Net Energy Pilot Program. The goal of the program is to encourage new construction and major renovation projects to pursue Zero Net Energy through a structured design, build, measurement, and verification incentive process.

This pilot program is intended to support businesses in achieving their Zero Net Energy goals through the development of high performance buildings. It provides participants with a selection of incentives to fund energy modeling, engineering support, cost-benefit analysis, system commissioning, and post-occupancy measurement and verification.

On-Site Generation – Policy Perspectives  |  Presenters: Walker Modic, Sustainability Specialist, Bell’s Brewery; TBD

Regulations governing the interconnection of onsite energy generation to the regional energy transmission system dictate the feasibility and cost consequence of onsite generation systems. This session will review the different types of interconnection standards in southwest Michigan and their role in shaping the suitable technologies and size of onsite generation systems for residences, neighborhoods, and businesses.  

The Zero Energy Lexicon – Certifications & Terminology  |  Presenter: Brett Little, Executive Director, Green Home Institute

Zero Energy, Zero Net Energy, Living Building Challenge, Net Positive, LEED, the list goes on. If you’re as confused as we are this session will help you navigate the alphabet soup. Brett Little, from Grand Rapids-based Green Home Institute, will outline the most common net zero certifications strategies and help us speak a common language.

Brett Lives with his wife and son in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a 90-year old GreenStar Bronze Certified home. He is passionate about sustainable business and helping people make their lives more sustainable. He has been a volunteer with GHI since 2008 prior to becoming the executive director. He is a Home Energy Magazine entrepreneur 30 under 30 recipient and loves to Kayak and drink craft beer when not greening homes. Credentials: LEED APH, LFA and GHP

Registration Information

Student price: $55

Students, please register for the event below. If you would like to participate in the Office for Sustainability Student Luncheon, please choose "yes" below.

Need-based scholarships are available. Please contact Betsy Paulson at bpaulson@naturecenter.org for more information.

Not a student? Register at the main page here.

Hosted By:

SWMSBF     US Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter

Sponsored By:

Consumer's Energy  DTE EnergyKalamazoo Nature Center  Michigan Agency for Energy  Terry Todd International Speaker Series  WMU Sustainability