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Zack Semke, Guest Columnist

A member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, Zack is CMO at NK Architects, a firm based in Seattle and Pittsburgh that is dedicated to creating zero carbon buildings at scale. After earning his BA from Stanford University with a concentration in Human Ecology, Zack began his career as the first staffer of the Coalition for a Livable Future, a Portland-based coalition of environmental, affordable housing, transportation reform, and smart growth advocacy organizations. He then co-led the performing arts group, Portland Taiko, building a national audience and serving as a lead performer for the Japanese drumming troupe. He later earned his graduate certificate in design from the Landscape Institute at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. After a few years as a designer he joined builder Hammer & Hand as Chief Evangelist to share the firm’s pioneering Passive House work and its connection to climate change. Zack serves on the board of directors of Passive House NW and chairs its policy committee.


Recent Posts

Are Buildings Our Next Clean Energy Solution?

Posted by Zack Semke, Guest Columnist

Apr 13, 2017 10:20:10 AM

Transformative building design can bring climate hope.

Returning from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training, it’s clear to me that if we hope to avert catastrophic climate change we need to start viewing our buildings as clean energy power plants. It might be easier than you think.

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Falling Solar Prices Make Net Positive Energy Building Easier

Posted by Zack Semke, Guest Columnist

Aug 11, 2014 7:57:00 AM

Our planet is heating up, and humans are the cause: 97% of climate research conducted over the past 20 years concurs. So anthropogenic global warming is real. But it’s one of those problems that feels so big that it can paralyze.

After all, the potential effects are biblical in their scale. And the conventional wisdom is that it’s a really hard problem to address, with lots of cultural, political and economic reasons for inaction. But amidst the hand-wringing and hemming-and-hawing a new possibility is beginning to emerge. It may be less painful to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than we thought.

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