Decarbonization Solutions for the Built Environment

The Decarbonization Panel, which convened at the 2022 Sustainability Symposium, dives into the implications and solutions for a decarbonized building industry, addressing building science strategies that are often overlooked.

The built environment is one of the most consumptive sectors of our economy and has a tremendous impact on global emissions. For example, the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that homes and buildings in the United States account for 40 percent of our nation’s total energy use, 70 percent of electricity use, and 40 percent of total emissions. 

On a global scale, it’s expected that 2 trillion square feet (equal to the built environment in New York City) will be constructed every 35 days for the next 35 years, making decarbonizing the built environment unquestionably imperative. 

During this panel at Green Builder Media’s Sustainability Symposium 2022, some of the building industry’s leading building science, design, and green building experts joined CEO Sara Gutterman to discuss decarbonization in the building sector. They highlight tangible solutions, challenges, and strategies for reaching net zero energy, water, and carbon in homes and buildings. 


As an award winning architect and founder of Passive House California (PHCA) and the Passive House Network, Bronwyn Barry brings her expertise on energy efficient and high performance building design. She stresses that “the implementation is where we have to make decarbonization essential.” 

Steve Easley is an internationally recognized building scientist and construction consultant who focuses on increasing the quality of construction, sustainability, performance and risk management. Throughout this panel, Easley elaborates on solving building science related problems such as the demand placed on utilities for a timely transition to decarbonization and electrification.

Internationally recognized architect, interior designer and building scientist Peter Pfeiffer has spent over 30 years focusing on environmentally-sensitive design & net zero solutions. He links decarbonization to resilience and speaks on design decisions that will affect resource consumption.

Watch the recorded session to hear the knowledgeable trio answer questions like: 

  • What are essential decarbonization solutions for the built environment? 
  • What are the obstacles involved in making a house all-electric? 
  • Why is it important to shift our focus from net zero energy to net zero carbon? 
  • And what are the next steps in terms of the most important technologies in the transition toward decarbonization?