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Pathways to Zero

We aim to catalyze the market for superefficient and net-zero energy buildings and districts to save 50 million tons of carbon over five years.

What is Pathways to Zero?

We are driving early movers in the buildings industry on a path to—or beyond—net-zero carbon by working with individual buildings, districts, cities and portfolios to cut energy use in half—and power them with renewable energy sources—saving energy and money, reducing environmental impact, increasing resilience, and better improving occupant health, comfort, and productivity.

Why it Matters

As the largest end-use energy sector, buildings like our offices, schools, and shopping centers can either exacerbate our climate problem, or be a foundational part of the solution. And, given that the average lifespan of a building is 30 years or more, a building’s performance has long-lasting impacts. Therefore, we must immediately address both our existing building stock and all new buildings and developments. The industry needs transformative models to design, build, and operate buildings in a much smarter way that scale rapidly from individual buildings to portfolios, districts, and cities.

Who’s Involved

We’re working with partners in the private sector and the federal government where we see the greatest opportunity to increase the speed and scale of transformation and catalyze replicable models for net-zero energy. We work with large portfolio owners and managers, district-scale developers, and leading federal agencies.

What We’re Doing

Federal Government Deep Retrofits

We're working with leading federal agencies to successfully execute on their deep retrofit programs.

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Net-Zero Carbon Buildings and Districts

We're busting design, business-model, and contractual barriers to NZC in individual buildings and at the district level.

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Transformation to Zero Collaborative

An industry coalition formed to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for transforming the building sector to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Deep Retrofit Tools and Resources

Browse tools and resources available to owners, designers, and service providers to drive deeper levels of savings in retrofit projects.

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The Retrofit Depot

A premier resource for deep energy retrofits that shows how to build the case, and walks users through the process from idea to completion.

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What We’ve Accomplished

With support from the Heinz Foundation, we showed how much whole-systems design can achieve at scale with a 180-acre net-zero energy district. The development saves money for developers, owners, and tenants and reduces overall energy by 451 billion Btu, saving more than 60,000 tons of carbon per year compared with a base-case design. RMI also continued to work with the U.S. General Services Administration, the nation's biggest landlord, to drive toward ambitious net-zero energy goals and more than double its energy savings in deep retrofit projects.

Our Partners

General Services Administration

Contract holder schedule #GS-21F-0130Y

Department of Energy

Contractor

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Partner

The Heinz Endowments

Partner

New Buildings Institute

Partner

Architecture 2030

Partner

Our Team

Iain Campbell
Managing Director
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Victor Olgyay
Principal
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Cara Carmichael
Manager
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Chris McClurg
Sr. Associate
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Matt Jungclaus
Manager
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Radhika Lalit
Sr. Associate
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Amy Egerter
Sr. Associate
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Kelly Vaughn
Marketing Manager
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Resources

Insight Brief

An Integrative Business Model for Net-Zero Districts, 2016

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Report

Mapping a Pathway to Low-Carbon Campuses, 2017

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News

Efficient Buildings to Combat Climate Change, Colorado Public Radio

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Report

How to Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value: A Guide for Investors, 2015

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Practice Guide

Deep Energy Retrofit Request for Proposal Guidelines, co-authored with AIA and Boma, 2015

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Report

How to Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value: A Guide for Owners-Occupants, 2014

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Abstract

Analyzing Energy-Efficiency Opportunities Across Building Portfolios, ACEEE, 2014

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