Session Descriptions

March 1, Summit Breakout Sessions

Clean Energy Infrastructure Track, Skyroom 404

The State of EV Charging in Utah: How to Build Our Charging Network

Speakers: Micah Kagan, David Eckles, Hanko Kiessner, Andre Lortz
Time: 10 — 10:50 a.m.

Ambitious plans exist for the growth of electric vehicle charging infrastructure both here in Utah and across the Intermountain West. Recently the governors of eight western states (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, and WY) signed a memorandum of understanding for coordination of placement of chargers along the major interstate highways and locally, businesses have been planning major charger rollouts as well. This panel will discuss the need for this infrastructure, the challenges of building it out, and the steps companies are taking to accomplish this goal.

Distributed Energy: Empowering Local Communities

Speakers: Kate Bowman, Tyler Poulson, Luke Cartin
Time: 11 — 11:50 a.m.

New technologies are allowing everyday Utahns to play an active role in the clean energy economy. Once passive consumers, utility customers can now take control of their energy usage and even choose the source of their energy. Rooftop solar, battery storage, plug-in electric vehicles, microgrids, and smart controls. These exciting technologies provide more options for energy consumers to decide how and when they use their energy. Distributed energy technologies, and consumer action to embrace these technologies, is also critical to helping local communities (like Salt Lake City, Moab, Park City, and Summit County) reach their 100% renewable energy goals. This session will explore how distributed energy resources fit in our new energy paradigm, and how they provide affordability, increase reliability, and help communities become more resilient. The panel discussion will be led by Utah Clean Energy and will feature discussions with representatives from Salt Lake City and Park City government, two local municipalities with 100% renewable energy goals.

Grid Modernization

Speakers: Nikki Anderson, Brok Thayne, Keegan Moyer
Time: 1:25 p.m. — 2:15 p.m.

Utah has massive renewable energy potential. We are one of the top ten best states in the nation for solar alone. However, our large scale solar farms are being built in rural areas and transmitting this power to the urban areas requires the use of infrastructure. The current infrastructure is aging. Everything from reduced costs, technology improvement, energy efficiency and clean energy is requiring us to change how we distribute and manage our energy. This shift toward a new energy landscape enables us to embrace the new technologies that provide grid modernization.

Speaker: Ken Gardner
Time: 4 — 4:50 p.m.

The future of renewable energy hinges on policy, costs, technology, utilities and politics which are in a constant flux.  The presentation will address anticipated trends including the impact of electric vehicles, wireless power systems, tariffs on foreign solar, fuel cells, battery storage advances, public sentiment and microgrids.


Green Buildings Track, Room 320

Living Building Challenge: Making Ideals a Reality

Speakers: David W Griffin II, Patty Karapinar, Holli Adams
Time: 10 — 10:50 a.m.

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a performance-based rating system which sets a high bar for buildings of the future. Among other things, the LBC requires net-zero water, rigorous materials selection, and Net Positive Energy for certification. Come learn about how one firm, Arch Nexus, turned these ideals into practice when designing the Arch|Nexus SAC office, an 8,252 SF renovated office building located in Sacramento, CA which exemplifies the potential for next generation sustainability in small office buildings across the US. These panelists will discuss the many challenges faced throughout the design process, the transition to occupancy, and tracking efforts to ensure certification compliance.

Leveraging Performance Data and Transparency to Create Healthier, More Sustainable Buildings and Communities

Speaker: Charlie Woodruff
Time: 11 — 11:50 a.m.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and for building owners with sustainability and human performance goals, it can be hard to get a handle on actual building performance. The U.S. Green Building Council recently helped launch a new performance tracking tool called Arc. The Arc platform allows building owners to track and benchmark energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience indicators in individual buildings so that improvements can be made over time. And if the building’s score within the platform reaches a high enough level, Arc provides a direct pathway to LEED Operations + Maintenance certification. Charlie Woodruff from USGBC will teach what the Arc platform is, how it is being used in buildings across the country, and how it is helping to revolutionize building operations and sustainability benchmarking with a performance path towards the world’s most recognized certification system.

Negawatts Before Megawatts: How the University of Utah is Building New Buildings to Burn Less Coal and Spend Less Money

Speakers: Phil Saieg, Bob Simonton, DJ Hubler
Time: 1:25 p.m. — 2:15 p.m.

Sustainability and resource conservation in the built environment can be achieved in many different ways, but from a facility management perspective the rubber meets the road at the intersection between energy and human resources. The University of Utah has initiated an aggressive program to maximize peak load capacity of their central chilled water plant, create an active energy management program to unlock new energy savings in campus healthcare facilities, and build a sustainable operations program that ensures persistence of performance for their campus buildings.

Break Into Net Zero: How Thermal Bridging is the Achilles Heel to a Truly Efficient Building

Speakers: Chamonix Larsen, Rick Ziegler
Time: 4 — 4:50 p.m.

Do you really know if you can get to net zero? Will more insulation be the key, or will you fall short because of thermal bridging? The insulation in your building probably isn’t nearly effective as you think it is. Learn from presented case studies about local projects and efforts to create multifamily passive house buildings. Find out what impacts a well-thought-out detail can have when targeting a high performance or zero energy building.


Urban Water Track, Room 316

The Grey to Green Infrastructure Transition: An Historical Shift in the Modern Infrastructure Paradigm

Speaker: R. Ryan Dupont
Time: 10 — 10:50 a.m.

This platform presentation reviews the history of stormwater management and the recent, significant shift to more sustainable, low impact development/green infrastructure approaches focused on infiltration and reuse rather than collection and conveyance. The application of these “new” LID/GI systems to arid regions in the west is highlighted and results of performance assessments recently completed for systems in northern Utah are discussed. Implications of these findings are related to continued growth of these technologies in expanding urban areas of Utah.

Is It Too Hot for My Lawn? Climate Change and Outdoor Water Use in Utah

Speaker: Seth Arens
Time: 11 — 11:50 a.m.

How will climate change affect water demand? Climate is the primary determinant of how much water is needed to sustain an outdoor landscape. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) incorporates the role of temperature, humidity, wind and solar radiation on evaporation from soils and transpiration of water from plants. Or, how will future changes in PET alter outdoor water use? A model was developed to relate observed PET to outdoor water use at several locations in Utah. The model was then used as a tool to project future outdoor water use using downscaled projections of PET. PET is projected to increase by 5% and 8% by 2060 along the Wasatch Front for moderate and high emissions scenarios. Outdoor water use in Utah will increase by 2060. A scenario approach was used to present a range of projected increases in outdoor water use. Managers from several water distributors were actively involved with the project.

The Great Water Decoupling: the Bear River and the Wasatch Front

Speaker: Zach Frankel
Time: 1:25 — 2:15 p.m.

For decades, water leaders across the American West have been warning the public about the coming water shortage due to population growth. Conservationists have drawn a line in the sand trying to save the last of our aquatic landscapes. But a funny thing happened on the way to the debate: The Great Decoupling. In contrast to what the Population Bomb taught us, municipal water use has decreased in the face of rapid population growth. This Decoupling between population growth and municipal water demand can be seen again and again in urban centers like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Los Angeles that decreased total water demand, even while their population has greatly increased by implementing sustainable water policies. Much is at stake for the Wasatch Front, as some water leaders claim that multi-billion Bear River Development is essential to the future of suburban residents. Others worry about the project’s many impacts to the Great Salt Lake. In this workshop, we explore how large urban centers managed to grow their populations while either decreasing or keeping their total water demand level. Participants will come away with bold new perspectives on water in Utah and how to apply perspective to Utah water dialogues differently.

Healthy Urban Water Starts Upstream

Speakers: Maura Olivos, Serena Anderson
Time: 4 — 4:50 p.m.

This session shares best management practices in revegetation and restoration in high elevation watersheds of the Wasatch. To the average visitor the protected watersheds in their national forests and ski areas looks vibrant green, perfectly healthy, and the word “pristine” is often used. Across the Wasatch, many organizations are collaborating, and working very hard to make sure that our watershed is healthy, colored with native and natural plants and materials, and a welcoming environment for people to recreate responsibly. This session shares best management practices in not just revegetation of the public lands we operate within, but ecological restoration and responsible recreation. This session shares a new perspective on this “green” and “pristine” world; one that assists with nurturing stewardship and recognizes urban water as a large and beautifully complicated system from mountains to faucet. This session will also be sharing restoration and assessment methodology, analyzed data results, a whole lot of beautiful pictures, and a live survey. Lastly, the session will describe all our partnered citizen science activities, summer recreation plans, and stewardship opportunities for the upcoming summer of 2018.


Sustainability Track, Room 321

Just Energy Transition Strategies

Speakers: Lindsay Beebe, Sarah Matsumoto
Time: 10 — 10:50 a.m.

Join a conversation about just energy transition strategies and how we can work to build a healthier and more equitable energy economy in Utah. Just Transition has emerged as a strategic framework for structural change to address issues of inequity and marginalization that result from the current extraction resource economy. The framework is based in grassroots movements, with a strong focus on local community leadership. In this workshop we’ll take a look at community-led strategies that are being developed elsewhere in the country, which provide examples of how to engage authentically with a diverse set of stakeholders and front-line communities to design just transition policy.

Creating a Sustainability Innovation Zone and Tech Cluster in Utah

Speaker: Greg Mauro
Time: 11 — 11:50 a.m.

Summit Powder Mountain has partnered with Weber State University, University of Utah, and Utah State University to enable the deployment of sustainable and regenerative technologies through a proposed new innovation zone which would foster the growth of a regenerative tech cluster to service this emerging sector.

Sustainable Events: A People, Planet, Profit Approach

Speaker: Chance Thompson
Time: 1:25 — 2:15 p.m.

Sustainability is often seen as environmental protection. It absolutely is of course, but that is just one element. Sustainability means a viable place to live, but it also means healthy lives for humans and prosperity in their careers and our economy. Our success in achieving the APEX standards (created by the global event association, the Events Industry Council) has brought us a lower footprint in waste, energy and water which helps the planet. In addition, focus on air quality gives us healthier employees and event attendees. Last but not least, it has given us valuable marketing opportunities and we are finding areas of monetary gain and/or savings! This touches not only internal operations through trash hauling and energy cost savings, but also provides opportunities to bring in more events that care about sustainability. This last piece can benefit our local economy. Lastly, over 200,000 pounds of community donations and food rescue from our events in 2017 has had drastic impact in our community support channels as well.

What Are We Responsible For? Buildings, Energy Use, and Environmental Impact Calculations

Speakers: Amanda D. Smith, Zahra Fallahi
Time: 4 — 4:50 p.m.

How much do you know about how much your energy use contributes to emissions and water usage, on a local or on a global basis? Are you aware of how much your home or commercial building is consuming, or how to quantify the emissions and water usage associated with that? Bring your power bill, gas bill, and/or submetered energy use data, and we’ll do some calculations together! We know that energy use in buildings contributes to negative environmental impacts like poor air quality at the local level and climate change at the global level. The building science and energy modeling community has seen increasing interest in reducing these negative environmental impacts through energy conservation, often supported by efforts like the LEED certification process, the Net Zero concepts, and the Living Building Challenge. However, those who are working outside the building sector often don’t have the tools to judge environmental impacts for themselves. This presentation will explain some simple methods that are used to calculate environmental impacts associated with electricity and natural gas use by a building. First, we will cover: (1) indirect and direct impacts; (2) electricity v. natural gas trade-offs; (3) variation in time and space; and (4) sources of reliable numbers for environmental quantification; and (5) limitations of different methods. Next, the audience will have the opportunity to perform calculations for their own building. No complicated mathematical knowledge is needed! Finally, we will open the floor for reactions from audience members and discussion on how to improve our understanding of the environmental impacts of everyday life in the built environment.


Engaged Conversations Track, Room 312

Pitching Your Sustainability Story

Speakers: Greta deJong, Leia Larsen, George Pyle
Time: 10 — 10:50 a.m.

Learn how to pitch your stories to the media, and then make your pitch to representatives from the Salt Lake Tribune, Standard Examiner, and Catalyst Magazine during this session. Come with a 3-minute pitch and a business card. Media representatives will follow up with those stories that piqued their interest.

Create Your Own Conversation

Presenter: You and Summit Participants
Time: 11 — 11:50 a.m. & 1:25 – 2:15 p.m.

Have one of those ideas about sustainability that you want to invite some ad hoc attention to? Create Your Own Conversation is just for you. Bring your good ideas, challenges for which you need help, or hopes you want to dream into being. Post your topic on the whiteboard located in the Ballrooms. Welcome people with similar interest to join you. A few of these sessions are hosted by predetermined speakers, but most are derived by what has emerged from the Summit community. Come see what is in the hearts, and on the minds of your fellow Summit participants.

Finding Jobs in Sustainability: Panel & Networking

Speakers: Hilary Arens, Ashley Yoder, and others
Time: 4 — 4:50 p.m.

Join sustainability professionals as they discuss how they entered the sustainability field, what skills have proven useful, and prospects for the future. This session will provide insights into what employers are looking for, and contacts with professionals in government, business and non-profit arenas. After a short panel, the session will open for questions and networking.