Some 4,000 renewable energy and green building experts will bring their cutting edge thinking to Boston
next March for the BuildingEnergy10 Conference and Tradeshow, the annual event organized by the
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). Now in its 35th year, BuildingEnergy is the oldest and
largest regional building energy and renewable energy event in the country, with participants coming
from across the Northeast – from Maine to Washington, DC.
Today, we sat down with BE10 conference chair Betsy Pettit. This is the first in an ongoing series of
conversations with BE10 leaders.
Q: Why did you decide to step up as Chair of this year’s conference?
A: I felt that this is such an important year in the history of our country, as we rally around the idea of
reducing our energy use and our dependence on foreign oil. BE10 is happening in concert with a major
cultural change going on in the world right now and the US and particularly the northeast sector is
critical to the success of this change. Not since the time of the Citizens Conservation Corps has the
average citizen been so empowered to help with these kinds of problems and contribute to the solution.
As a professional working in this industry, I wanted to be on the front lines of this sea change.
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to BE10? A: All of it! From the Public Forum, where we’ll have a chance to engage with the public and discuss the
issues that are important to them creating a dialogue about the strategies homeowners can use to
impact the way they use energy. I am very excited about our keynote speaker, Dr. Samuel Baldwin, who
is a physicist currently serving as the Chief Technology Officer and a Member of the Board of Directors
for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. He’s a truly
brilliant man who has been involved for years in the creation of energy policy in this country. He has a
unique understanding of what worked and what didn’t work during the energy crisis in the 1970s, and
can speak to lessons learned over the course of several decades.
Q: How are the workshops shaping up?
A: We have assembled a world class group of experts for BE10. National leaders like Steve Strong, who
has been leading the charge for photovoltaics and Everett Barber who’s been doing the same in the area of solar-thermal systems, each for more than 30 years. And Joseph Lsitburek, who will be discussing the
best ways to design and retrofit building enclosures for comfort, durablility, and good indoor air quality
– while defining air barriers, water barriers, vapor barriers and how these terms are often misused. Bill
Reed will be presenting as well – he’s well known for his innovative thinking about how the built environment can best co-exist with the ecology of our planet. Marc Rosenbaum will talk about how to
select mechanical systems for new low-load buildings. John Straube will look at energy tradeoffs for
commercial and institutional projects. Where does the money go, what makes sense? I could go on and
on – there are too many to name!
Q: What about the content for the sessions? What can we expect there?
A: The sessions will touch on large, important issues like climate change and policy, to newest trends in
renewable energy sources. We’ll be focusing on retrofits of existing commercial and institutional
buildings as well as single family homes. We’ll look at best practices. We’ll review trends in mechanical
system design. What are the issues when we look at buildings from an integrated, whole-systems point
of view, and the relationships between the interacting parts? It’s not just about a building, but that
building and the neighborhood, and that building and its neighborhood in respect to the region, moving
out in ever widening circles.
Q: Why do people attend BuildingEnergy? thA: It’s the 35 anniversary of the show so, suffice to say, BE10 has demonstrated staying power.
Attendees tell us this is the show to attend to get real information, real solutions, and tangible “how-tos.” We offer no-nonsense information about products and are willing to share what worked and what
didn’t. BE10’s information is completely unbiased – we’re a non-profit organization and no one is
paying us to say anything good about a product or system. And that’s the way we like it!
For more information, and to register online, visit http://www.nesea.org/buildingenergy/