star Worth 7 AIA LU-HSWs and 7 CPHC CEUs (select sessions worth GBCI CE hours)

2019 New Gravity Housing Conference - See photos below!

Thu, 8/1/2019 - Fri, 8/2/2019

Temple University, Science Education and Research Center, 1925 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Miss the conference or want a refresher? Check out the recap in this blog post!

The reality of climate change will fundamentally alter the way buildings are designed, built, and operated in the coming decades.

At the same time, the need for quality affordable housing that can withstand increasingly extreme and volatile weather continues to grow. Building healthy, safe, and accessible places to live that will both limit and adapt to climate impacts is a key challenge for the 21st century. This cutting edge conference will explore the tools, techniques, and practices that the building community is using to address this challenge. 

Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about the conference's history.   

Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Thursday, August 1st. Breakfast will be provided on Friday, August 2nd. Vegan and gluten-free options will be available. 


Members: $100

Non-Members: $200 

Government/Non-Profit: $125 (government or non-profit email required during registration) 

Note that $100 Chapter Membership covers the difference between the non-member and member rates!



Reminder that sessions and tours are filled days-of on a first-come, first-served basis (with no pre-registration). 


Select image below to view conference program.

Select image below to view conference schedule.


Parking and Transportation

The Science Education and Research Center at Temple University is accessible by foot, bike, public transportation, and car. 

If interested in bike share, please visit Indego's website.

For public transit options, please visit SEPTA's website

If driving, street parking is available but limited. Please reference Temple University's Parking Operations Schedule for the most up-to-date information on parking lots, garages, and fees. 

serc map


Preferred Hotel Partner

Out-of-town travelers- Green Building United recommends staying at the Westin Philadelphia.  Owned and managed by Hersha Hotels and Resorts, the Westin is situated near Rittenhouse Square in the center of Philadelphia's thriving downtown.  The Westin deploys Hersha's proprietary sustainable hospitality program, EarthView, and is committed to the Philadelphia 2030 District goals.

If you would like to reserve a room at The Westin Philadelphia, discounted rates are available for New Gravity attendees.  Click here to see special rates and to make a reservation, then enter the code S7613 under special rates and select the drop down: Corporate/Promo/SET.  If you have additional questions, please contact Julie Spaziano or at 215-575-6908. 

Thank you to our Sponsors

Interested in sponsoring the New Gravity Housing Conference?  Contact Margaret Salamon, Development Director or by phone at 215.399.5799.

Conference Committee 

Jeremy Avellino | Leslie Billhymer | Jaque Camp | Matt Fine | Michael Hindle | Jon Jensen | Hank Keating | Tim McDonald | Wade Romberger | David Salamon

Keynote Speaker

jonathan foley head shot 01



Dr. Jonathan Foley, Project Drawdown

Dr. Foley is the Executive Director of Project Drawdown — the world’s leading source of climate solutions . He is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on. Dr. Foley’s groundbreaking research have led him to become a trusted advisor to governments, foundations, non-profits, and business leaders around the world. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including often-cited works in Science and Nature. He has been named a Highly Cited Researcher, placing him among the top 1 percent most cited scientists worldwide. Learn more about Dr. Foley.

Based in San Francisco, Dr. Foley will be presenting to conference attendees by video, in an effort to reduce the climate impacts associated with travel. 

Katie Swenson, Enterprise Community Partners

Katie is a nationally recognized design leader, researcher, writer, and educator. She is the vice president of Design at Enterprise Community Partners, a national community development nonprofit organization. Her work investigates how critical design practice can and should promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities. A member of the second class of Enterprise Rose Fellowship, Katie was tapped to grow and lead the program in 2007, after completing her fellowship with the Piedmont Housing Alliance in Charlottesville, Virginia. Under her leadership, Swenson has recruited and mentored 85 fellows who are the next generation of leaders in architecture and community development. A 2019 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Katie is the co-author of Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a New Housing Development Model and a memoir In Bohemia, to be published in Fall of 2020.

katie swenson headshot 01

Conference History

It all started with Passive House and PHFA...

In the Spring of 2014, a group of approximately 25 stakeholders gathered in Harrisburg, PA to propose to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), the organization responsible for all Low Income Housing Tax Credit - LIHTC - Federal funding for affordable housing in the state, that they initiate a project which would have all affordable housing in Pennsylvania be designed and constructed to a Net-Zero-Energy-Capable standard by 2030. 

PHFA was already looking to “raise the bar” with respect to energy efficiency as developers had been surpassing their standards for years. PHFA welcomed the challenge and within four months put the project in motion by introducing language into their 2015 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) which incentivizes developers interested in 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) funding to design/construct their projects to meet the rigorous Passive House Standard. Read more about the National Net-Zero-Energy Initiative. And check out this recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on the subject. 

The vision has been to replicate these efforts across states and within their HFA's, scaling the work quickly to have maximum effect on climate change impact reduction.

How does this relate to the conference? 

The concept of the New Gravity Housing Conference was realized by Tim McDonald of Onion Flats (who initiated the above proposal to PHFA) and David Salamon of Re:Vision Architecture, together with Green Building United. The goal was, and is, to bring affordable housing developers, financers, architects, designers, and other key stakeholders together to discuss how to design and build high-performance, net-zero, passive, multi-family housing, that can be achieved affordably due to PHFA's revised QAP.

New Gravity?

We do not question the Law of Gravity when building. In that vein, we should not question climate change and its impacts on people and the built environment, and should adjust our actions accordingly. In other words, climate change is the "new gravity."

Where we are today. 

In the third iteration of this important conference, we are excited to continue our discussion of plans and projects happening across North America and beyond. By looking at the larger picture of why these topics are relevant, and reviewing project data for lessons learned, we are growing our collective ability to build with efficiency and equity in mind.

View last year's 2018 New Gravity Housing Conference event page for program details and information. 

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