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2020 New Gravity Housing Conference

Thu, 8/6/2020 - Fri, 8/7/2020

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

New Gravity Housing Conference: Climate Change and the Imperative of High Performance Affordable Housing


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. 

For this fourth annual event - Green Building United is headed to Chicago in an exciting partnership with Illinois Green Alliance!


Select the image below to view last year's program

Important Dates

  • Sponsorship + Expo Opportunities: Available now! Contact Margaret Salamon, Green Building United Development Director, if interested. 

  • Call for Sessions: Opening early March (due Wednesday, April 22nd). 



  • Early Bird Tickets: On sale to members only, late March (open to all early April). 

  • Regular Tickets: On sale late April.

Registration & Tickets

A limited number of early bird tickets will be on sale in late March (members-only) then open to all early April. Regular tickets go on sale late April. 

Green Building United and Illinois Green Alliance Members: $75 Early Bird / $150 Regular

Non-Members: $175 Early Bird / $250 Regular

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

Call for Sessions

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The call for session proposals will be announced in March 2020. If you have any immediate questions, please contact Leah Wirgau, Green Building United Education & Engagement Director.


Interested in sponsoring and having an expo table at this preeminent event? Showcase your company's support while tabling in front of hundreds of individuals from across North America and beyond! Please contact Margaret Salamon, Green Building United Development Director if interested.  

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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 fourth 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.

Organizers & Steering Committee

About Green Building United 

Green Building United promotes the development of buildings that are sustainable, healthy for inhabitants, resilient, and cost effective. Through education, advocacy, and strategic initiatives Green Building United informs and engages individuals and organizations to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated. 

Learn more about Green Building United

About Illinois Green Alliance 

The Illinois Green Alliance is a membership driven, non-profit that works to promote green buildings and sustainable communities.

Illinois Green believes that green infrastructure is key to strengthening neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for everyone. 

Learn more about Illinois Green Alliance

Steering Committee

Timmy Aziz | Tom Bassett-Dilley | Krista Egger | Scott Farbman | Tony Holub | Connor Jansen | Jon Jensen | Hank Keating | Katrin Klingenberg | Tim McDonald | Kelly Moynihan | Monte Paulson | Maria Quinonees | David Salamon | Ellen Sargent

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

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