May 19, 2021 10 am-12 pm PDT

A persistent housing shortage in California and beyond is driving demand for affordable, sustainable housing which also serves overarching concerns of equity and social justice. Many building industry professionals are responding to this mandate, and are working to build a new generation of multi-family housing that is both affordable and sustainable — with many reaching LEED Platinum and/or net zero energy targets. Although cost constraints in the affordable housing sector pose their own unique challenges, several conditions align that help overcome these barriers. For example, non-profit developers are frequently owner-operators, and are incentivized to reduce long-term energy and operational costs. They are also less likely to simply pass on such costs to tenants, in comparison to for-profit developers, thereby mitigating the principal-agent problem that impacts much multi-family development.

This session featured seasoned professionals — from architecture, engineering and non-profit development — who presented case studies and discuss proven and effective strategies, as well as lessons learned from recent practice, as they work towards creating affordable and sustainable housing.

This public event was co-organized by the PG&E Pacific Energy Center and the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at UC Berkeley.

Location and Registration

This live virtual event was recorded; visit the PG&E Energy Education Classes website and log in to view the video.

Speakers and Presentations

  • Katie-Ackerly-DBA

    Katie Ackerly, AIA, CPHC

    Principal, David Baker Architects

    Presentation: Affordable, Equitable and Sustainable Multifamily Housing

    Katie Ackerly is a principal and the sustainable design lead at David Baker Architects, an award-winning architecture firm known for elevating the design of multi-family housing. Katie is an industry thought leader and an advocate for building decarbonization and housing resilience. Katie draws on a background in building science and energy efficiency, including graduate studies with the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley. Within DBA and beyond, she works to expand knowledge, tools and best practices regarding multi-family building performance, guided by the belief that providing durable sanctuary in dense urban housing is essential to a sustainable future.

  • Christian-Agulles-PAE

    Christian J. Agulles, PE

    Principal, PAE Consulting Engineers

    Presentation: Sustainable and Equitable Affordable Housing Design

    Christian is a principal at PAE, serving on the board and leading the San Francisco Office. He has practiced engineering in major markets including New York; Washington, DC; Las Vegas and San Francisco. Christian has spent his 28-year career leading teams in the design of innovative building systems for a broad range of complex building types including sports arenas, commercial office buildings, residential towers, higher education, a U.S. Embassy, energy efficiency retrofits and affordable housing. Currently, he’s working with First Community Housing on four affordable housing projects, all seeking LEED Platinum certification and to reduce embodied carbon through all-electric systems design.

  • Amelie-Besson-MidPen

    Amélie Besson

    Design and Construction Program Manager, MidPen Housing Corporation

    Presentation: Affordable and Sustainable Multi-Family Housing

    Amélie Besson is Design and Construction Program Manager with MidPen Housing, a leading non-profit developer and manager of affordable housing in Northern California. Amélie works on building guidelines with a focus on green building and energy efficiency, and helps development teams and other departments to further sustainability and resiliency, both in new construction and existing residences. Amélie previously worked in Paris, France, supporting energy efficiency retrofits of multi-family buildings. She is a Green Building Certified Professional, and a member of both the USGBC and the Building Decarbonization Coalition.

  • Gwen-Fuertes-LMSA

    Gwen Fuertes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

    Associate, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

    Presentation: Paths to Zero Carbon Multifamily Design

    Gwen Fuertes is an Associate at Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, an award-winning San Francisco-based firm, where she leads the firm’s sustainability efforts. She is a licensed architect, with a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and an M. Arch and M.S Arch / Building Science from UC Berkeley. Gwen is passionate about mentorship and education, and has held lecturer positions in architecture, buildings and performance at both the California College of the Arts and UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. She is a member of the AIA National 2030 Working group and the USGBC National LEED Technical Committee.

Continuing Education

This session qualifies for 2 AIA CES learning units with HSW. At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain building systems and technologies that are effective for electrification, energy efficiency and water savings in multi-family housing.
  2. Cite multiple case study examples, completed or in development, of low- and zero-energy affordable multi-family housing developments, and understand how barriers were overcome in these cases.
  3. Understand how reducing energy and operational costs offers benefits for both tenants and non-profit housing owner/operators, and adds financial value to developments’ bottom lines.
  4. List common characteristics of affordable housing development that enable high energy efficiency, such as low window-to-wall ratios, and long-term ownership by owner/developers.
  5. Summarize finance and policy concepts that can be leveraged to overcome cost constraints to include energy efficiency measures in affordable multi-family housing.

Featured image: Edwin M. Lee Apartments by LMSA offer supportive housing for both unhoused veterans and low-income families, with solar PV and solar thermal panels to offset electrical and hot water demands. Photo by Bruce Damonte.

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