On Juneteenth 2022

Notes about social justice action in our Passive House community.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.”  

Read more from JuneteenthFTW

While we observe Juneteeth, we also, throughout the year, work to be sure Passive House efforts acknowledge the necessity and urgency of social justice in creating a sustainable future and are working as a community to support this transformation.

This focus and investment is ongoing and evolving – with input and contributions from many. A summary of some of our efforts are below. We hope you will join us!

2022 Conference

PHN just completed it’s 2022 national conference in Boston with a number of sessions explicitly featuring social justice issues and look forward to posting links to those sessions here for all to access in the coming days.  The sessions include:

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Passive House from the Grassroots: Democratic community control and Passive House in a battle to disrupt and fight gentrification. How are low-income grassroots POC using Passive House to fight gentrification? The answer may lie in democratic community control that by-passes the non-profit industrial complex, not just speculative real estate development. The Montopolis CDC in Austin, Texas has been at the forefront of these struggles and offers some lessons learned in this presentation. 

    • Speaker: Fred McGhee, Montopolis Community Development Corporation

Racism, Community Development, Passive House: The history, legacy, and commitment to break down structural barriers. Understanding the compounding effects of systemic racism over time is critical to deconstructing our built environment, and to create new initiatives and policies that are both transformational and measurable. Rebuilding communities to a higher standard has become a means of building critical infrastructure, which must be viewed through the lens of social justice to create an aesthetic focused on equal and equitable development, which are socially and economically responsible and reflective of the community and the immediate needs of the people. 

Speakers: 

    • Alan Dones, Strategic Urban Development Alliance, LLC 
    • Ana McPhail, Leadership in Engineering Equitable Participation (LEEP) 
    • Eddy Voltaire, Design Construction & Sustainability Inc. 
    • Derrick Tillman, Bridging the Gap Development, LLC

The Equity Imperative: Making social equity a full partner in our definition of sustainability. What are the mechanisms to ensure that the building revolution reaches and enriches all people? What are the benefits of high-quality Passive House buildings? In our “energy transition,” what are the priorities? How do we make high-performance new-build and retrofit construction more inclusive? Varied perspectives – from delivering health and affordability benefits to community development, and student care, to growing entrepreneurship for people of color – will explore what’s happening, what’s missing, and what could be next in our drive to make social equity a full partner in our definition of sustainability. 

Speakers: 

    • Aaron Witham, University of Southern Maine 
    • Alexis Washburn, Emerald Cities Collaborative 
    • Derrick Tillman, Bridging the Gap Development, LLC 
    • Yu Ann Tan, RMI 

Moderator: 

    • Eddy Voltaire, Design Construction & Sustainability Inc.

Supporting Equitable Sustainability: How do we fund, incentivize and support choices that drive sustainable communities? Achieving more sustainable outcomes cannot be separated from more equitable outcomes. Intertwined, how is the building industry recognizing and supporting this reality? How aren’t we? And how should we? How do we fund, incentivize and support choices that drive equitable, deep sustainability? Gentrification, public housing, economic opportunities, breakdown of structural impediments, access to capital, inclusive processes, and more are all issues in play. This panel looks to connect the dots and point toward strategies for sustainable communities that Passive House and the building industry can support. 

Speakers: 

  • Aidan Callan, City of Boston 
  • Beverly Craig, MassCEC 
  • Corey Thompson, Mobius Community Builders 
  • Gregory King, Managing Director, TSK Energy Solutions LLC 

Moderator: 

  • Ken Levenson, The Passive House Network

2021: Fellowship Begun

PHN is financially supporting greater Black participation in Passive House high-performance building in a number of ways, but most notably in the Passive House Fellowship program, established in 2021. 

From the program page: “To help increase Black architect and engineer participation in the Passive House sector, PHN has established the PHN Passive House Education Fellowship.  PHN invites all Black architects and engineers who have a commitment to sustainable building to apply and participate.”  

2021 Board Statement on Equity and Inclusion

In 2021, the PHN Board of Directors issued a direct statement on racism, equity and inclusion.  Read the statement.

2020 NAACP, CESBS & Centering Equity in Passive House

In late 2020 PHN members attending working meetings of the NAACP initiative, Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector (CESBS), began a project called Centering Equity in Passive House.  The first phase of the effort culminated in a presentation on the Passive House Accelerator 2021. Watch the recording.  The next steps here are needed!

2020 PHN Call for Change

In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd the PHN Board of Directors issued a call to action.  Read the statement.

Today

Today, following the conference, with the leadership of Board Members Eddy Voltaire and Derrick Tillman, PHN looks to extend this effort forward with regular conversations, and action, under The Equity Imperative banner.

We look forward to this new initiative and building on past work. Stay tuned for more information!