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Pathways to Low Carbon Buildings in Somerville

August 11, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Somerville’s overlay zoning requirements can be met with Passive House or Zero Carbon. Learn about how it works.

The City of Somerville has adopted new requirements for high performance buildings in a number of Zoning Overlay Districts in the City. Passive House certification  and ILFI’s Zero Carbon certification are two of the key pathways to meeting these requirements.

This discussion will start with a presentation by Oliver Seller-Garcia from the City of Somerville about how the requirements work and what they are attempting to achieve. Oliver will be followed by Aaron Gunderson from Passive House Mass and Jacob Bloom from Cambridge Seven to talk about Passive House and Zero Carbon certifications. 

Most of the time in this discussion will be spent on open discussion and questions about how these pathways work, what are the issues, and what are the benefits. This discussion should be valuable for developers and designers, as well as municipal regulators and stakeholders.


Working Agenda:

  • Introduction to the Built Environment Plus and the Living Future Collaborative;
  • Oliver Sellers-Garcia will talk about the City of Somerville pathways to high performance in the Zoning Overlay District;
  • Aaron Gunderson will describe Passive House certification and how it fits into the Somerville requirements;
  • Jacob Bloom will describe ILFI’s Zero Carbon certification and how it fits into Somerville’s requirements;
  • An open discussion of the requirements and pathways facilitated by Living Future Collaborative Co-Facilitator Jim Newman.


Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the zoning requirements for Somerville Zoning Overlay Districts
  2. Experience the value of pursuing the Passive House and Zero Carbon pathways to high performance buildings
  3. Develop an approach for your organization to meet Somerville’s requirements
  4. Refine your thinking through discussion with other experts
Oliver Sellers-Garcia

Oliver Sellers-Garcia


Oliver is the Director of Sustainability and Environment at City of Somerville. After ten years of consulting in urban planning, sustainability, and finance, Oliver now leads a multidisciplinary government agency responsible for addressing climate change in New England’s most densely populated city.

Aaron Gunderson

Aaron Gunderson


Aaron is the Executive Director of Passive House Massachusetts, overseeing member engagement, public outreach, educational programing, and organizational administration. He is a Certified Passive House Tradesperson and an accredited LEED professional.

Jacob Bloom

Jacob Bloom


Jacob Bloom is a Living Future Ambassador and Associate at CambridgeSeven, a Cambridge-based interdisciplinary architecture and design firm. Working with owners, developers, and the community, Jacob designs projects to be culturally, ecologically, and financially responsible.

Jim Newman

Jim Newman

Host / Facilitator

Jim is founder and Principal at Linnean Solutions, and also is a co-facilitator of the Living Future Collaborative New England here at Built Environment Plus.

DiAnn Tufts

DiAnn Tufts


DiAnn is an Associate and the Director of Sustainability at PCA, and also a co-facilitator of the Living Future Collaborative New England here at Built Environment Plus.



Don't let cost keep you from participating. Scholarships for our events and trainings are provided by our friends at the R.W. Kern Center. Apply for free admission.

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August 11, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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