Cutting Carbon: Strategies for a Zero Carbon Future – Greenbuild 2020 Session Review

ChuckLohreArchives, Greenbuild

Editorial, “This presentation confirms our three step strategy to understand our project’s needs and timeline. We’re volunteering to help the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in downtown Cincinnati to achieve LEED Certification. First we implemented the U.S. Green Building Council’s ARC building carbon footprint measuring system. Second we are assembling the complete energy history of the building from its construction in 2003 to date. Third we are doing an eQUEST energy model of the building to understand the HVAC system, and be able to communicate with the facility manager, HVAC control partners, CAC management and board members where we are and what possible paths there are to a zero-carbon operation and maintenance.”

Taking a holistic approach, this session addresses two aspects of zero carbon in depth for maximum impact:

(1) Type: operational and embodied

(2) Scale: single-building and portfolio-level

By splitting the topic of zero carbon into two types and scales, attendees receive targeted, laser-focused solutions. The presentation is structured as four rapid-fire talks:

#1: Zero Carbon Operations

Charlie Christenson, Partner at stok, will start with the most familiar zero carbon scenario: zero operational carbon on a single building project, discussing strategies including electrification and best practices in energy efficiency. This will help attendees ease into the topic of zero carbon by honing their energy efficiency strategies while learning about the future of operational zero carbon.

#2: Time & Materials: The Role of Embodied Carbon

Boris Gamazaychikov, Sustainability Manager at stok, will move the conversation into embodied carbon at the same scale, first giving a brief overview of the concept of the time value of carbon, then outlining embodied carbon reduction strategies, providing attendees with the tools and resources needed to take direct, immediate actions to lower the impact of building materials.

#3: Portfolio-Level Zero Carbon Operations

Charles Marchesano, Chief of the Energy and Sustainability Division at the County of San Diego, will share his hands-on experience in generating momentum for zero carbon in the public sector by creating the first and only Zero Net Energy Plan for a local government in California.

#4: The Core of Zero Carbon

Megan Stringer, Associate Principal at Holmes Structures, will dive into structural approaches to reducing embodied carbon of the built environment, homing in on the role of mass timber in the industry shift toward low carbon (and even carbon negative) materials. She will also update attendees on SE 2050, the structural engineering profession’s commitment program aimed at net zero embodied carbon by 2050.


Analyze and apply specific strategies to reduce or eliminate operational carbon in their projects.

Analyze and apply specific strategies to reduce or eliminate embodied carbon in their projects.

Align embodied and operational carbon decisions with existing goals and targets within their company or organization.

Address embodied and operational carbon across a portfolio of real estate.




Charles Marchesano
Chief, Energy and Sustainability
County of San Diego
Charley Marchesano
Chief, Energy and Sustainability Division
Department of General Services
County of San Diego
email: [email protected]

Bio: Charlie Marchesano oversees the County Energy and Sustainability Program. In this role, Mr. Marchesano leads a small team of dedicated professionals focused on integrating sustainability practices into all aspects of county operations, including energy procurement, new construction and renovation of existing facilities, renewable energy projects and electrification of the county fleet. He serves as subject matter expert to other County planning efforts including the County’s Climate Action Plan, Zero Waste Plan and Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan, and has led the development of the ZNE Portfolio Plan, which will guide the County government through ambitious energy reduction strategies until 2030.

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Boris Gamazaychikov
Senior Sustainability Program Manager
Boris specializes in quantifying and reducing embodied carbon through Whole Building Life Cycle Assessments and developing custom tools for portfolio carbon analysis. He blends his background in civil engineering and passion for sustainability to guide clients through complex building certifications including Living Building Challenge, Zero Carbon, LEED, and WELL certification for diverse projects ranging from parks to skyscrapers. Prior to working at stok, Boris managed the Pentagon’s sustainable construction program, where he developed a strong belief that the built environment can have a positive impact on the world.

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Charlie Christenson
VP, Engineering
Charlie’s passion for providing innovative building energy modeling for high performance projects helps him deliver high quality, cost-effective results to support Net Zero Energy certification and Living Building Challenge requirements. His highly recognized energy models begin early in design to deliver timely energy efficiency measures. Charlie has supported over 40 NZE projects by providing zero carbon feasibility analysis, design, and verification, as well as CFD modeling, photovoltaic analysis, Title 24 calculations, and continuous monitoring for all occupancy types.

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Megan Stringer
Associate Principal
Holmes Structures
Megan Stringer is an Associate Principal with Holmes Structures. As the firm’s in-house sustainability expert, Megan brings a keen eye for reducing a structure’s embodied carbon and use of unnecessary materials. Megan is versed in working with large design teams by having led structural design for the largest mass timber project in North America amassing ~350,000 SF of Cross-Laminated Timber.

She is active member in the sustainable design community and serves as co-chair of the ASCE SEI Sustainability Committee and chairs the SEAOC Sustainable Design Committee. Within her committee work she has been educating the building industry on the role structural engineers have in quantifying and reducing the environmental impacts of structural systems and the importance of disaster resilience. She is helping SEI develop the SE 2050 Commitment Program, an embodied carbon reduction Program aimed at the structural engineering profession to achieve zero net carbon structures by 2050.

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