Efficiency Electrification Embodied carbon

Education Research Advocacy

After earning a B.S. in architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, I soon started my own business, Design AVEnues, and designed 100+ home remodels. Along the way I learned a whole lot about residential construction, but there was always something missing – I wanted to work on environmental solutions. So in the early 90s, before green building even had a name, I went back to school and earned an M.Arch. at UC Berkeley, focusing on energy, materials, and housing – the same core passions that drive me today.

Every project I undertake is guided by my quest to find the next big lever that will help shift the building industry, our communities, and our world to a safe, equitable, and sustainable future.

“Ann Edminster is a true pioneer in the green homes field: based on her own hands-on experience, she spots trends and opportunities years ahead of others and is there waiting when the ‘leaders’ arrive.” Rob Watson, CEO EcoTech International and “Father of LEED”


Go out there and electrify!

I recently worked with the BuildWell team on their new series of super-short videos on building decarbonization. These are intended to introduce key concepts in climate-sensitive design and construction to building practitioners and other audiences. Please share! Other topics for your viewing pleasure on the BuildWell home page: Upgrading existing buildings Low-carbon concrete Carbon-sequestering landscapes Read More »

Turns out we don’t really understand “emergency”

Dan Delurey says it all here, in his Halloween blog post. (There’s lots of good content, but scroll down to his Monty Python op-ed.)

Solving Shelter

The City of Petaluma, where I live, just declared a shelter crisis. This is in California, the 5th largest economy in the world — and the largest sub-national economy. Petaluma is not unique in having this problem; it’s all but ubiquitous. We’re doing something very wrong, and it’s shameful — but it’s not inevitable. There Read More »

HOT? Here’s what NOT to do!

Air conditioning is like a globally addictive drug: the more we use it, the more we need it. Its voracious energy demands contribute to the climate disruption that is heating up the planet. That’s only one of several reasons NOT to turn down your thermostat, if your house isn’t getting as cool as you would Read More »

Climate & Consumption

I always find myself somewhat repelled by the word consumption. My reaction comes from reading novels set in earlier times, when it was used to mean “a wasting disease” (usually tuberculosis). Earlier today I watched two short videos that produced the same reaction. Appropriately enough, they were about consumption as we more currently define it, Read More »

Spring favorites: work and play

PLAYING: I love spring — especially this spring, which has finally arrived, seemingly overnight, after a long, wet, cold winter. I was lucky enough to celebrate it this past weekend with my favorite 6-year-old, teaching him to dye eggs. WORKING: My favorite climate work is developing education and teaching about energy, emissions, and electrification. I Read More »

Batteries A-Go-Go!

California’s spate of public safety power shutoffs (PSPSs) last year has inspired a surge of battery sales this year, as the peak fire season approaches. Scientific American reports, “the share of [Sunrun’s] solar customers who are also installing energy storage was more than 60% in the San Francisco Bay Area this spring.” Sheltering in place Read More »

Back in the Swing!

Image via Pexels   It’s been a bit more than a year since I posted, and what a year it’s been! Besides all the global madness, I moved last July from Pacifica to Petaluma, California. I love it here and feel a bit like that girl on the swing. Life is good. Notwithstanding — you Read More »

Things are Popping!

Here’s a sampling of some of the great happenings out there in the big wide (and ever-expanding) world of energy efficiency, zero carbon, and green. DOE Launches Home Improvement Expert DOE’s Building America program has a new resource called Home Improvement Expert, developed to help homeowners with energy-related home improvements by using 21 individual home improvement checklists. These can be attached Read More »

Induction Cooking Is the Bomb!

I have a kind of strange admission to make, for an eco-freak. I am eagerly awaiting the death of an appliance. Admittedly, this has happened before, but then it was an aesthetic issue. This time it’s about climate change. I want to ‘decarbonize’ my home — eliminate all sources of fossil fuel combustion so that Read More »

Rebuild Green Expo – February 22, Santa Rosa

This free event is open to all, and attendees from throughout California’s fire-ravaged communities are warmly welcomed! The Expo’s goal is to provide information that will help fire survivors rebuild their homes and communities to be as resilient, sustainable, and healthy as possible — and as affordably as possible. Please share with all Northern California Read More »

New ZNE Homes Resource

Congratulations to author Ed Dean and the team at Southern California Edison for their new publication, Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Volume 1 — and to all the project teams whose work it describes! My favorite thing about the book is that, with just five case studies, it demonstrates that ZNE performance is achievable across Read More »

Climate change activism is for EVERYONE

Climate Change, by Sally Deng | via New York Times “We All Must Act on Climate Change.” John Kerry’s opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday is SO right on! My research over the past three years in support of the Net Zero Energy Coalition’s residential zero-energy inventory has revealed a virtuous circle. Geographic ‘hot spots’ Read More »

Electrifying News!

I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about electrifying — that is, building an all-electric new home or eliminating natural gas and propane appliances in their existing homes. That’s something I plan to do myself any day now! Meanwhile, for those building new or buying new appliances, I encourage choosing electric options. In case Read More »

‘Zero Progress’ in California

Ha! Got you, didn’t I?! The real story is about the progress we’re making toward zero carbon. A couple of recent milestones are adoption by the California Energy Commission (CEC) of the State’s building energy standards, Title 24-2019, effective January 1, 2020, and CA Senate passage of SB 1477 (Stern, Low-Emissions Buildings Market Development); the bill is now Read More »

ZNE guidance for CA architects (& others!)

The American Institute of Architects California Council recently published the Zero Net Energy Primer. I had the privilege of developing the Primer for them under a contract with PG&E. The Primer (if I do say so myself) is a handsome, concise, and accessible guide — a mere 24 pages, including lots of pictures of ZNE homes of all flavors Read More »

Obsessed with roofs

A recent email thread involving a group working on a video about ZNE design prompted me to raise one of my favorite subjects. Say I, “Will you talk about the critical importance of roof design?” Queried Steve Mann in reply, “Do you have something more specific in mind?” I’m so glad he asked! It gave me an opportunity Read More »

A Tirade on Energy Models (or, It’s All Relative!)

Lots of people complain about energy models — specifically, how they don’t accurately predict how much energy the occupants of a home (or building) will actually use. This complaint misses the point. The REAL problem with energy models is that there is widespread confusion about what they can/should be expected to do. Predicting actual energy use Read More »

Oregon Goes to Zero! All new residential construction to be ZNE-ready by 2023

Congratulations to our friends at the Zero Energy Project — they have just announced that today the governor of Oregon signed an executive order that they have been lobbying for. It includes changes in building codes requiring that all new residential construction be zero net energy-ready by 2023, including solar-ready features, electric vehicle chargers, and Read More »

Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH PV on your roof?

My view: NO. The State of California, however, has another view, revealed through planned changes to our venerable energy code, Title 24 Part 6. Around a decade ago the State set “big, bold” goals for all new homes to be ZNE by 2020 (also, for all new commercial buildings to be ZNE by 2030). However, Read More »

Webinar 9/26: To Zero and Beyond – North American Trends in Zero Energy and the Virtuous Cycle

Join me at 1pm PDT on September 26 for this global webinar event during the WGBC’s World Green Building Week, focused on the hottest growing trend in residential building: Zero Energy (ZE). Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/613477295955265027 Get the latest insights on the exciting growth in ZE residential development in the US and Canada. The Net Zero Energy Read More »

Pruning the Gas Tree – A Great Idea!

A decade ago, zero net energy (ZNE) was barely on the radar of the building industry – even barely on the radar of many in the energy efficiency community. And electrification (read: getting rid of gas) was even less a topic of discussion. That has changed in a VERY big way in the last year Read More »

International Finance Corporation and Architecture 2030 Collaborate on Zero Net Carbon Buildings for the developing world.

Architecture 2030 once again demonstrates international leadership with this new partnership. Architecture 2030 and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have partnered to support the international architecture and building community in designing zero net carbon (ZNC)buildings worldwide. IFC created the EDGE program, a green building certification system with free online software for Read More »

What technologies and strategies will help increase ZNE adoption?

I am part of a team working on a research project for the California Energy Commission (CEC). As I’m sure many of you know, the State of California has “big, bold” energy goals for the design and construction industry: all new residential construction should be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020 and all new nonresidential Read More »

Cold Climate Zero

Kudos to Energy Futures Group in Hinesburg, VT, which is nearing completion of construction on their new small office building. It’s a conversion of an old farmhouse, and a wonderful example of a cold-climate zero net energy retrofit. Read more & view video at https://www.energyfuturesgroup.com/zero-energy-project/

The Numbers Are in! ZE Homes Up 33% From 2015

Yesterday, the Net Zero Energy Coalition (www.netzeroenergycoalition.com) released its 2016 inventory report, To Zero and Beyond. The number of zero-energy (plus/minus) homes in the US and Canada increased 33 percent over the Coalition’s baseline inventory – 8,203 residential units completed, in construction, and in design vs. 6,177 units in 2015. The number in the pipeline Read More »

Canada Launches New Zero Energy Label

On May 2, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association launched its Net Zero Home Labeling program for both full zero-energy and zero-energy-ready homes. Instrumental in creating the program was Sonja Winkelmann, one of Canada’s foremost experts in zero energy and former executive director of the Net Zero Energy Coalition (www.netzeroenergycoalition.com). Read more about the new program Read More »

Stamp Out Greenwash — Support Greenwash Action!

Longtime Bay Area green building pioneer and activist Jason Grant has started a new project, Greenwash Action. GA is dedicated to pulling the covers on greenwashing shenanigans, particularly those bankrolled by deep-pockets trade groups like the American Chemistry Council. ACC and others have been waging a war against LEED and the USGBC because of the Read More »

Creating Change With ‘Just the Right Pressure’

I just read a great post on Green Builder by Matt Power, titled “Just the Right Pressure.” Here is an excerpt that particularly resonated for me: “For years, we’ve tried to help the makers of green products get their message out to consumers. But as we’ve all learned, simply blasting them with information rarely has Read More »

AIBD California Society 2014 Annual Conference Focuses on Building Science

AIBD California Society 2014 Annual Conference, April 2nd – 4th Enough for today about past events — this one is still on the horizon. Next week, in fact! In San Bruno, about 2 miles from where I sit as the crow flies, Skyline College’s Solar and Building Science department will be hosting the California Society Read More »

PH2: PHenomenal Passive House CA’s “Building Carbon Zero California”

Campers, this has been an extremely busy week or so for Northern California greenies, and it’s got me on a “squared” jag (see last post on BW2) … Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in Passive House California’s “Building Carbon Zero California” at the delightful Cocoanut Grove Ballroom in rockin’ Santa Cruz. This is Read More »

BW2: Brilliant Weekend @ BuildWell 2014

120 green building leaders and innovators in the built environment gathered last weekend at BuildWell 2014 in Sausalito, CA. Kudos to Ecological Building Network‘s Bruce King, co-producer Sarah King, and their dedicated band of volunteers for producing a brilliant event. The speaker line-up included keynotes from Architecture 2030‘s Ed Mazria, science wiz John Warner from Read More »

World SB14 Barcelona Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2014

World SB14 Barcelona, October 28-30, 2014 World SB14 Barcelona The World SB[Sustainable Building]14 Barcelona Conference has announced the opening of the call for papers; SB Challenge 2014; and the Universities Competition, “Powering Transformation.” Please visit http://www.wsb14barcelona.org/ for full details. HouseTalk’s Ann Edminster will be serving on the conference’s Scientific Committee. The post World SB14 Barcelona Conference, Read More »

1180 Fourth Street — Gateway to Mission Bay South, SF

1180 Fourth Street, San Francisco 1180 Fourth Street marks the corner of 4th and Channel Streets as a gateway to San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay South. This setting carries civic obligations unusual for an affordable housing project; it demands a welcoming, well-made and richly articulated building to set the standard for development to follow Read More »

Air Sealing Doesn’t Just Happen

One of the biggest challenges in a high-performance building project is getting the air sealing right … and it doesn’t JUST HAPPEN. It has to be carefully designed and detailed in the construction documents. A number of architecture firms are doing a very good job at this, one outstanding example being Coldham & Hartman Architects Read More »

ZNE Home Retrofitting Classes in San Diego

Gas & Electric will be hosting our 4-part class series on retrofitting existing homes to achieve deep energy reductions while targeting zero net energy. Here’s the schedule: May 9: Overview – yours truly (Ann Edminster) May 23: Mechanical Systems – Rick Chitwood May 30: Enclosure – Rick Chitwood + Gavin Healy June 6: People & Read More »

Habitat X 2013 Summer National Conference

Come Join us at Habitat X Tuesday, July 30, through Friday, August 2, 2013 Just for HouseTalk readers, Super Early Bird registration has been extended until April 22nd. Trainer-par-excellence Chris Dorsi writes: The most common comment I hear from people who have attended the Habitat X Conferences is that the solid network of colleagues is the most Read More »

“Ann Edminster is a true pioneer in the green homes field: based on her own hands-on experience, she spots trends and opportunities years ahead of others and is there waiting when the ‘leaders’ arrive.” Rob Watson, CEO EcoTech International and “Father of LEED”