Build a Greener Adirondacks

Almost 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States is used by buildings or by activities in those buildings. (Heat, lights, computers and the like.) The older housing stock and cold winters in the Adirondacks mean that even more energy is wasted in this region than in others. The Build a Greener Adirondacks (BAGA) conference and workshops provide information for local contractors, builders, code officers and others in the building trade to learn more about how new building technologies and ideas can erase energy waste for home owners and allow builders to offer real options for their clients.  

The 2017 Build a Greener Adirondacks Conference took place on March 23rd. 

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Green Building Today - Kevin Strack

Green Building Today

Biologist and builder, Kevin Strack discusses building construction while being in alignment with nature and the environment at the 2017 Building a Greener Adirondacks Conference.

Net Zero Multifamily Housing - It Can Be Done, Jessie Schwartzberg

Net Zero Multifamily Housing - It Can Be Done

As a LEED accredited architect, Jesse Schwartzberg shares his story about building a multi-family apartment complex using design and management principles to create a 156 unit complex which meets economic demands and net zero energy targets at the 2017 Build a Greener Adirondacks Conference.

Heat Pumps in NetZero Buildings - John Ciovacco

Heat Pumps in Net Zero Buildings

President of Aztech Geothermal, LLC, John Ciovacco discusses the role and use of heat pumps in renewable heating and cooling systems at the 2017 Build a Greener Adirondacks Conference. 

A NetZero Home in Keene, NY - Brian Crowl

A Net Zero Home in Keene, NY

Builder, Brian Crowl from Keene, NY shows how his construction company took a common stick framed house and made it a super insulated, super tight, net zero level structure at the 2017 Build a Greener Adirondacks Conference. He focuses not only on the big picture, but the devil in the details.

Resilience and Living Machines - Josh Stack

Resilience and Living Machines

Josh Strack talks about building in harmony with nature at the 2017 Build a Greener Adirondacks Conference. 


The agenda is subject to change.

8:30am Registration and Exhibits

9:00am Welcome & Plenary 1: Green Building Today by Kevin Stack 

10:00am Coffee Break and Expo Tables

10:30am Plenary 2: Net Zero Project by Jesse Schwartzberg

11:30am Lunch     ~~~~   Exhibits and Expo Tables


- Wild Center Green Facility & Pellet Boiler Tour 

- Planet Adirondack show: Current Climate Change 

1:00pm Breakout Sessions 

  (1): Super-insulated Home in Keene -   Brian Crowl and Melissa Eisinger

  (2): Native Landscaping - Emily deBolt

1:55pm Breakout Sessions 

  (3): Resilience and Living Machines - Josh Stack

  (4): Overview of NYS Energy Codes - Kevin Stack

2:30pm Break

2:45pm Breakout Sessions 

  (5): Heat Pumps in Net Zero Buildings - John Ciovacco

  (6): Healthy Home Interiors - Karen Totino

3:40pm Breakout Sessions 

  (7): Ask the Experts - Mike Phinney and Kevin and Josh Stack

  (8): Hands-on Tape Workshop - Jay Woodworth

4:30pm Closing Comments     

4:35pm Beer Tasting     ~~~~~   Exhibits

Kevin Stack

As a biologist who became a builder over 30 years ago, Kevin has served in many capacities including service on the boards of USGBC and past President of the CNY Homebuilders and Remodelers Association, NEHERS and a founding member of the USGBC NY Upstate Chapter. He built and lives in a 36 year old net-zero-energy house, and in 2012 built the largest LEED Platinum home. 

Kevin will talk about the recent changes to the 2015 I-Codes and the 2016 Uniform Code Supplements that have brought many changes that impact both human health and performance and the costs of implementation. The most important changes will be discussed from both a builder's pragmatic viewpoint and from a building science perspective.

Josh Stack

Josh is an attorney & counselor at law, resilience, and biomimicry. He focuses on translating the sciences of resilience, biomimicry and life sciences (both traditional & scientific ecological knowledge) to support the design and construction of buildings, cities and complex sustainability initiatives. 
Past projects include: facilitating a community deconstruction infrastructure based on the ecosystem service of decomposition and law of reciprocity; developing place-based metrics for buildings and cities based on surrounding living system; supporting the construction of innovative and sustainable homes; coordinating a diversity of LEED for Homes projects; and forming a biomimicry regional network. 
Educated first in biology and living systems at Cornell University, then in law at the SUNY Buffalo School of Law, the Cornell University School of Law and the NYU College of Law, he adapts this education with his practice of law and construction experience to support clients in making, remaking, salvaging and constructing buildings, communities, and initiatives into functionally and structurally renewing and resilient infrastructures of living systems. 

Emily DeBolt

Emily DeBolt runs Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery, which specializes in native plants for sustainable landscapes.  Emily has her Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University and Master's Degree from SUNY-ESF. 

She is past Director of Education at the Lake George Association, a non-profit environmental organization, and past Regional Program Manager for the Saratoga Region of NYS Parks.  Emily is a NYS Certified Nursery Landscape Professional, was selected as the 2012 recipient of the New York Native Plant Conservationist of the Year by the New York Flora Association, and currently serves on the board of the New York Flora Association. Emily started Fiddlehead Creek in 2009 because of her love for native plants and her desire to make them more available in everyday landscapes.

Join Emily to learn about the benefits of native landscapes so your next project can be green both inside and out. Emily will introduce you to some of the native plants available for landscaping in the Adirondacks, discuss the many benefits of natives, and will share some examples of native landscapes she has worked on in the region including highlighting native plants that are hardy and drought tolerant, appropriate for green roofs or rain gardens and more. 

Brian Crowl

Brian is the owner of Crowl Construction in Keene, NY. His company was founded in 2006 with a focus on custom built homes that are small and smart. Brian has been building in the North Country since 1999 and over the past 10 years has focused on moving towards high performance energy efficient homes. Brian is Certified Green Professional with the NAHB, a member of the Keene Planning Board and enjoys having adventures with his wife and two young sons.

Brian will talk about the experience of building their first net zero house for Melissa and Dominic Eisinger in Keene, NY. He will talk about the main components and methods that allowed them to take a common stick framed house to a super insulated, super tight, net zero structure. See the big picture of the system and how the devil is in the details. Melissa will be there to explain why they decided to go the net zero route and share some of the data and tech related to the project.

Karen Totino

Karen Totino, owner of Green Conscience Home & Garden, received her formal education from Russell Sage College with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She started an organic lawn care business in 2005 which transitioned into her current business which opened in 2009.  The Green Conscience Showroom features non-toxic sustainable interior finishes along with organic and natural beds and bedding.

She is dedicated to inspiring and educating people on the benefits of building and designing "green." She is co chair of the Green Resource Group of Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association along with helping to start Passive House NY: Capital District.

Karen will talk about 'How Design Choices Affect Health and Indoor Air Quality,' including understanding the importance of indoor air quality on health, identifying potential indoor air pollutants, understanding and identifying pollutants and toxins present in interior finishes and identifying interior finish options that promote health and well being.

Jesse Schwartzberg

Jesse Schwartzberg, Architect earned his Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon and currently holds LEED AP accreditation. These credentials complement his 6-year experience as a finish carpenter. In 2011, Jesse founded Black Mountain Design Build (BMDB) in his hometown of Saranac Lake, NY. BMDB specializes in high quality, regionally focused design; high performance energy consulting; and ecologically sensitive landscape design.  

Is it possible to provide market-rate rental housing while achieving Net Zero Energy targets? Net Zero Village, a 13 building, 156 unit apartment new construction project located in Rotterdam, NY does just that.

This ambitious new construction project was completed under the energy consulting services of Saranac Lake based Black Mountain Design Build in 2016. The project team balance real world construction costs with Net Zero ideals, incorporating cost-effective technologies and decision-making along the way. The result is the first market-rate net zero multi-family project in the nation.

Come hear Jesse Schwartzberg, Saranac Lake native and Black Mountain Design Build Principal, speak about this pioneering project! He will share how the Net Zero Village Team successfully navigated from theory to reality, creatively turning challenges into opportunities and innovation along the way.

John Ciovacco

John Ciovacco is the President of Aztech Geothermal, LLC. An engineering driven, design-build contractor of innovative renewable heating & cooling systems. While running Aztech Geothermal, he often serves as a resource to building owners, construction companies, engineers, architects and investors regarding the latest renewable and energy efficiency technologies, government incentives and financing options. John is an IGSHPA Accredited Geothermal Installer, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Contractor, and a Certified Green Professional with the NAHB. He also serves on the Board of the New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO), Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association (CRBRA) where he co-chairs the Green Building Science Group. John received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Union College.

John will talk about 'Heat Pumps’ Role in the Inevitable Shift to Net Zero Construction in NYS'. This presentation discusses how heat pumps (geothermal & air source) play a critical role in the inevitable shift to Net Zero Energy buildings in NYS.  Emphasis will be given to the many benefits of integrating geothermal heat pumps with renewable electricity & energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses, consistent with NYS’s energy and environmental goals. Additionally an update will be provided on NYSERDA’s Renewable Heating & Cooling Program and current status of NYS & Federal incentives for heat pump systems.

Michael Phinney

Michael Phinney, Principal at Phinney Design Group is a licensed Architect, AIA Member and LEED Accredited Professional with over 22 years of experience in architectural design and construction observation services. Mike has been the team leader on many environmentally sensitive buildings including the first certified green building in New York State in 2001, the first certified green building in the Adirondack Park in 2008 and the first "Healthy House" in the Northeast in 2004. 

Showcase Your Green Product

If you have a green product or business you would like to showcase at BAGA, please contact Sally Hart, for vendor information.