Keynote Speakers


We are pleased to announce Harald Professner of Austria-based modular tall wood construction firm, Cree, as keynote speaker at NAPHN18. (Mr. Professner replaces Hubert Rhomberg, also of Cree.) Cree has flipped the script on the traditionally carbon-intensive construction industry. Noting that one square meter of concrete causes the emission of two-and-a-half metric tons of carbon dioxide, while one square meter of wood draws down one metric ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, Professner and Cree are recasting construction as a new ‘carbon storage technology’.

“The best method in the world for carbon storage is photosynthesis,” according to Cree's Rhomberg. “You take carbon dioxide and sunlight and you make wood and oxygen. Then you take the wood and make buildings. You’re taking carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it for 100 years.”

Professner and the Cree team have taken this concept and built a platform of digital design and high precision prefabrication to make tall wood Passive House buildings both economical and scalable. Cree’s Life Cycle Tower in Austria, a Passive House tower made of hybrid wood construction, was assembled onsite by just 5 workers: 8 storeys in 8 days. Cree’s portfolio has since grown exponentially in size and number, and now includes the world’s biggest wood building, located in Berlin.

Come to Rhomberg’s keynote address at NAPHN18 to learn how Cree’s prefab approach works, be inspired by the deep decarbonization that buildings can achieve, and get new ideas about your own Passive House projects.


We are excited to announce that Joke “Yoka” Dockx, Head of Promotion of Sustainable Buildings at the Brussels Administration for the Environment and Energy (“Brussels Environment”) will join us at the NAPHN18 Conference + Expo to share the incredible story of Passive House market transformation in Brussels. The “Brussels Story” has inspired policymakers across North America, from New York City to Vancouver, BC, to harness Passive House as a scalable tool for climate action in the building sector.

Ms. Dockx, who joined Brussels Environment in 2002 shortly before the Brussels Exemplary Buildings Program was launched, has an insider’s view of the policy initiative and how it sparked an industry-wide shift to Passive House design and construction in Brussels that culminated in passive building becoming code in Brussels in 2015.

A combination of (1) incentives for “Exemplary Buildings”, (2) capacity building to support Passive House design and construction best practice, (3) a well-orchestrated public education campaign (including the first-ever Ice Box Challenge), and (4) an early commitment for all public buildings to be built to Passive House performance sparked what many see as the most rapid market shift toward high performance buildings of any global city. This shift helped pull Brussels’ energy and emissions curves downward, even as population and jobs increased in the region.

Ms. Dockx will share what motivated Brussels to pursue the Exemplary Buildings Program, how Brussels achieved its stunning results, and what it means today for buildings in Brussels and building policy here in North America.


Scott Foster the the Director of the Sustainable Energy Division for the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (which includes the US and Canada). You may have witnessed Foster’s powerful keynote last year at NAPHN17 in Oakland. He has lots of news to share in 2018, with three UN actions that have direct impact on Passive House growth in North America.

The first of these actions include adoption of the UNECE Framework Guidelines on Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings, calling for an envelope-first approach to reducing thermal energy demand. He will also discuss the summer launch of the International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings, with NYC’s BEEx (Building Energy Exchange) and Vancouver, BC’s ZEBx (Zero Emissions Building Centre). Lastly, Mr. Foster will share the establishment of the Global Building Network, focused on academia and the advancement in research into envelope-first design and the reduction of active mechanical systems. All three actions will speed development of Passive House in North America, perhaps with immediate on-the-ground implications for your town or region.