*All conference sessions to be held at the Palace Hotel at 2 New Montgomery Street in San Francisco.

Upcoming Sessions

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Working Session

Working Session - City Summit

Full-day working session focused on how cities and companies can work together more effectively to achieve deep carbon reductions through smart-city solutions.

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Working Session

Working Session - eLab Ignite: Finding Value at the Distribution Edge

Join executives from the electric utility industry, industry experts, and technology innovators working to support the economic deployment of distributed renewable energy resources for a 4-hour working session to collaboratively envision new solutions for corporate energy consumers to meet their sustainability goals.

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Tutorial

Tutorial - Power Markets 101

Peter Kelly-Detwiler will deliver an updated reprise of last year's highest-ranked tutorial. If you want to better understand how US power markets work, this is a session you don't want to miss!

An Introduction to Energy Markets, A Look At Current Trends, And Some Conjecture About The Future - Looks at the rationale for competitive power markets, their evolution over the past decade, and some of the key issues to be grappled with in the coming decade.

Tutorial

Tutorial - EcoDistricts for Practitioners

An ecodistrict is a new model of public-private partnership that emphasizes innovation and deployment of district-scale best practices to create the neighborhoods of the future - resilient, vibrant, resource efficient and just.

The ecodistricts marketplace is rapidly growing with opportunities to change the way we revitalize our cities from the neighborhood up. This engaging half-day training course will introduce participants to the EcoDistricts Framework, a four-step process management tool to guide sustainable neighborhood development projects. Public policymakers, urban designers, developers, and community-based organizations will be equipped with practical governance, engagement, assessment, and project development insights and approaches.

Tutorial

Tutorial - Designing Net Zero: Energy, Water, Carbon

Objective: Provide participants with a sound understanding with the common challenges and solutions to building Net Zero Energy, Water and Carbon Buildings. 
Why build to Net Zero? What’s better than a high performance Electric Car? A high performance building that produces all of its own energy. The future is now and we have the capability to design and construct buildings that are protected from escalating energy costs, power failures, and are robust investments. How to deal with severe droughts and significantly reduce potable water usage?  How can your buildings address climate change directly?
Who are we? Integral Group is a collective of high performance building specialists dedicated to creating the next generation of green buildings. 
Outline: 
Introduction.  
Tutorial

Tutorial - How to Address Water as a Business & Risk Opportunity

This three hour workshop will provide attendees with an in depth understanding of water risk as a business risk and opportunity. Business value at risk from water risks will be presented, along with practical strategies to mitigate these risks through collective action initiatives and technology solutions. A framework for water stewardship and business growth will be presented – “a license to grow strategy.” Business opportunities from new products and services will also be presented with case studies of “water tech” innovation. The workshop is designed for those new to the issue of water risk and the more experienced stakeholder. Water risk tools, frameworks, best practices and hypothetical companies will be used during the workshop.  

7:45 am - 8:30 am

8:30 am - 8:45 am

8:45 am - 9:05 am

Plenary

Changing the World by Sharing Your Bed

Airbnb has shown how new business models inspire trust and offer unique experiences. This evolution could be a game-changer for how cities and industries should be thinking about the future of their models. As the need for more resilient, adaptable, sustainable solutions increases, decentralization and self-sufficiency are creating market disruptions and extraordinary opportunities that cannot be ignored.

Presented by:
In conversation with:

9:05 am - 9:20 am

Plenary

Making Sense of Sensors & Data

Keynote interview with the  global head of ecomagination at GE on how they are helping customers solve their toughest challenges by providing innovative solutions to maximize resource efficiency & productivity, drive economic performance and make the world work better. 

9:20 am - 9:45 am

Plenary

The New Business of Drones

How do open hardware, drones, and the future of robotics merge the Maker community with companies? As businesses start to discover that drones (a.k.a. unmanned aerial vehicles) are no longer toys but tools, what about our privacy and safety? And what does the former editor of Wired, a drones innovator, and a seasoned science journalist from The New York Times think about how all of this can contribute to a sustainable future? 

Presented by:
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9:45 am - 9:55 am

Plenary

Overcoming Barriers to Technology Integration in Cities

As cities try to become smarter, the process of selecting and integrating technologies can be overwhelming.  But one group of technology providers decided to work together to create an open, vendor-neutral framework that maps the relationship between a city's responsibilities and its seven ICT enablers. How can cities use this framework to address interoperability, choice, and flexibility while remaining technology agnostic and sustainability-focused?

Presented by:

9:55 am - 10:05 am

Plenary

How a Living Building Comes to Life

"Once somebody proves something is possible, it becomes thinkable." This is the story of how a man who knew nothing about the building industry became the driving force behind the Bullitt Center, a Living Building Challenge certified commercial office building in downtown Seattle named the world's most sustainable building. His dedication to its creation is now only rivaled by his passion to help others learn from it, replicate it, and help transform the way we build around the world.

Presented by:

10:05 am - 10:30 am

Plenary

VERGE Accelerate

VERGE Accelerate is a fast-pitch competition that provides entrepreneurs across the VERGE domains (energy, buildings, transportation, supply chains, water, food, cities) the opportunity to get in front of the diverse VERGE audience: executives from the world’s largest companies, public officials from progressive cities, venture capitalists and others.

Selected companies give a 2.5-minute pitch from the main stage to an audience of ~1000 attendees. The sessions are also live-streamed to a global audience and video captured for archive on GreenBiz.com. A text-to-vote mechanism allows the audience to decide the winner of each in real-time.

Presented by:
In conversation with:

10:30 am - 11:00 am

11:00 am - 11:25 am

Plenary

Scaling U.S. Energy Innovation

The US Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office (LPO) is a $30 billion portfolio of clean energy and advanced vehicle loans and loan guarantees, making it the largest project finance organization in the U.S. government. In addition, the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.
How are the heads of DOE's LPO and EERE actually accelerating deployment of innovative clean energy projects and domestic advanced vehicle manufacturing while helping economic growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions? And what are the lessons for others?

Presented by:
In conversation with:

11:25 am - 11:50 am

Plenary

How Big Data Saves Species

The foundation of Conservation International is built upon the integration of comprehensive data and responsive science. Those committed to this premise invest in good data and sound measurement tools to understand how nature is changing. These tools must be utilized to investigate whether humanity’s use of nature’s life-supporting services is sustainable or not. Just as regular doctor visits can help keep people healthy, the early detection of planetary problems is crucial to our survival. In a partnership between CI and HP, this is a conversation focused on HP Earth Insights - a program revolutionizing the way we monitor, report and understand the health of ecosystems. 

In conversation with:
Presented by:

11:50 am - 12:00 pm

Plenary

Visualizing Data to Accelerate Systems Thinking

How can businesses and cities accelerate systems thinking by looking more closely at NASA's big data? World-renowned data visualization expert illustrates how media tools and immersive experiences can expand our perspectives on humanity’s home in the cosmos, develop contextual understanding, facilitate transdisciplinary dialogues, and cultivate complex thinking. 

Presented by:

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Plenary

Running the Industrial Age Backwards

Keynote conversation with the successful entrepreneur who helped introduce the world to natural capitalism and the natural science writer and innovator who introduced the world to biomimicry. Together, they have come up with a provocative idea to "run the Industrial Age backwards" but what does this mean? And how could it help a world where technology and data have become ubiquitous?

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12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout

Energy Storage for Corporates

Panel session focused on three on-site energy storage solutions to help companies mitigate peak demand changes and integrate storage for more behind-the-meter solar integration from the developer and end-use sides. Will also explore costs, other options, and how various power markets and business models are changing as a result.

Breakout

How Buildings Can Mitigate Climate Change in Cities

The City Energy Project is a national, joint initiative of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) to cut energy waste and boost local economies in 10 major American cities through building energy efficiency. In this panel, speakers from IMT and participating cities will explain why efficient buildings are crucial for mitigating the effects of climate change, and describe how cities can develop cost-effective energy efficiency plans that are tailored to local challenges and make the most of local opportunities. 

Breakout

Building Cities of the Future

Imagine you are traveling to a foreign city. It knows when you are arriving, your gate and other important travel information. It alerts customs officials to be ready. It alerts taxis to stand by for passengers on your flight. It even coordinates traffic lights to optimize the ride to your hotel. A fantasy? It is happening today in Dubai, a city that thinks for itself. Learn how Dubai and other cities around the world are using artificial intelligence to create applications that coordinate all manner of infrastructure—from airports to water treatments plants to fire stations. 

Breakout

The Road to Sustainable Freight Transportation: How Business Leaders Cut Carbon & Create a Stronger Supply Chain

How can multinational corporations meet the growing freight transportation demand while reducing costs, enhancing competitiveness, energy security, economic vitality and addressing risks from climate change? And, as marketplace conditions change, what can business leaders do to balance building efficient supply chains while promoting sustainable transportation practices? Join a panel that includes business leaders in the shipper, logistics, and truck carrier sectors as they share strategies, best practices, and success stories they’ve used to manage their environmental impact, reduce their carbon footprint, and build a more sustainable global freight supply chain in partnership with the U.S. EPA’s SmartWay program. 

This is a 1-hour case study that demonstrates what is involved in creating a high-performing freight supply chain, and sheds light on how any company can get on the road to cleaner, more sustainable freight supply chain management.

Presented by:
In conversation with:
Breakout

Can Conventional Ag Scale Sustainably?

How will we feed 9 billion people? And will conventional agricultural practices get us there? Debates around GMOs and Organics - especially whether they are safe to eat or safe to grow - can get fierce. Isn't it time to have an intelligent, rational, open-minded discussion about the role of biotechnologies in addressing the sustainability of our food, water, and land use? Ultimately, no individual or small group will decide the fate of our arable land and food systems. We’ll have to work through this together, as a society. How we decide to manage our food systems is too important to leave to just one way of thinking. 

Breakout

Making Data Centers Lean & Green: How to Address IT’s Greatest Irony

Data center and sustainability experts will explore how digital infrastructure is converging into one single, coordinated and interconnected machine. How do you overcome obstacles to efficiency, such as the fact that companies still design and build most data centers the way Henry Ford built his first car – one at a time, by hand and custom? There’s a leaner way. This panel will discuss how customers can achieve greater efficiency through better standardization and visibility into the data center. As a result, performance can be improved through higher system utilization and through designs that are both simpler and more resilient.  It's time for a call for action for the data center industry to shake off decades-old thinking and embrace hardware and software innovations to deliver sustainable business value. 

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout

Energy Storage at Grid Scale

With the rise of distributed energy systems and the necessity of more clean energy integration with our existing electricity grid, what are some of the best-in-class grid-scale storage solutions? Join us for a discussion with a saltwater storage provider that has demonstrated success with large-scale wind integration, a visionary that provides the brains that sit on top of different storage technologies, and a provider of reclaimed vanadium electrolyte storage technology that encompasses Cradle-to-Cradle principles in its design, is dirt cheap, and can be placed in the harshest environments in the world.

Breakout

From Neurology to Negawatts: Making the Bullitt Center Scalable

What happens when the owner and designers of a certified Living Building become its tenants? And what are their observations and lessons learned over a year after its opening? Join the architect, engineer, and owner of Seattle's Bullitt Center as they do a deep dive into the design, performance, and operation of what was named the "world's most sustainable building." And learn about the innovative finance models and technologies that were invented as part of this project with the intent to help scale more sustainable solutions for the built environment around the world.

Breakout

Smart City Readiness: Policy, Technology and Financing Guidance

The Smart Cities Council Readiness Guide is the first collaborative and comprehensive framework for a smart city, against which cities can assess their readiness to innovate — identifying a path, taking next steps and measuring their progress. Learn from the lessons of leaders in the space from both cities and companies about how they're working together to finance and implement solutions that work.

Breakout

Making People-Centric Smart Buildings

While "smart buildings" typically focus on technology, what are the impacts on the people who occupy these buildings and how well can a building adapt to technology changes and occupant needs over time? Panelists will address the emergence of buildings that are finally becoming people-centric rather than technology-centric - from space optimization for employee productivity, "hackable building" design, and app-controlled comfort ruled by tenants not the facilities manager. Learn about new strategies, tools, and technologies to design for evolving space and technology needs as well as improve employee productivity and comfort.

Breakout

Big Data, Big Context: Visualizing Interconnected Systems

While data may now be ubiquitous, many have not yet figured out how to make it truly useful. Panelists will illustrate how to analyze and visualize large datasets (actual "big data") at different scales for more effective and informed decision-making and create connections to accelerate systems-thinking.

Breakout

Big Data, Big Water

Data analytics are poised to solve some of a $600 billion water industry’s most intractable problems: how to encourage consumers to conserve, and how to continue to make money while doing so. An entrepreneur, utility, and large corporate offer their takes on the best data strategies to address our water challenges while still being able to make money. Topics will include whether we really need real-time data to make decisions, how to deal with compliance issues, and transforming data to action.

Breakout

Scaling Up Energy Efficiency Across the Data Center Industry: The Colocation Challenge

Multi-tenant data center service providers are projected to offer more than a quarter of U.S. data center capacity by 2016. They offer facilities and services that are well-suited to providing enterprises, small and  medium organizations (SMO’s) and consumers with a bridge from fully owning and operating their own servers and data centers to fully outsourced cloud computing.  Today, many enterprises are seeking out this model as their own data centers become obsolete or radically underpowered, and they are looking for solutions that do not require huge amounts of capital.  The rise of the multitenant model presents both risks and opportunities for data center energy consumption. This session will explore the challenges that exist today around contractual relationships and incentives, transparency, metrics and reporting and offer potential solutions to improving data center efficiency from the provider and customer perspectives.

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Breakout

The Role of Transparency in Real Estate

As building investors, owners and service providers are scrambling to create and leverage transparency, each face different drivers and obstacles. Although all of these stakeholders operate at different scales, there are universal lessons to be learned in overcoming their respective barriers. Transparency is often perceived to increase risk for owners and, in some cases, occupants. However, transparency lowers risks for investors and the public. There is a clear dynamic tension. That’s one of many issues this panel will explore.
Breakout

Getting to Zero: ZNE Building Strategies for the Real World

Ever since California created a goal of having all commercial buildings be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2030, developers, designers, engineers and technology providers have started to step up and find scalable solutions based on this incredible market demand. This session will focus on the specific strategies different stakeholders in the green building industry across California are taking to create ZNE buildings (new and existing) at scale.

Breakout

Distributed Solutions for Manufacturing Facilities

In this session, we will outline how Walmart is driving supply chain energy sustainability through collaborative, web-based approaches that leverage collective insight of a supplier network.  Following an overview of the value at stake and common barriers to capture, we will discuss two specific software solutions we have developed: the Product Stewardship Network, an online community for retailers, product manufacturers and their supply chains to efficiently collect and manage product sustainability data, and RedE, a web-based tool that enables suppliers to identify, prioritize, share, and ultimately drive implementation of energy efficiency projects at scale.

Presented by:
In conversation with:
Breakout

Resilience at the City Scale

Partnership-driven collaborations will be vital for cities to apply green investments at the city scale. The Trust for Public Land has created a comprehensive new strategy to help cities advance a “green infrastructure” approach that enables them to meet the climate challenge — both the potential for cities to lead national carbon reductions and the imperative to keep people safe from climate threats. 

Breakout

Launch and Iterate: Using Biophilic Design Strategies to Improve Workplace Experience

Google is investing in evidence-based research and real-time data gathering to develop and test hypotheses aimed at improving employee health, well-being and productivity through biophilic interventions.  The Google Indoor Environmental Quality team will share its approach for developing scalable performance metrics, focusing on integrating biophilia into the workplace. Using a rapid testing protocol, the team is finding tangible ways to quickly measure the impact of design strategies before they are launched more broadly.

Breakout

The Role of EV's in the Power Grid in 2020

By 2020, there will be nearly one million plug-in vehicles on the road in the U.S.. These vehicles will be used to strengthen the grid at the distribution points by fluctuating their charge rate and, in some cases, give back power to the grid at times of peak demand. They will also be used to store excess solar and wind energy, enabling a higher percentage of renewable power on the grid. 

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

7:45 am - 8:30 am

8:30 am - 8:40 am

8:40 am - 9:05 am

Plenary

Rethinking Security for the 21st Century

As our nation becomes more digitally connected, does this make us more vulnerable? Recent events have shown that our electricity grid infrastructure is not as resilient as it should be. Cybersecurity is of growing concern as well. And what constitutes the future of national security besides defense and physical security when it comes to enabling more sustainable communities?

9:05 am - 9:15 am

Plenary

Special Announcement: Unleashing the Power of Distributed Energy Resources

From renewable generation and energy storage to demand flexibility and active efficiency, the energy landscape is being transformed by distributed energy resources. The edge of the grid is bristling with innovations while the core of the grid is struggling to keep up. Spirae unveils Wave to unleash the full potential of distributed resources and amplify their ability to create new opportunities across the power system value chain.

Presented by:

9:15 am - 9:25 am

Plenary

Removing Carbon From the Atmosphere and Insights For Systemic Sustainability

Avoiding dangerous climate change needs immediate and deep cuts in carbon emissions; but some scenarios now also require us to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The Earth Challenge has been scouting for viable ways to do this for the last 8 years, assessing a complex variety of potential 'carbon removal' solutions, from air-scrubbing machines to restoring ecosystems. The experiences of the project in striving for a rigorous and systemic perspective in their assessment may hold insights for businesses across industry verticals in search of sustainability solutions that stick.

Presented by:

9:25 am - 9:40 am

Plenary

Are Smart Cities Really Necessary?

The idea of smart cities has become core to sustainability conversations. Is it being overhyped? While data and related technologies can help cities address their carbon footprint, air quality, congestion and overall livability, there are other critical measures cities need to take to make smart technology work. Indeed, without taking such measures, smart technology is doomed to be an expensive and ineffective proposition.

In conversation with:
Presented by:

9:40 am - 9:50 am

Plenary

Project 100: Car Sharing for Everyone

How do you build a business to contribute to global happiness and innovation by connecting people to the meaningful places and experiences they care about? While this idea may seem aspirational for a company based on vehicle-sharing, when you add a significant layer of accountability, the results may surprise you. 

Presented by:

9:50 am - 10:10 am

Plenary

The Future of Connected Cars

Despite recalls and setbacks, General Motors is accelerating its impact vehicle innovation, design and manufacturing operations, smart materials, and vehicle efficiencies and connectivity initiatives. So what does the CTO of GM think about the future of transportation amidst the popularity of car sharing, the rise of self-driving technologies, and the necessity of low-carbon fuels?

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10:10 am - 10:20 am

Plenary

How Biomimicry Will Shape the Next Industrial Revolution

How can the colors of a butterfly’s wing reduce the world’s lighting energy bill by 80%? Why does a honeybee have better aerodynamics than a 747? What can hurricanes teach us about creating better medical technologies? How can studying seaweed lead to resistance-free antibiotics? How can a seashell keep a microchip from overheating? How does the awful-smelling durian fruit show ways to help humans live on Mars?

Presented by:

10:30 am - 11:00 am

11:00 am - 11:10 am

Plenary

What Climate and Weather Data Mean for Business

Weather. Everyone experiences — and has an opinion — but few understand the complexity behind "a 30% chance of rain." The ability to forecast the weather accurately and well in advance will become increasingly important as we move to urban and coastal areas and as our economy continues to be tied to the weather. What are the tools meteorologists use and the challenges that await us in the future? What kinds of changes in the weather can we expect? What changes might we not be able to predict? And what does this all mean for the business community?

Presented by:

11:10 am - 11:35 am

Plenary

Doing Data Differently

Big data can be a powerful ally for sustainability executives—providing valuable insights into energy efficiency or helping predict the business impact (and risk) of climate change. The downside is that the environmental cost of managing millions of new data points generated by both humans and sensors could be substantial, unless businesses rethink how to store, curate and process that information. Learn how “green" cloud services could help businesses balance their big data needs without requiring them to build a power-hungry new data center.

 

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11:35 am - 11:45 am

Plenary

Big Data Meets the Small Screen

How can a large company leverage existing sensors and big data to dramatically reduce energy usage, identifying top (and bottom) performing facilities with dashboard apps driven by real-time data feeds across an 88-acre corporate campus, then scale its solution around the world? The head of Microsoft's facilities will demonstrate how.

Presented by:

11:45 am - 11:55 am

Plenary

Put Humans at the Center and Start a Sustainability Renaissance

Making objects energy-efficient is one part of sustainability; it’s also about optimizing the human experience and promoting the well-being of people. If we create products and solutions that truly put the people at the center, consumer demand will increase and we’ll spark a sustainability renaissance. How is this being made possible by companies? And how can you start a renaissance of your own by reinventing everyday objects?

Presented by:

11:55 am - 12:20 pm

Plenary

Addressing Climate Change Through Data Innovation

This keynote conversation will address how leaders from Google, Climate Corporation, and the Executive Office of the President are focusing on the massive opportunities in leveraging open data to catalyze innovation, collaboration, and meaningfully address the world’s pressing environmental and social challenges.

12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout

The Future of Urban Water Systems

Most of us give little thought to the hidden systems that bring us water and take it away when we’re done with it. To make informed decisions about the future, we need to understand both the legacy of urban water systems, and the technologies that will redefine them. As water scarcity grows around the world, different solutions are emerging. Which are the most viable? How can big data from our cities play a part in addressing our water woes? And how can businesses and cities catalyze solutions? 

Breakout

Government Data for Climate Adaptation and Resilience

At the nexus of climate adaptation, government data innovation and California's pioneering leadership are many lessons to be learned and shared. Governmental case studies on data and tools integration for climate resilience will be featured from the local, regional, state and federal perspectives — what's worked, what hasn't and what's needed to move forward faster.

Breakout

Mobility Innovation and Community Revitalization

This panel features innovative mobility projects that are part of larger efforts to revitalize and connect communities, redevelop downtown areas, and help lower income people. They range from bike-sharing to providing electric vehicles to an entire community. Find out how effective these different programs have been for their respective communities and how cities are evolving as a result.

Breakout

Owner's Panel: Energy Management Tech Preferences Across Facility Types

As the building energy information management systems space grows more and more saturated with "end-to-end solutions," what is an owner or facility manager to do? We think it's time for owners to tell their stories and impart their knowledge and experiences with these technologies without the complication of vendors. Join us as we have an engaging discussion around criteria, lessons learned, data management, and replicable strategies across different facilities types, including commercial offices, corporate buildings, hospitals, and retail portfolios.

Breakout

Reimagining a Building Through Systems Integration, Technology and Collaboration

The renovation of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt building is an exemplary illustration of the benefits of collaborative delivery to integrating energy and water systems with information technology, in order to optimize a building’s performance while also focusing on occupant comfort and health. Considered one of the most efficient office buildings in the General Service Administration’s portfolio, the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt project stands as a valuable model for building asset renovation. 

Breakout

100 Solutions to Climate Change - Moving you from Urgency to Action

The goal is drawdown: reducing greenhouse gases so that temperatures follow. How will we get there? There are systemic and sometimes surprising clean energy, emissions reduction and sequestration solutions that are already in action. This panel will discuss the breadth of solutions available — from bio-sequestration to smart glass — and how a new coalition is doing the math on the suite of solutions that can confine climate change to the pages of history.

Presented by:
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Breakout

Practical, Scalable Solar Innovations

We all know about solar photovoltaics on roofs to power buildings, but what about solar panels powering your car? Or using solar to desalinate water in areas where potable water is scarce? This panel will discuss practical, scalable solar technologies you may have not heard of but are growing in importance as more distributed solutions grow in significance.

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout

Harvesting Big Data for High-Performance Buildings

When Parkland Hospital embarked on the single largest US hospital construction project it set a vision for true high performance: a technologically advanced, sustainable, patient-centered healing environment and state of the art teaching facility. Embracing "whole building design" entailed new approaches, partnerships, techniques and applications across many stakeholders. This case study will share the lessons learned as the hospital, the electrical controls vendor, and the electrical design-build systems integrator collaborated - and innovated - to deliver results. Learn how novel applications in electrical design and engineering can harness the potential of "big data" to improve building operations and the occupant experience, and how design-build is changing the paradigm for electrical engineering industry.

Breakout

The Power of the Utility-Tech Partnership

What is the benefit of partnering with utilities as a tech company? And how do these partnerships work? One utility will explain its motivations for investing in emerging technology companies and the structure and benefits. Examples will also be provided from the perspective of various energy entrepreneurs as well as the utility.

Breakout

Crowning the New Grid: How DER will Create the New Wave Utility

In this panel, leaders from the world’s most innovative utilities will discuss how they are using distributed energy resources (DER) - like solar and wind - to develop new models to create new services and value for their customers, how DER can be used to strengthen and improve the distribution network, and how customers are collaboratively driving change within utilities around the world.

Breakout

Bringing Better Transportation Fuels to Scale through Collaboration

In order to make transportation fuels more sustainable, new low-carbon options must include fuels, vehicles, and related infrastructure that are available, technically sound, and cost-effective for scalable commercial use. In response, BSR’s Future of Fuels initiative decided to explore challenges standing in the way of scalable solutions for low-carbon fuel, and discuss opportunities for different parts of the value chain to work together to accelerate progress in creative new ways. This panel will include highlights from the discussion, including strategies and solutions offered by major fleet operators, fuel producers, vehicle manufacturers, scientists, civil society, and governments. 

Breakout

How Technology is Accelerating Food-Water-Supply Chain Nexus Solutions

How do leading corporations see technology transforming the food-water nexus in the developing world? And which organizations are helping? US AID and Syngenta use different approaches to address our global water and food system challenges. How are these two programs faring so far, and what are the benefits? How are these approaches different than historic efforts to address water scarcity in developing nations? And what does this all mean for those of us in the developed world?

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Working Session

Working Session - Accelerating Resilient Urban Infrastructure Solutions

Global infrastructure demand requires a $57 trillion investment by 2030 to keep our economies running.

  • How can we strategically place infrastructure investments to support cities and ensure social inclusiveness while building economic potential?

  • What rapid-prototyping techniques can be employed in infrastructure development to improve performance and enduring value?

  • How can our investments in infrastructure be more strategically placed to preserve natural and cultural heritage?

  • What is the relevance of infrastructure in the development of a liveable city?

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Breakout

How the Maker Movement Enables Resilient Communities

Join this panel of leaders from Autodesk, Techshop, Type A Machines, and Crowd Companies to learn how the Maker movement is shaping our communities, empowering people and its impact to sustainability. Learn from a panel that reflects a broad range of the Maker ecosystem from 3D printers, Maker spaces, and the software that powers it. This panel will address the following: 
  • Why now? Why is the Maker Movement gaining so much steam in today’s society, from the Obama administration to the local neighborhoods in the Midwest.
  • What is the impact to individuals? How are makers themselves --and the people they create for-- changing their lives? 
  • What impacts does this have to communities? How is this impacting neighborhoods, cities, and even nations? 
  • What impact does this have on building resiliency, sustainability? What does this mean for society?
Breakout

Dethroning the Grid: How Microgrids Could Overthrow Utilities

This is a complementary viewpoint to (and continuation of) the "Crowning the New Grid" panel discussion in the previous hour.

This panel will discuss how DER-based microgrids are empowering customers, disrupting the electricity value chain, and how scalable microgrid solutions are beginning to displace utilities. Panelists will discuss how microgrids can be tailored to meet a variety of custom end use objectives such as diesel offset in island settings, carbon reduction in the US and Europe, resiliency in storm prone areas, and energy surety for critical infrastructure. In short, DER and renewable microgrids are proving more agile, cost-effective and scalable than conventional utility approaches. 

Breakout

Demand Response Redux: What Companies are Doing to Address Grid Challenges

Demand response isn't just for grid emergencies anymore. Over the past several years, we've seen a flowering of technologies and business models connecting energy-aware buildings to utilities and grid operators. OpenADR, a standard protocol for managing utility-to-building energy commands, is allowing building automation systems, smart thermostats and electricity-using equipment from refrigerators to steel smelters to react to grid needs, and revenue opportunities, at ever-increasing speeds. Rooftop solar PV, fuel cells, backup generators, combined heat and power systems, thermal energy storage and behind-the-meter batteries all making buildings active energy interlocutors with the grid. Meanwhile, unfavorable court rulings and market uncertainties are putting pressure on traditional demand response -- and opening potential opportunities for new versions to prove themselves.

Breakout

The Self-Aware Car

The concept of an autonomous vehicle has gone from a possibility in the distant future to a near-term reality. And advancements in technology may enable a cost effective and speedy transition to that reality. New vehicle models are increasingly coming equipped with technology that can sense surroundings, adjust speeds in traffic, avoid collisions, and perform automated operations, such as parking. Meanwhile, vehicles are becoming increasingly connected over wifi and cell networks, tapping into the Internet to perform a variety of functions.  Soon, many vehicles may have the ability to communicate with each other and even infrastructure (e.g., stoplights, signs, streetlights). How could vehicle connectivity and autonomous technology converge to spur a rapid transition to the self-driving car? What are the implications for safety, congestion, fuel savings, and the environment?

Breakout

Visualizing Water Data Across Supply Chains

How can you visualize water and supply chain data to enable better business decision-making across supply chains? For example, when water is a key asset in your supply chain, high quality water data are essential to an effective understanding of water related risks and mitigation strategies. Underpinning any effective strategy is the ability to analyze and visualize these data effectively. This interactive discussion will include a demonstration of Deloitte's HIVE tool (a.k.a., highly immersive visualization environment) to help companies visualize supply chain, water risk and energy data to help people think through their actions and an example how a multinational beverage company leverages data to effectively engage with their supply chain.

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Breakout

Optimizing Big Data for Energy Efficiency

With the rise of Big Data, systems are becoming more and more connected. And this is good news for driving energy efficiency at different scales - if you know how to use the data and connected devices effectively and understand how to best engage all involved stakeholders. So how do corporate facilities managers approach this versus stakeholders in a larger, more public community? This panel will include a deep dive into data analytics strategies, effective system management, and data solutions that can be replicated independent of context.

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

8:00 pm - 12:00 am

Bookend

VERGE After Dark Party

Join your VERGE community of industry leaders and change makers on Wednesday, October 29, for a special evening of connection, decompression and dancing.

This year, we'll be hosting our party at Monarch, located at 101 6th Street (corner of 6th & Mission) in San Francisco, just a few blocks from the Palace Hotel.

The party will be open to all VERGE SF attendees — and is included for those with a VERGE Interconnect Expo Pass.

7:45 am - 8:30 am

8:30 am - 8:35 am

8:35 am - 9:00 am

Plenary

A World Beyond GMOs

How do we feed 9 billion people amid a changing climate and growing middle class? The challenge of how to balance consumer demand, ecological constraints and social equity is an increasing concern for the food and ag sectors. What is the appropriate role for technology in addressing these challenges? The answer can be found in a varied toolbox of solutions, from ancient wisdom to next-gen breeding techniques.  

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9:00 am - 9:10 am

Plenary

Changing Everything: Will 'Savings-As-A Service' Become the Way Energy Efficiency is Done?

What are the disruptive models evolving the energy efficiency commercial building retrofit market? Is 'savings as a service' truly more beneficial than a traditional capital based approach? There are case studies proving the massive direct and indirect cost and energy savings derived though deployment. How will this change everything?

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9:10 am - 9:20 am

Plenary

Smart Cities from the Ground Up

How can community-driven technology enable smart cities of the future? Cities that are smart will only exist if we create shareable cities now—this means we have to develop community driven software solutions and utilize local knowledge in ways that bridge the race, class, gender divide and meaningfully reconnect people to built environments and while reducing carbon emissions. This presentation will examine the kinds of community-driven technologies that cities will need to accelerate sustainable development, green infrastructure, and restore the long-term economic, environmental, and social health. It will also demonstrate how we can solve the world’s biggest challenges - like poverty and global warming - by expanding the roots of collaborative consumption into low-income communities and communities of color.

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9:20 am - 9:35 am

Plenary

How Data Transforms Cities

Solving city problems using open data is no small feat, but it works when the right resources are in place. How do you encourage and empower citizens to take an active role in their community, facilitate collaboration between government staff and foster forward-thinking approaches to solving problems, and support civic-minded entrepreneurs and startups? This keynote conversation will include one of the most admired thinkers in the open government space.

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9:35 am - 10:00 am

Plenary

The Solutions Project: Getting to 100% Renewables

50 states with 50 plans can get us to 100% renewable energy. That's the thesis behind The Solutions Project, the brainchild of an unlikely group - a famous Hollywood actor, a well-respected professor, and a successful investor. But what's holding us back? And how can businesses and communities help accelerate this clean energy future? 

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10:00 am - 10:30 am

Plenary

VERGE Accelerate

VERGE Accelerate is a pitch competition that provides entrepreneurs across the VERGE domains (energy, buildings, transportation, supply chains, water, food, cities) the opportunity to get in front of the diverse VERGE audience: executives from the world’s largest companies, public officials from progressive cities, venture capitalists and others.

Selected companies give a 2.5-minute pitch from the main stage to an audience of ~1000 attendees. The sessions are also live-streamed to a global audience and video captured for archive on GreenBiz.com. A text-to-vote mechanism allows the audience to decide the winner of each in real-time.

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10:30 am - 11:00 am

11:00 am - 11:25 am

Plenary

Sustainability Leadership, from Autodesk to Atlanta

Sustainability represents a vast untapped opportunity for companies and cities to work together to leverage their respective strengths and address their common goals. Done effectively, public-private partnerships can leverage technologies to create sustainable infrastructure, engage citizens to come together to address social and environmental challenges, and create greener, healthier and more resilient urban environments. It takes a lot of work — but most important, it takes visionary leaders.

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11:25 am - 11:35 am

Plenary

Drones and the New Logistics

Will the next paradigm in transportation involve drones? This is the incredible story of Matternet, a low-cost, small-footprint transportation and logistics system that can work in any environment, no matter how harsh. It's a system that can reach anyone, anywhere. It creates opportunities and unlocks access. Imagine the possibilities.

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11:35 am - 12:00 pm

Plenary

The Role of Grid as Integrator

As distributed energy systems and resilience strategies grow in popularity, talk of going "off the grid" is often discussed. But is it realistic to think that we will eventually abandon our electrical grid? Not likely. And while a "utility death spiral" might seem underway, some utilities are starting to evolve and embrace new opportunities where the grid becomes an enabler. This keynote conversation between a utility executive, an active PUC commissioner and a corporate stakeholder will focus on how their roles around the grid are changing and how it will evolve to enable a cleaner, more resilient energy future.

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12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Plenary

Does Efficiency or Innovation Drive Our Energy Future?

Are deep energy retrofits, maximizing energy productivity, and renewables investment going to get us to a sustainable future? Or, do we need radical innovations to create the acceleration and scale that we need? In a lively format, Amory and Matthew will discuss different strategies that will catalyze a cleaner, smarter energy future. 

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12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout

Thinking Big About Small Data: Using Next-Gen Tech To Build Healthy, Resilient Cities

Data is a catalyst powering new, innovative products that improve the lives of consumers, small businesses and ultimately the economy. This session will explore a new vision for how cities, companies and consumers can develop practical, revenue-generating, data-driven offerings. This “big data from everyday people” approach examines how data can be transformed into game-changing products that improve people's lives.  If you want to learn how leading cities, companies and communities, both large and small, are moving from big data to real-time feedback loops that make cities and regions more healthy, resilient and strong, join this session. 

Breakout

Greening the 98%: Scalable Solutions for Existing Buildings

It's become increasingly obvious that we must find scalable solutions to reduce energy use in our existing commercial building stock in order to create a sustainable future, but approaches vary. This panel represents in-the-trenches perspectives from a REIT owner advisor, a GSA portfolio owner, and a deep retrofit expert, seeking to accelerate implementation of deep energy retrofits through programs, policies, and incentives. Learn about their best practices and engage in a discussion of effective solutions to overcome financial and technical barriers to energy efficiency in existing buildings.

Breakout

The Rise of Nanogrids

Don't look now, but a new type of distributed energy system is entering the scene: it's called "nanogrids" and if you don't know what they are now,  you will soon. Learn how nanogrids are transforming notions of energy, taking the idea of distributed and decentralized energy intelligence to new levels. Whether talking about smart buildings, vehicle-to-home or new ways of organizing diverse small-scale renewables and/or advanced batteries, the nanogrid vision is actually bigger than the microgrid today when one tallies up immediate revenue opportunities.

Breakout

Water Technology Solutions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What is the role of technology in accelerating water sustainability solutions? Promising water technology solutions exist, but how do you assess the different types of technologies and whether any are the best answer to the issues your business or government is trying to address? This discussion will provide four honest and complementary perspectives about water technologies and their impact on pricing, public policy, strategic planning and implementation.

Working Session

Working Session - From Transactional to Transformative: Large Corporate Renewable Energy Workshop (Part 1)

This is a 2-part, roll-up-your-sleeves working session focusing on how large corporate energy consumers/producers can turn the tables on utilities and come together to truly accelerate clean energy. The goal is to come up with solutions, not just a great conversation. 

Part 1-  A Shifting Landscape for Renewable Energy

The first hour will focus on the purpose of this working session, providing overarching context from key thought leaders from the regulatory, producer and buyer spaces.

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout

Building the EcoDistrict Marketplace

Globally, more people live in cities than ever before, creating one of the great challenges of our time. Urban leaders increasingly see ecodistricts as a way to address pressing urban challenges, from climate change to neighborhood degradation. EcoDistricts CEO Rob Bennett will lead a panel of innovative urban leaders who are helping build the ecodistricts marketplace across North America.

Working Session

Working Session - From Transactional to Transformative: Large Corporate Renewable Energy Workshop (Part 2)

Part 2 – Integrated Landscape of Action

As a continuation of Part 1 in the previous hour, this will be an interactive working session with various NGOs (WRI, WWF, RMI, and BSR) facilitating break-out discussions to provide resources and tools to help companies accelerate renewables for their business, no matter what stage they are at. Break-out topics will include solutions around large corporate renewable buyers principles, green tariffs and new business models, the business renewables center, and greening data centers.

Breakout

The California Energy Storage Mandate in Action

In Oct 2013, California adopted the US's first energy storage mandate, requiring the state's three major power companies to have electricity storage capacity that can output 1325 MW in place by the end of 2020, and to solicit bids for a 200 MW target by the end of this year. The rule issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will be key to implementation of the state's ambitious renewable portfolio rules, which calls for 33% of delivered electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 and virtually guarantees that California, along with Germany, will remain in the world vanguard of those aggressively building out wind and solar. So how's it going so far?

Breakout

The Role of Tech in the Future of Food

A range of technologies is emerging to help meet the global demand for food in the 21st century. Some of these are new; others are updates on age-old techniques for breeding new crops without the use of genetically modified organisms. Will they be enough to feed 9 billion bellies?

Breakout

Rethinking Energy Finance: Successful Financing Strategies for Energy Efficiency & Solar Project Portfolios

How do you build successful financing platforms for energy efficiency and smaller distributed energy projects? And what are the lessons learned so far around tricky issues like security interests in building integrated systems, managing transaction costs for portfolios of small projects and the misaligned incentives of tenants, owners, and lenders? Our expert panelists will explore solutions and discuss the evolving marketplace, PACE, secondary markets, and new participants in the energy finance market.

Breakout

Three Big Myths about Big Data and Energy Management

Big data and data analytics are terms used increasingly to describe the current state and future opportunities of enterprise energy management. To gain greater insight, GreenBiz Group surveyed energy managers from large corporations, hospital systems, governments and educational institutions. The research sought to identify the impact of big data and advanced analytics when it comes to managing their portfolio of buildings. 

The results highlight the early nature of using big data analytics for enterprise-level energy management and identified three common misconceptions. During this session, panelists will share insights as to how to manage data quality and quantity to take “big data” and turn it into actionable information. They will also describe immediate actions energy managers can take today to advance their big-data analytics program.

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Break

Networking Break & VERGE Interconnect Open Expo

The final networking break, general session, and closing reception will be open to the public with the VERGE Interconnect Expo pass.  Admission is complimentary - Expo pass registration begins October 1.

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Plenary

Closing Keynote: Swinging for the Fences

Over the past year, Apple has become one of the leading companies in sustainability, and done so very publicly. Under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook and VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson, the company has taken bold positions around policy and operational commitments — all the way to creating what Cook describes as “the greenest building in the world” for its new headquarters. In this keynote conversation, Jackson provides a look behind the company’s sustainability journey, and where it might be headed.

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5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Bookend

Closing Reception & VERGE Interconnect Open Expo

The final networking break, general session, and closing reception will be open to the public with the VERGE Interconnect Expo pass.  Admission is complimentary - Expo pass registration begins October 1.