PhiusCon 2021 in New York was Spectacular!

Katrin HeadshotPhius Co-Founder and Executive Director Katrin Klingenberg gives a round up of all the happenings at PhiusCon 2021 from her own perspective.

Back home in Chicago on the Sunday after PhiusCon, I found myself sitting at the lake staring out at the blue waters reflecting and trying to process what just happened at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel in Tarrytown.

A pedicab passed behind me, and I noticed the song being played softly “Here comes the sun…it’s all right.”

The pandemic experience has humbled many of us, gave us lots of time for reflection and to put things into perspective. It made it even clearer how significant our work is and how necessary it is that we succeed in keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The challenge makes even a pandemic look like a warmup.

Conf Kat1One word comes to mind when I look back on PhiusCon 2021 – grateful! I’m grateful for us being able to (finally) bring everyone together safely, during COVID times. This was no small feat. Thanks go to an amazing organizing team at Phius that braved the odds – with Knezo, Jennie and Michael at the helm. Thank you to all our phriends — our tight-knit community — who boarded planes to come from all around the country and continent (Canada and Mexico attendees).

Thank you for trusting us! We did sell out, so apologies to those who wanted to attend but who we could not accommodate in the end. And thank you all for making this event as safe as possible by taking as much personal responsibility during the conference as you do in your work for the planet. The amount of love, care and commitment this group brings to the table is unprecedented. And thank you to the venues and the New York weather gods who smiled upon us. There were lots of beautiful large outdoor spaces to mingle, which was made possible by gorgeous late-summer sunshine and temps.

Being reminded that the enthusiasm that comes from being together in person, sharing work and lessons learned, progress and successes is soooooo valuable. Keep pushing forward with the great work you are all doing!

A few thoughts and observations about the conference

Conf crowd1

There is clearly an acceleration that can be felt. The skillsets of teams and their precise, knowledgeable work, even on more complex projects of all walks of life, was off the charts. Integrated space conditioning solutions and emerging next frontier systems designs as well as large-scale heat pump hot water solutions are helping get components up to speed! And emerging business models that promise to become larger scale economic catalysts are finally emerging. Thank you Sloan, for sharing your biz-model and offering to mentor fellow developers! That is crucial.

On the standards front, it has become clear that the community understands that the design of the right standards, being climate specific and with an eye toward economic optimization and accommodating retrofit conditions, matters a great deal. Quality assurance processes during design and construction also matter a great deal to the overall success of projects. And it matters to be able to share lessons learned, and to collect data for feedback loops from as many projects as we can to continue to make these systems better and update them continually. Thank you all for embracing this idea of sharing through certification for the greater good and success of the community! We need to be able to measure and quantify our success.

And that measured success was represented by fantastic winners of the Design Competition. Thank you to all who entered. All of the submissions were terrific projects, no question about it. And thank you to the most knowledgeable and experienced jury in the history of the competition.

I would also like to thank all the speakers throughout the Pre-Conference, Core Conference and plenaries, for sharing your expertise, experience, hope and sense of responsibility!

Special thanks go to two speakers, our keynote bookends, who have been long-term pillars of high-performance efforts in North America and my mentors, Eric Werling and Joe Lstiburek.

Conf Boogie1I saw the sun come up over the lake this morning, and have to thank Eric for the wonderful reminder of hope! “Here comes the sun, it’s all right,” was his theme.

And Joe, what a stimulating, beautiful, poetic closing keynote. It combined the joy of intellectual curiosity, scientific understanding and pleasure to tackle what lies in front of us. We need to be firmly in our saddles technically, but we also need to remember that we need to play, have fun and keep our motivation nurtured, even if things get tough — and they will.

I said it at the closing of the conference, and I’d like to say it again: I have, in all these years that I have been in this with you all, not been as hopeful as I am now. We can do this! Let’s start this new cycle of next-gen passive house work hopeful, mindful, recharged, refocused and re-energized!

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