ULI Net Zero Imperative
The ULI Net Zero Imperative (NZI) is a multi-year initiative to accelerate decarbonization in the built environment and is a significant aspect of ULI’s work to advance its net zero mission priority. The program sponsors technical assistance panels in a select number of global cities per year and is designed to help building owners, cities, and other relevant constituents reduce carbon emissions associated with buildings, communities, and cities.
The ULI Net Zero Imperative is a growing, collaborative network of District and National Councils, including ULI staff, local governments, real estate leaders, and community stakeholder groups.
Applications for Cohort 3 will officially open Spring 2023, but the statement of interest for the technical assistance grants can be accessed here and the statement of interest for implementation grant can be accessed here. We accept applications from ULI’s global network of District and National Councils in partnership with local governments, real estate leaders, and community stakeholder groups.
Thanks to the generosity of Owen Thomas and additional gifts from Lynn Thurber, Joe Azrack, Franz Colloredo-Mansfeld, and Dan Cashdan ULI made it possible to further support and bolster the NZI program’s scale and impact in global cities to help accelerate efforts toward net zero.
Want to learn more about the pathway to zero and access a comprehensive list of ULI’s net zero resources? Visit the Net Zero Compendium.
Key Program Components
The 5-year program started in July 2021 and includes the following key components:
- Leveraging a 2-day technical assistance event in each city to help the public and private sector develop a “pathway to decarbonization”
- Running long-term on-the-ground campaigns in global cities to accelerate decarbonization of the built environment
- Building a global cohort who can receive ongoing technical assistance to refine on the ground campaigns, and work together to share best practices and lessons learned
- Creating global resources (research, toolkits, and other tools) to help all ULI members accelerate decarbonization in their real estate operations (and in their cities)
- Accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment in cities
- Chart a cost-effective path to zero for the real estate industry
- Leverage the power of ULI’s global network to drive development and investment that supports this path to decarbonization
- Get the private sector working hand-in-hand with cities on policy and incentives that can help accelerate investment in decarbonization
Did you miss it?
Watch the Net Zero Imperative webinar on from November 3, 2021, to learn about the program’s cohort of participants across the globe, and their planned technical assistance panels designed to help building owners, cities, and other relevant constituents reduce carbon emissions associated with buildings, communities, and cities via a roadmap to zero. Access the webinar recording here.
Interested in sharing your expertise as a panelist? Volunteer your expertise through this ULI Navigator opportunity. Note that submission does not guarantee you will be chosen as a panelists. Panelists selection is based on needed expertise and availability.
Timeline and Key Dates
Cohort 2 of the Net Zero Imperative runs from October 2022 to December 2023.
Program Timeline for Cohort 2
Monthly Cohort Calls:
Cities participating in the Net Zero Imperative are expected to participate in the NZI Global Cohort monthly interactive meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to create a community of practice & best practices shared amongst NZI participants. Members can talk about each NZI project, challenges they are facing, successes achieved, and any technical questions that may arise. These meetings bring NZI participants together to foster a more holistic well-rounded NZI experience.
NZI participants will be invited to join their cohort and alumni in nine virtual monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month (dates below) from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET.
Dates for 2023 monthly NZI calls: January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20, June 15, July 20, August 17, September 2, November 16 and December 13.
NZI participants will have an opportunity to gather in person at an off-site location (dates below) during ULI’s Fall and Spring Meetings.
Dates for in person meetings: Spring Meeting 2023 in Toronto, Canada – May 16-18. Fall Meeting 2023 in Los Angeles, California – October 30-November 2
Application & Selection for Cohort 3
Meet the Cohorts
Year Two Cohort
- ULI Atlanta (Atlanta metro area, GA). Conduct 5-6 different net zero-themed mTAPs as capstone projects for ULI Atlanta’s Center for Leadership (CFL) program. The CFL participants will partner with 5-6 different public sector sponsors to assist in accelerating different aspects of building decarbonization efforts across the Atlanta region.
- ULI Charlotte (Charlotte, NC). In partnership with a private developer, Crescent Communities, the City of Charlotte will establish a development incentive program using the River District as a pilot to create a net zero road map for development and construction.
- ULI Chicago (Chicagoland metro area, IL). Build resilience from climate change impacts and strengthen the Chicago region as a climate refuge by leveraging current strategies and proposing bold new measures to create a net zero future that includes residents, municipalities, and the real estate industry.
- ULI Germany (Berlin, Germany). Engage through a two-phase project as part of the ULI Europe C Change program. In the first stage, the focus is on identifying assets in Berlin that could potentially be stranded, based on a common methodology developed by the ULI C Change program that assesses transition risks as part of real estate valuations. In the second phase, the aim is to identify potential solutions to decarbonize these buildings in close collaboration between all stakeholders including the private and public sector.
- ULI Hong Kong (Central, Hong Kong). Create a toolkit focused on tenant engagement in high density central business districts that will draw on existing strengths and address areas of growth that will aid in major reduction in carbon emissions for owners and their tenants.
- ULI Mexico (Monterrey, Mexico). Engage the public and private sectors in the creation of a city-wide roadmap to net zero. Result in actionable recommendations of potential incentives, education, or code amendments to achieve energy-efficient, net zero carbon buildings.
- ULI Minnesota (Root District, Minneapolis, MN). Build upon existing ULI NZI efforts to bring the public and private sector together to refine the current draft of the Equitable Framework Guide for developing a 115-acre site into a transit-oriented, net zero district. Develop long-term communication campaign to accelerate incorporation of district energy and develop a plan that can scale for infrastructure, master planning, and individual developments of similar types.
Year One Cohort
- ULI Austin (Austin, TX). – Increase the local real estate sector’s awareness and buy-in of electrification, energy efficiency, and on-site renewable energy in commercial and multifamily buildings, in line with net zero initiatives in the City’s Climate Equity Plan. Result in actionable recommendations for potential incentives, education, or code amendments to achieve energy-efficient, net zero carbon buildings.
- ULI Beijing (Beijing, Mainland China).– Develop a roadmap to net zero economic, environmental and social development in China. Explore deep energy efficiency by piloting solutions in a Beijing mixed-use site to build upon current sustainability efforts to reduce operational costs and increase economic savings. Further address climate via adaptation planning with nature-based stormwater management solutions in a trial district that could scale country-wide.
- ULI Kansas City (Kansas City Region, KS).– Advocate for a net zero economy by (1) identifying best practices for a regional Energy Efficiency Investment Fund to provide lending tools for the real estate sector to invest in energy efficiency improvements, and (2) maximizing community impact through building decarbonization improvements to achieve high-performance affordable housing that address the energy burden in low-to-medium income markets.
- ULI Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA). Identify both technical and market strategies to decarbonize the Bunker Hill neighborhood with a district energy system across assets with multiple private owners. Serve as a scalable and replicable roadmap for cross-sector collaboration to harness the power of energy efficiency and grid integration on a community-level scale.
- ULI Minnesota (Root District, Minneapolis, MN). – Develop a framework for policymaking and development strategies to evaluate climate impacts and drive net zero in the equitable redevelopment of a 115-acre district. Promote district energy, set clear and measurable targets on net zero, and develop a plan that can scale for infrastructure, master planning, and individual developments of similar types.
- ULI San Francisco (San Jose, CA). – Build upon existing ULI efforts to bring the public and private sector together to unlock the benefits of building electrification and the integration of renewable energy generation and storage in both market rate multifamily and affordable housing assets to meet decarbonization goals, increase the financial viability of projects, and improve social equity outcomes.
- ULI Shenzhen (Greater Bay Area, Mainland China).– Explore how Shenzhen can incentivize the private sector to integrate new and innovative technology into both new and existing buildings, to decarbonize while still sustaining profitability. Use as a demonstration city to showcase to the Greater Bay Area how advancing community change can influence positive outcomes toward a lower carbon city.
- ULI Toronto (Brampton and Greater Toronto, ON). – Build upon existing ULI efforts to support the city of Toronto in encouraging retrofits of aging privately owned multifamily rental towers to reduce their carbon emissions and be resilient to climate risks while maintaining affordability. Develop long-term communication campaign to accelerate the decarbonization of the multifamily towers in line with the city’s new net zero existing building strategy.