BuildingEnergy Boston 2021 Request for Proposals

The call for proposals is CLOSED. Thanks to all who submitted their ideas for conference sessions. Proposers were notified of the status of their proposal on February 8.



Call for Proposals
November 5 - December 10
Review Period
December 16, 2020 - January 28
Notification of Status
February 2021

Conference Theme: Getting at WHY

You can show what you did on a given project. You can probably describe how you got there. But what we’re most interested in is WHY you did what you did. We believe that focusing on WHY will empower building professionals with key insights to successfully approach and navigate challenges in their own work.

In honor of the inquisitive learner in all of us, Getting at WHY is the theme for BuildingEnergy Boston 2021. We seek proposals for conference sessions that share what knowledge/experience/resources you brought to the table and a commitment to getting at WHY you chose the path you took or did what you did. We seek practitioners who can share their approach to a given challenge – in addition to what they did, how they did it, what the data show, what they learned, and, our favorite, what they would never do again.

BuildingEnergy Boston is a Northeast regional conference, so we welcome proposals related to projects and programs from throughout the Northeast, and also from climate-similar regions, urban and rural, that can serve as models.

BuildingEnergy Boston 2021 will take place May 5-7, 2021. The deadline to submit your conference session proposal is Thursday, December 10, 2020. You can use this planning sheet to prepare your proposal, and read below to understand how to craft a strong proposal for “Getting at WHY.”

Guiding Question: WHY did you do it that way?

For example:

  • Why did you set your windows at that location?
  • Why did you choose that type of system?
  • Why are you monitoring those things?
  • Why did your building take that form?
  • Why did you engage the community in that way?
  • Why did you select that material?
  • Why did you use that metric as a benchmark?
  • Why is your company successfully diverse and inclusive?
  • Why did you present your project to the public in that way?
  • Why did you structure your team that way?
  • Why are you advocating for that policy or standard?
  • Why would you change what you did to make it better next time?

Priority topics we’re especially interested in:

  • First and foremost: your best, most useful response to “WHY did you do it that way?”
  • Sessions that strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Affordable, scalable solutions, “low cost out of the box” (not expensive prototypes)
  • Designing for low-load housing
  • Multifamily systems (building enclosure and MEP) in action
  • Reducing carbon through currently available materials and methods
  • High performance and publicly bid
  • Programs to expand the workforce (who we work with and who we work for)
  • Equipment and system maintenance
  • Balancing competing goals (e.g., low embodied carbon / cost / operational carbon)
  • Best practices for Indoor Air Quality during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Different approaches to building components (e.g., windows; framing; foundations)
  • Electrification

Areas of Focus

NESEA’s mission is to advance the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by cultivating a community where practitioners share, collaborate and learn. We envision a built environment in the Northeast that is climate neutral, adaptive and resilient, energy independent, architecturally inspiring, and supportive of connection and community.

We seek proposals that support NESEA’s mission and vision and relate to one or more of the following Areas of Focus:

  • Building Types: Single Family / Multifamily / Commercial / Institutional / New Construction / Retrofit
  • Climate Justice, Social Justice
  • Cities, Communities, Place
  • Resiliency
  • Design & Construction Process
  • Building Envelope, Building Science
  • Mechanical Systems & Lighting
  • Materials & Embodied Carbon
  • Energy Production, Storage & EVs
  • Health, Comfort & IAQ
  • Standards in Action (e.g., LBC, Net Zero, PH)
  • Codes
  • Policy
  • Project Financing
  • Business Practice

About the Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed and selected by a volunteer NESEA-Member content committee to ensure that conference sessions are genuinely useful to attendees. The conference leadership team is especially interested in sessions that strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion – represented by speakers and/or content.

Successful proposals:

  • Feature sustainable and high-performance building practices, techniques, solutions, governance, and/or ways to support community and inclusion in our practice
  • Present innovative materials and ideas
  • Provide and interpret data to support claims
  • Avoid focusing on specific, proprietary products and/or services
  • Include diverse speakers and panelists
  • May describe learning from mistakes as well as from successes
  • May offer a more interactive format beyond simply a lecture and/or slides
  • May be designed for a specific audience and level of expertise
  • Are comprehensive and complete upon submission

Keep in Mind...

  • You must be logged in to your account to create a proposal (NESEA Membership is not required to have an account). By logging in, you can save your proposal as a draft and come back to work on it as often as you'd like before submitting.
  • NESEA does not offer stipends or cover travel or lodging expenses for speakers.
  • If you would like to work on your proposal as a team before submitting, this document contains a list of the fields you will be asked to fill out once you are logged in to your account.

Questions? Contact Susan Farber, Conference Manager, at