Utopia and ProBuilder editors continue their ongoing live-webinar series with a 60-minute program on strategies and best practices for building net-zero and net-zero-ready homes.
Our expert panel includes two award-winning net-zero homebuilders and an HVAC and indoor air quality expert, all of whom have extensive experience and knowledge in designing, building, and selling net-zero and net-zero-ready production homes. This free on-demand webinar is hosted by Utopia and is sponsored by Utopia sponsor partners: Boral Building Products, JELD-WEN, Mitsubishi Electric, Orro, Panasonic, and Schneider Electric.
Our panel of experts includes:
President and Founder
Jay Epstein is President of Healthy Communities and has spent the last 45 years building homes that are energy efficient with enhanced indoor air quality throughout the Hampton Roads and Richmond area. Over the last five years Jay worked to develop a balanced approach to successfully integrate optimum value engineering to provide high levels of comfort, indoor air quality and low energy usage combined with onsite Solar PV electric generation. In 2014, Jay built the Villas at Rocketts Landing, Virginia’s first solar community of 45 single family homes in Richmond. Jay won the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award – in the fields of Custom, Production and Multifamily. Walnut Farm, Jay’s current community is the First Zero Energy Ready Home Community in Virginia, located in Williamsburg, VA. This community features 75 single family homes that give the buyer the ability to choose to upgrade to solar now or in the future! This community was awarded the DOE 2020 Grand Housing Innovation Award for production builder nationwide. Jay’s next community is Solara Woods, Virginia’s first Zero Carbon Community of Zero Energy Ready Homes with a solar microgrid. Solara Woods is about balance. The Zero Energy Ready Homes are designed to reduce the carbon footprint. The homes at Solara Woods will release less than 2000 lbs. of carbon a year to be offset by creating a conservation easement protecting the trees. Solara Woods will have its grand opening January 2023.
Vice President of Homebuilding Operations
Thrive Home Builders
Bill Rectanus is a managing partner and Vice President of Homebuilding Operations for Thrive Home Builders in Denver, Colo. His responsibilities include the management and oversight of the construction, purchasing, customer service, quality assurance and land development departments. In addition to his daily responsibilities Bill is also responsible for the implementation of Thrive Home Builders' "High Performance Building Initiative". Bill is very active in the Homebuilding industry both locally and nationally. He is committed to the local Home Builders Association of Metro Denver and has served 7 terms on their Board of Directors and 3 terms on the Flat Irons Building Council. Two of those council terms as Chairman. Bill holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Ohio University and currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife of 20 years and two daughters.
Senior Manager of Performance Construction
Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC
Chad Gillespie, Senior Manager Performance Construction, Mitsubishi Electric, has more than 25 years experience in the building industry. His experience and knowledge stems from a diverse background including wholesale distribution management, manufacturing, and as a builder. Chad now focuses his efforts on providing a design/solution based approach to builders, designers and performance contractors. Chad leads the Performance Construction team with Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC in promoting and educating HVAC contractors, builders, and architects on the importance of proper HVAC design, sustainable building practices. He and his team promote a holistic approach to building design which can help the building industry evolve to better serve the needs of the consumer, builders, and environment.
Arlington Heights, Ill.
David Barista has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than 19 years, including multiple editorial roles at Building Design+Construction magazine, where he currently serves as Editorial Director. He also leads content direction for UTOPIA, SGC Horizon’s new media platform for innovation and advancements in the U.S. housing sector.