ZerO-In Conclave: Net Zero-Buildings, Grids and Cities

Net Zero-Buildings, Grids and Cities

MAITREE has supported the uptake of cutting-edge technologies, innovative business models, and promoted end-user engagement for large-scale interventions to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency strategies and technologies.

The ZerO-In Conclave marks the closure of the MAITREE program and showcases the work done by the program and its partners in accelerating energy efficiency market transformation in India. Held virtually on January 28th, 2022, the conclave also included a panel of global experts to share insights on steering cities towards net zero-emission.

The second session brought global thinkers and experts at the forefront of practice and research to share their perspectives and experiences on Net Zero Cities. 



  • Setting the Context
    Apurva Chaturvedi (Senior Clean Energy Specialist, USAID India)
  • Net Zero- Buildings, Grids and Cities
    Nidhi Gupta (Associate Director, EDS, USAID MAITREE)
  • Urban Building Energy Modeling (UBEM) – Decision-making Tool for Utilities and Cities
    Zachary Michael Berzolla (Sustainable Design Lab, MIT)
  •  Panel discussion: Towards Net Zero Emissions Cities: Global experience and way forward for India with 
  1. Padu S. Padmanaban (Author, International Expert Energy & Water)
  2. Shruti Narayan (C40 Cities)
  3. Mili Majumdar (GBCI India & USGBC)
  4. Jack Mayernik (NREL)
  5. Elena Thomas-Kerr (Department of Energy)
  6. Dr. A. K. Tripathi (Ex DG NISE)
  7. Emani Kumar (Executive Director, ICLEI)
  8. Dr. Gaurav Bhatiani (CoP, USAID SAREP)
  9. Avani Agarwal (WRI)
  • Vote Of Thanks
    John Smith-Sreen (Director, Indo-Pacific Office of USAID/India)

1.Dr. A. K. Tripathi, (Ex Director-General, National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE))

Dr. Tripathi has over three decades of experience in planning, development, and implementation of various renewable energy programmes particularly on grid-connected solar rooftops and small solar power plants, energy-efficient solar/green buildings, solar cities, biogas development, biomass gasification, waste to energy, village energy security and information and public awareness in the country. He has been instrumental in achieving 500 MWp Grid Connected Solar Rooftop installations and establishing 14 Regional Biogas Development and Training Centers in the country.


2.Elena Thomas-Kerr, (Senior Advisor, Office of Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy)

Elena Thomas-Kerr is a Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Asian Affairs, within the Office of International Affairs. She is responsible for advancing DOE’s bilateral energy engagement with India and coordinates broader U.S. interagency engagement under the U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP). She is engaged in clean and sustainable energy policies and programs and has served as an advisor within the U.S. government on these issues. She has 16 years of experience in bilateral and multilateral programs focused on a range of energy and domestic security issues at the U.S. Department of Energy. Elena holds a MA in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.


3.Shruti Narayan, (Regional Director, South and West Asia, C40 Cities)

With global and regional work experience in sustainable urban development, Shruti has structured, led and implemented strategic programs and built teams across geographies. In addition to a deep technical knowledge of green buildings and clean energy, she has also significant experience in addressing broader issues such as water management, urban mobility, waste management, food systems, water, and adaptation. Prior to working with C40 Cities, she worked at International Finance Corporation where she was Regional Lead – Green Building Program South Asia, IFC, World Bank Group. She has significant experience in structuring financial instruments to mobilizing finance and attract private sector participation to drive implementation and create market opportunities


4.Emani Kumar, (Executive Director, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) South Asia) 

Emani Kumar is the Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia since its founding in 2005 and the Deputy Secretary-General of ICLEI Global since 2013. In this role, he works with all the offices in Asia, ensuring cohesion in the implementation of ICLEI’s agendas and spearheading advocacy activities in the region. He also supports the Secretary-General in representing ICLEI at all international fora.


5.Padu S. Padmanaban, (Author, International Expert Energy & Water)

An enthusiast, advocate, writer, designer, and planner devoted to sustainable development and energy conservation. At various periods of his career, he had been with the World Bank, USAID, and agencies of the Govt. of India. Author of numerous publications and articles; taught at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Energy & Env. Resources program, Johns Hopkins University, Wash DC. Currently engaged in public services avidly devoted to the cause of energy and water resource management and conservation. 


6.Zachary Michael Berzolla, (Sustainable Design Lab, MIT)

Zach is a Ph.D. student in the Building Technology program at MIT. His current research is focused on helping communities meet their Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction goals through energy efficiency and renewable energy technology pathway modeling at the urban scale. Zach received an M.S. in Building Technology from MIT, a B.E. in Energy Systems from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, and a B.A. in Physics from Middlebury College. He was previously working on building-related research at the Commercial Buildings Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


7.Dr. Gaurav Bhatiani, (USAID South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP))

Dr. Gaurav Bhatiani is a senior energy and infrastructure expert with 24 years of experience in leadership, management, technical, and advisory positions across South Asia. Dr. Bhatiani specializes in power sector reform, infrastructure development, and utility transformation. He has an extensive track record of managing large and interdisciplinary teams in energy sector reform, power trading, renewable energy, energy efficiency, business planning, investment analysis, and infrastructure financing. His current work also includes enhancing sustainability of Indian cities by finding policy, regulatory and market-based solutions for challenges such as management of construction and demolition waste, plastic waste, amongst others.


8.K S Venkatagiri (Executive Director, IGBC)

Venkatagiri heads the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre.He has been associated with CII since 1992 and has played an important role in establishing CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre as CII’s Centre of Excellence on Green business. He is leading a team of over 80 professionals, who are offering advisory services to Indian industry in areas of energy management, green buildings, green companies, renewable energy and other related sectors. Venkatagiri holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras

9.Avni Agarwal (Project Associate, WRI Climate Program) 

Avni Agarwal is a Project Associate with the Climate Program at WRI India. She has been involved in developing an emission estimation tool based on the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affair’s Climate SMART Cities Assessment Framework. She is currently involved in creating city-level inventories and climate action plans and supporting efforts to build capacity and mainstream climate action at the subnational level. Avni has experience in working with Intellecap’s Sankalp Forum, where she worked on their 3rd Southeast Asia Conference and covered themes related to entrepreneurship, innovation, investment, and impact while working on outreach for the forum.

10.Jack Mayernik (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Jack Mayernik works for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Strategy Energy Analysis Center and supports the Building Technologies Office.


11.John Smith-Sreen (Director, Indo-Pacific Office of USAID/India)

John has been serving as the Director of the Indo-Pacific Office since October 2021. Until recently, John served as the Economic Growth Office Director in Bangladesh and as Deputy Mission Director in Karachi, Pakistan. From 2016-18, John was the Director of the Afghanistan Division in the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs (OAPA) in Washington, DC. A member of the Senior Foreign Service, John joined USAID in 2000 and has now served in seven Missions including India, Jordan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya/East Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Over the years, he has worked with CARE, Catholic Relief Services, the American Red Cross, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


12.Apurva Chaturvedi (Senior Clean Energy Specialist, USAID/India)

Apurva is a clean energy professional currently working as Senior Clean Energy Specialist in the energy division of Indo-Pacific Office in USAID/India. She has over 15 years of experience in the clean energy and power sector. She has the experience of designing, leading, and managing several clean energy programs at USAID. Her area of expertise is strategy formulation and program design & management. She is currently leading the distribution utilities, smart grids, e-mobility, and energy efficiency portfolio of USAID’s clean energy program in India. 


13.Tanmay Tathagat (Director, Environmental Design Solutions)

Tanmay leads the Environmental Design Solutions [EDS] team of consultants working on climate change policies, energy-efficient building design, building code development, energy efficiency policy development, energy simulation and green building certification process. Tanmay has extensive experience in green building design, energy simulation, architectural and mechanical design, and green building certification process. Since 2002 EDS has worked on over 200 green building and energy efficiency projects worldwide. 


14.Nidhi Gupta(Associate Director, Environmental Design Solutions)

Nidhi is passionate about projects and programs that inspire behavioral change toward creating a harmonious life on our planet. Her professional experience includes corporate sustainability portfolio advisory, green building rating development, performance evaluation & benchmarking, green dashboard development, program design and implementation for scaling up of affordable, energy-efficient and healthy strategies, etc. She has worked with several architects, developers, and corporations on the implementation of sustainability initiatives in the domain of built environment. Currently, she is working towards integrating environmental thinking, approach and processes into government programs and policies.

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