Each year, as the dust settles on our annual conference and we begin receiving feedback from attendees, exhibitors and staff, there is always a common refrain: there is no event quite like PhiusCon.

In addition to providing a unique educational opportunity, our conferences are meant to bring our like-minded community together under one roof and provide a spark of energy by reminding everyone that they are very much not alone in the fight for a healthier built environment. And PhiusCon 2022 may have been our most energizing and – dare I say – electrifying conference to date.

With the architectural history of Chicago and the host Palmer House as a backdrop, this year’s conference played host to 600 attendees from across the globe. Those who attended were treated to an eclectic lineup of keynote addresses, including a sobering opening from Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas H. Holm of FIW Munich on the evolving energy crisis as well as a closing keynote panel that featured four climate activists–with a combined 100+ years of experience–discussing our approach to fighting the climate crisis.

The four-day event also featured in-depth Pre-Conference workshops, dozens of breakout sessions, a tour of local Phius projects, the awards ceremony for the annual Phius Design Awards, as well as the constantly buzzing Exhibit Hall. But what truly makes PhiusCon a one-of-a-kind event are the relationships built and strengthened between those 600 attendees.

It may sound cliché, but there is immense value in the camaraderie afforded by PhiusCon.  And our staff members, who were involved in countless conversations during the event, identified two themes that are worth highlighting.

Pulling in the Same Direction

Decarbonization, climate justice, retrofits, policy – there are many facets to our mission of creating buildings that support the health of people and planet. But despite the wide array of topics covered during PhiusCon 2022, it was clear that the work being done by the vast majority of attendees is meant to supplement or advance the work of others, rather than contradict or undercut it.

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind, but an event such as PhiusCon allows us all to come up for air and be reminded that there are thousands of the brightest minds in the world working toward the same goal.

“The passion and intensity and the optimism as well as those that are steadfast in their journey to make this mainstream and people who truly give a damn about something that can help the world. It was refreshing… Everyone should come to a Phius conference, it brings the perspective home from all the work that is done and refocuses on what the importance is!” – L David Stewart, Phius Strategist/EDI Director

The Proof is in the Building

Long gone are the days when PhiusCon presenters were limited to discussing a handful of case studies or how passive principles could potentially be applied to large, multifamily projects. We know it works, because we’ve all seen it work.

The PhiusCon 2022 agenda was littered with presenters discussing all types of projects, from affordable housing on the East Coast, to deep energy retrofits, and pre-fab construction and beyond. People are out there in the real world putting these concepts into practice, and learning about these tangible advancements energized the crowd.

“The one stark contrast I have seen [between PhiusCon 2022 and earlier/other conferences] is rather than presentation on the ideals and theoretical benefits of Phius construction, we are now seeing experiential results including costs and performance data. People are talking about their experiences and completed projects, rather than ‘what could be.’ Still more work to be done for sure, but the industry now has tremendous momentum due to the hard work of Phius staff and all the Phius practitioners over the years.” – Tony Lisanti, Phius QA/QC Manager

In reflecting on the messages that came from PhiusCon 2022, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future of our industry with so many talented individuals working to improve the built environment. But we’re also keenly aware of the urgency with which we must work. We are beyond the point of no return. We can no longer afford to simply mitigate the effects of climate change – we must also adapt. 

We know our hardworking constituents will continue working on doing just that, and we look forward to seeing you in Houston next fall for PhiusCon 2023 as we look toward the next frontier: hot and humid climates. See you there!