Workshop attendees listening to presentation

Thursday Schedule

The second day of the conference, Thursday, March 4, will focus on topics related to high-performance housing and land development & planning. Continuing education available.

Keynote Speaker

Karen Parolek, principal and CFO of Opticos Design, Inc. will be giving the keynote presentation titled Missing Middle Housing: Thinking Big and Building Small. Missing Middle Housing is one of the reasons why older, in-town sections of our cities are charming and in demand, yet little of it is being built today. With rising land and development costs, duplexes, fourplexes, mansion apartments, stacked flats and bungalow courts can help provide a much-needed dose of affordability as well as more housing choices in walkable neighborhoods.


Day 2 conference sessions on Thursday will feature two concurrent tracks: High-Performance Housing and Land Development & Planning. 

  • 9:30-10:00am EST
    • Login to Zoom
    • Welcome & Opening Remarks by Brian Wolfgang, PHRC
  • 10:00-11:00am EST
    • Keynote titled Missing Middle Housing: Thinking Big and Building Small by Karen Parolek of Opticos Design, Inc.
  • 11:00-11:15am EST
    • Break
  • 11:15am-12:15pm EST
    1. Are Healthy Homes Features the New Granite Countertop? Priority Health Upgrades & Health Labeling Programs by Ellen Tohn, Tohn Environmental
    2. Restoring Hydrologic Function in Suburban Pervious Landscapes by Stu Schwartz, UMBC
  • 12:15-1:00pm EST
    • Break for lunch
  • 1:00-2:00pm EST
    1. Turning the Corner in 2021—Building & Selling Indoor airPLUS Homes by Nick Hurst, US EPA, & Paul Raymer, ICF
    2. Land Banks Approach to Residential Construction by Winnie Branton, Branton Strategies; Hallie Chatfield, Westmoreland County Land Bank; and An Lewis, Tri-COG Land Bank
  • 2:00-2:15pm EST
    • Break
  • 2:15-3:15pm EST
    1. Variable Capacity Heat Pumps for Cold Climates: Get the Basics Right & Good IAQ Will Follow by Kimberly Llewellyn, Mitsubishi Electric
    2. Community Land Trusts in Pennsylvania by Anna Kochersperger, State College Community Land Trust; Ed Nusser, City of Bridges CLT; and Rachel Fawcett, PHRC
  • 3:15-3:30pm EST
    • Break
  • 3:30-4:30pm EST
    1. Introduction to Life Cycle Analysis for Housing by Corey Griffin, Penn State Altoona
    2. Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO): An Innovative Housing Solution by Helen Kelly, Diana T. Myers & Associates, Inc. and Julie Fenton, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc.
  • 4:30-4:40pm EST
    • Closing & Thank You by PHRC Staff


The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304