Alisa Petersen

Senior Associate
  • Carbon-free Cities and States

Alisa Petersen is an Senior Associate on Rocky Mountain Institute’s Buildings team. She currently works on the Residential Energy+ initiative analyzing paths to zero carbon performance for existing residential buildings.

Prior to joining RMI, Alisa worked for Seventhwave, a nonprofit energy efficiency company in Madison Wisconsin, where she served as an Energy Engineer and Project Manager. At Seventhwave, Alisa provided technical assistance to building owners and design teams to help inform a more energy efficient building design. Although she analyzed all types of commercial buildings, she specialized in multifamily buildings and supermarkets. She also researched and wrote publications on building energy conservation measures including demand control kitchen ventilation, high efficiency refrigerated display cases, lighting task tuning, and cold climate facades.


  • B.Sc.,, Mechanical Engineering, UW-Madison
  • Certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability, UW-Madison


  • LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C)
  • Engineer in Training (EIT)
Authored Works
Outlet Blog Post

Zero-Energy Homes: Tunneling Through the (Electrification) Cost Barrier in Cold Climates

A decade ago, the prevailing wisdom held that all-electric buildings presented many challenges: they were served by dirty coal instead of cleaner natural gas, they struggled to meet temperature setpoints in cold climates, and they drastically increased utility bills. Why then this big push toward electrification? Simply put, electrification is…

Outlet Blog Post

Unlocking Energy Upgrade Projects in New Markets

Since moving into Boulder Commons in late 2017, Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) net-zero energy (NZE) multitenant Class A office in Boulder, Colorado, RMI has been working to share lessons learned and increase adoption of advanced green and net-zero energy leases. While innovative efforts such as RMI’s have been raising…

Outlet Blog Post

Zero-Energy Homes Are Ready for Mainstream Markets

Zero-energy (ZE) homes—efficient homes that produce or procure as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year—are often marketed as luxury homes, only available to the select few that are willing to pay a significant premium to do the right thing for the environment. In keeping…


The Economics of Zero-Energy Homes

NEW: Cold Climates Addendum offers additional guidance for ZE and ZER homes built in climate zones 6 and 7. This report demonstrates that the cost increase to build a zero-energy or zero-energy ready home is modest—far less than consumers, builders, and policymakers realize—and highlights methods builders and policymakers can use…

Outlet Blog Post

How Cities Can Ensure Better Rentals for Everyone

Today, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a new report, Better Rentals, Better City: Smart Policies to Improve Your City’s Rental Housing Energy Performance, which aims to inform city leaders on mechanisms that can boost energy performance improvements in rental housing that benefit tenants, landlords, community leaders, and the environment.

Outlet Blog Post

An Existing Building Portfolio on a Path to Net-Zero Energy

Many developers cite first-cost as a barrier to pursuing net-zero energy in their new and existing building projects. But one leading developer in Colorado is flipping the script on this assumption, showing that prioritizing energy performance can open up new cash flows, as opposed to draining existing ones. John Madden…

Outlet Blog Post

Four Insights from the Most Successful NZE Home Builders

The number of net-zero energy (NZE) homes in the US is growing at an exciting rate (it has grown by 33 percent from 2015 to 2016), but this growth is nowhere near fast enough to make NZE homes mainstream. Today, they are a very niche offering, comprising roughly…

Outlet Blog Post

A City in the Rockies Paves the Way for Net-Zero Energy Leases

Boulder, Colorado, is a national leader in sustainability—especially when it comes to the built environment. The City of Boulder has the most aggressive new construction energy code in the country, the nation’s first voter-approved tax dedicated to addressing climate change, and a benchmarking policy that requires efficiency…