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Michael Gartman

  • Carbon-Free Buildings

Michael supports RMI’s Residential Energy+ and Building Electrification initiatives, and is currently focused on providing both project developers and policymakers with the information and resources they need to drive a market shift toward a more efficient, affordable, and equitable housing stock.


Michael utilizes a background in cost estimating and project management that comes from a diverse array of experience in the construction industry. His past work has included serving over 30 cities through ongoing technical assistance on residential policies, cost-estimating over 1,000 commercial energy retrofits and solar installations, and building bridges in South America.


M.Sc., Building Systems Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
B.Sc., magna cum laude, Construction Management, University of Colorado Boulder


Boulder, CO

Authored Works

Heat Pumps: A Practical Solution for Cold Climates

It’s almost winter in the Northern Hemisphere; time for people to snuggle up with their families (including the four-legged members), cultivate the now-international practice of hygge, and find other ways to deal with the relative lack of sun. The cold is coming, and with it comes the question of…


The Future of Hot Water Is Heat Pumps

State and local leaders nationwide are beginning to recognize the importance of eliminating fossil fuels in newly constructed buildings. The rationale is clear: gas has an extremely limited place in our clean energy future, and it’s far more difficult, costly, and disruptive to swap out gas-consuming equipment from…


Surviving the Next Polar Vortex

One year ago this week, the Midwest was under siege from the “polar vortex” that caused subzero temperatures and power outages across Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and New Jersey. In light of the fact that climate change is projected to increase the frequency and severity of these events,…


Cities Hold the Keys to Greener, More Efficient Homes

Our homes may be a source of safety, comfort, and stability—but they also represent a considerable slice of our country’s carbon emissions (19 percent, according to the latest estimate from the US Energy Information Administration). Addressing this piece of our energy system is essential to achieving our climate goals. Perhaps…


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…


How to Cost-Effectively Withstand the Next Polar Vortex

The 2019 polar vortex has passed, leaving behind many harrowing stories in its wake. The new Cold Climates Addendum of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Economics of Zero Energy Homes report illuminates how our homes can be better prepared for weather extremes cost-effectively, even in some of the coldest climates in…


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…