Joe MacDonaldPrincipal, Chief Energy & Sustainability Officer | Net Zero Carbon Strategist | Innovator | Data Driven | Climate Risks & Opportunities. Joe MacDonald is an internationally recognized executive and visionary architect, researcher, policy specialist, and climate subject matter expert advocate. Joe founded Urban A&O in New York while serving as an Associate Professor at Harvard University, his alma mater, and now serves as one of its principals.

His mission is to revolutionize global project development, management, and delivery by harnessing the power of decarbonization, digitization, and enhanced data collection, delivering buildings of the future powered by renewable energy & automation.

Joe is UA&O’s Project Architect, and his current focus is on revolutionizing the data center industry by incorporating emerging clean tech solutions including SMRs, Pumped Storage Hydropower, Geothermal, and green hydrogen for maximum sustainability, blue hydrogen as a practical compromise, and natural gas for immediate deployment benefits.

MacDonald designed Project Energos, a 150MW Data Center achieving carbon neutrality by combining a solar array of 100MW and a geothermal plant. Project Energos is the largest green development in the USA powered by hybrid energy.

Joe has been a thought leader in the net zero space for over a decade.He played a pioneering role in advancing smart city principles and data center innovations across Scandinavia, the Americas, and the EU. Joe was an early adopter on the net-zero development space across America, EU, and MENA regions.He secured and delivered a phased 2,000 multi-family home zero emissions development in the Hudson Valley, a $245M suburb development in San Francisco focused on circularity principles, and has worked with various asset management firms taking advantage of the IRA to provide net-zero middle to low income housing in the Texas Triangle.

He lectures worldwide on impact investing, climate change, the UN’s 17 SDGs, circular economies and the drive to net zero strategies.Joe serves as an ambassador within the international sustainability and UNFCCC climate action spheres, delivering keynote addresses in Bangkok, Dubai, London, and Copenhagen. He leverages his influential platform to forge profound connections with industry leaders.


  • Joe outlines his firm’s core competencies: carbon neutral data centers, eco resorts, smart cities, green roofs, and plant walls.\
  • Pro tips on how to transition from a local office to a global workforce.
  • Remote work with regular Zoom meetings and use of WhatsApp for efficient communication.
  • Discussion on the significance of policy in driving sustainability.
  • Comparison of US and EU policies, and the role of corporate mandates.
  • Emphasizes the importance of patience, creativity, and grit.
  • Focus on carbon neutrality and net zero projects,
  • Passive House in Texas and
  • Smart City in Colombia
  • Be progressive and stay on the cutting edge of new technologies with federal funding.

Get the episode transcript here!!



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