Getting to Zero: User Engagement in Achieving Net Zero Energy (K-12 Subcommittee call)

When:  Apr 21, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (ET)

Next K12 Subcommittee call:

 April 21                11 am PST ; 2 pm EST (standing time)



Getting to Zero: User Engagement in Achieving Net Zero Energy

Katherine Bubriski, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Senior Associate/Architect, Arrowstreet

Shannon Kaplan, PE, LC, LEED AP, BD+C – Project Manager, In Posse

As the architecture and engineering industry continues to focus on improving the energy performance of buildings, it’s clear that some energy saving measures are outside the designer’s control. Occupants play a significant role when it comes to the energy used by a building. Designers engage users to discuss space needs, environmental and aesthetic desires, yet often do not discuss users’ roles in energy use. Designers must recognize the role occupants have on energy use and adjust our design process accordingly. Join us for an exploration of how design teams and clients can bring occupants into the conversation about energy, equipment and building usage to improve energy efficiency and help net zero energy projects meet energy use targets. This session will discuss how user engagement was incorporated in the design process on case study projects including the proposed net-zero energy King Open and Cambridge Street Upper schools in Cambridge, MA.


Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize ways in which occupant behavior will impact energy use in buildings.
  • Learn to conduct client discussions on the impact of occupant behavior on building energy use as well as determine a plan of user engagement.
  • Discover techniques to design spaces to reinforce energy saving occupant behavior using the case studies presented.
  • Learn the process of user engagement developed by the speakers and how to work with school districts, staff and students to implement it.



Kate Bubriski, Senior Associate at Arrowstreet, is a leader within the sustainability field, both within her firm and throughout the industry. To Kate, sustainability is an essential part of architecture and she strives to advance the sustainable goals of each project to create more healthy, beautiful, durable environments with positive global impacts. She has spent most of the last 15 years working with non-profit clients on K-12 Education and Healthcare projects enhancing clients’ missions, services and environments. Kate is a 2016 AIA CAE Knowledge Net award recipient. She is also a member of the national Sustainable Design Leaders, Greenbuild 2017 Host Sub-Committee Chair and USGBC Massachusetts Advocacy Committee Chair. She spends much of her time outside the office promoting legislation that supports the implementation of sustainable communities and buildings. Kate has had speaking engagements at Greenbuild, NESEA Building Energy, the Massachusetts State House and USGBC Massachusetts, among others, on topics such as occupant engagement, integrated design, net zero energy, advocacy and LEED certification.


Shannon Kaplan specializes in the design and analysis of high performance electrical systems for buildings with an emphasis on ultra low-energy lighting systems, daylight harvesting and on-site renewable energy. For the past several years she has worked almost exclusively on high-performance buildings and LEED projects. Shannon works with clients, building owners and building occupants to help them find ways to optimize energy usage in buildings and has helped buildings achieve additional energy savings through programs involving occupant education and plug load policies. She has lectured extensively on sustainable design and high performance buildings including the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and the AIA Philadelphia Chapter Spring Suburban Conference. Shannon is an Adjunct Professor at Philadelphia University in the Masters of Science in Sustainable Design and teaches in the sustainable design studio. She also worked with Rob Diemer to develop the Sustainable Systems course which she has taught for the past several years. Shannon holds a Master’s of Science in Organizational Dynamics and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University.


Online Instructions: