Podcast Logo 1000x1000

Sustainability Part 3: Higher Education Targets Net Zero

Feb. 22, 2023
In this third and final episode in our three-part series on sustainable design, we hone in on the higher education market to learn how colleges and universities are meeting aggressive sustainability targets.
Podcast Logo 1000x1000

In this third and final episode in our three-part series on sustainable design, we hone in on the higher education market to learn how colleges and universities, both public and private, are setting (and achieving) aggressive sustainability targets on their journey to reach net zero. Guests Martha Larson, director of Sustainability for RMF Engineering, Jennifer Cordes, principal at Hord Coplan Macht, and Darrah Jakab, associate principal, sustainable design, at MHTN, join chief content director Robert Nieminen for a conversation about the successes and strides this industry is making in the field of sustainability.

Meet Our Guests

Martha Larson, director of sustainability, RMF Engineering

Working alongside leadership at each of RMF’s eleven offices, Larson focuses on climate-driven and carbon reduction efforts across the firm’s utility and energy planning portfolio. Larson works with cross-disciplinary teams of energy master planners, building systems engineers, underground utility distribution engineers, and utility generation engineers to strengthen decarbonization strategies and implementation plans for clients across the country. She is also responsible for deepening RMF’s commitment to sustainability and identifying opportunities to further ingrain carbon reduction practices into the organization’s culture. Larson is professionally and personally dedicated to fighting the climate crisis on all fronts and working to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible. She loves the problem-solving aspects of engineering combined with its ability to create a more resilient, clean energy future.

Larson comes to RMF following more than a decade as the Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability at Carleton College, where she championed campus-wide climate action initiatives. At Carleton, she oversaw the installation of the institution’s second commercial-size wind turbine, development of the campus climate action plan and a campuswide transition from district steam heating to low temperature hot water tied to a geothermal heat pump system. Larson’s role was directly responsible for reducing the college’s carbon footprint by nearly 70% since 2008. Prior to Carleton, she worked in Chicago as an acoustical consultant with Kirkegaard Associates and an owner’s representative with the Rise Group where her project portfolio featured many prominent cultural and performing arts projects.

Jennifer Cordes, principal at Hord Coplan Macht

With more than 20 years of experience in architecture, Jennifer serves as the Market Sector Leader for the firm’s higher education practice. She also provides planning and design leadership for the firm’s most complex campus projects, specifically for the design of science and laboratory spaces. She is a strong advocate for a collaborative and interactive design process that focuses on high-performing designs that capture the culture of an institution and support active learning and research. Her dedication to building consensus amongst administration, faculty, staff, and researchers has helped to produce creative design solutions for their programs whether constructing an all-new structure or weaving complex additions and renovation work. Jennifer’s organized approach and communicative process encourages stakeholder engagement while streamlining her projects for maximum efficiency.

Darrah Jakab, associate principal, sustainable design, MHTN

As an architect, Darrah has experience guiding project teams through various certification processes such as LEED, WELL, and Zero Energy. Her background in environmental science, geology, and architecture helped pave the way for her exploration in sustainable design. Throughout her career, she has been championing the impact of sustainability and climate-responsive design.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...