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COTE: Pathways to Decarbonization - Seattle Public Schools

This event is the first in COTE’s 2021 series on Pathways to Decarbonization. In this series, we’re learning how local organizations are reducing carbon, while addressing COVID-19 recovery, environmental justice issues, and more.

The Seattle Public School District (SPS) has for over a decade been working to integrate sustainable best practices into their institution from the top down, bottom up and middle out. This forward-looking district has been able to produce measurable results in energy, water, waste, and food system savings that have added up to $1.4 million in annual savings for the district. Winning the Green Ribbon Award for sustainable school districts over many years has prepared them to look ahead toward a new vision:

  • Be a Carbon Positive District by 2040
  • Be a Zero-Waste District by 2030
  • Be a Responsible Water District (LBC Core defined) by 2040

During a year of COVID disruptions, the district embarked on a visioning process that reveals the path forward to integrate these goals and target into their policies, procedures, standards, and the heart of their education program. They commit to do this while ensuring that the benefits of environmental justice are distributed with fairness and equity across the district.

Click here to view a full recording of the program.

This program is presented by AIA Seattle’s Committee on the Environment. This live, online webinar will be presented with full closed captioning available. Please note in your registration if you would like to be contacted regarding specific accommodations to fully participate in this program. Contact Member Engagement Manager, Connor Descheemaker, with any questions or concerns.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the power of Backcasting (vs Forecasting) to project a bold vision out on the horizon and connect to important milestones for achieving that vision.

  • Discuss barriers to institutional change and how to overcome them.

  • Explore the inherent connections between social equity and environmental justice and strategies for approaching engagement.

  • Discover opportunities for institutions to both reduce their negative footprints while also working to increase their positive handprints within the community.


Smiling person with ponytail, wearing a necklace and purple sweater over grey shirtRina Fa’amoe-Cross, C.E.M., Resource Conservation Specialist, Seattle Public Schools

Rina Fa’amoe-Cross is a LEED Green Associate, Certified Energy Manager (CEM), a Certified Business Energy Professional (BEP) and holds a Building Operator Certificate (BOC) Level I and II. She graduated from the University of Washington’s Program on the Environment (PoE) in 2005 and served on the PoE Alumni Board. Rina has worked in the field of sustainability with the City of Issaquah and the Bellevue School District. She has been a Resource Conservation Specialist with Seattle Public Schools since 2011 and focuses primarily on waste (garbage, recycling, composting). She was chosen as a US Green Building Council Sustainability Scholar for the 2019-2020 school year.




Smiling man, with earplugs, in a grey T-shirt with background overlooking green trees, water, and a distant mountainIan A. Brown, Resource Conservation Specialist, Seattle Public Schools

Ian A. Brown is one of three Resource Conservation Specialists at Seattle Public Schools (SPS) since April 2019. He concentrates on energy utility tracking, data analysis, conservation strategies, decarbonization, rebates and grants. Before SPS, he worked as a general contractor, wearing the many hats of the self-employed: cost estimator, supply logistics, job site coordinator, accounts payable and receivable, hand holder. He also installed energy monitoring systems and data acquisition platforms and performed blower door and duct blasting tests for a variety of residential and commercial end-use load research projects. He installed equipment for and analyzed data sets on pioneering studies on residential infiltration, building envelopes and HVAC system efficiency. He studied Energy Systems and Physics at Vassar and The Evergreen State College.


Smiling person with rectangle glasses, goatee, and brown hair, in front of soft-focus yellow backgroundGraham Goodman, Resource Conservation Specialist, Seattle Public Schools

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Graham subscribes to a work hard, play hard philosophy. Graham holds a BA in Environmental Education and Policy from Western Washington University (2010) and an MBA from the Global, Social, and Sustainable Enterprise program at Colorado State University (2014). He has received credentials in Low Impact Development (LID) from Washington State University Online Extension and his Building Operator Certificate (BOC) Level 1 in 2020. He has several years of experience in sustainability roles in publicly traded corporations as well as private consulting. He has been a Resource Conservation Specialist for Seattle Public Schools since 2019. When not navigating challenges in water conservation and quality, stormwater and watershed management at SPS, he is most likely to be found in mountain, forest, and coastal settings.


Smiling person with thin, rectangle glasses, and reddish long hair, in front of brown, soft-focused backgroundPhaedra Svec, AIA LEED AP BD+C, Director of Regenerative Design, McLennan Design

Phaedra is an architect, mentor, systems planner, and Director of Regenerative Design with McLennan Design.  With over 20 years of leadership in the sustainable design movement, she has served as sustainability consultant on many award-winning, high-performance projects.  A master at interrupting traditional practice, she creates opportunities to infuse biomimicry, biophilia and regenerative design and development principles into an integrative design process.  Phaedra’s approach to regenerative design and development is holistic, systems-based, and inspired by living systems.  She believes that regenerative design is a way of approaching every project with the intent of discovering and improving upon the vitality of the place and its living systems.


March 10, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Price
Class Credit


AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938