Clearing the Air: Adapting Schools to a Changing World Resources

Facing the current COVID-19 crisis and increased pressures from climate change, it is becoming evident that we need to adapt our thinking to how we can best design and operate schools to a range of issues. This 2-part panel series discussed the research and approaches to designing and operating schools to effectively manage indoor air quality, thermal comfort, outdoor air issues, pandemics, climate disasters all while taking into account occupant health and safety. On our COVID-19 resources page you will find a list of the resources provided by our panelists. Feel free to reference or share this as you need. 

Part 1: The research and data to address our changing world

Originally recorded on June 10, 2020

To best understand how we design and operate these buildings to adapt and mitigate issues such as IAQ, thermal comfort, and emergencies - we must have a solid understanding of what is actually impacting the school environment. This panel brought together experts to dive into the research about these factors and how this can impact energy efficiency all while valuing student health and wellness as the key driver.


  • Craig Lardiere, Mechanical Engineer, PAE
  • Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Energy Studies Building Lab (ESBL) Director Architecture, University of Oregon
  • Kathleen Owen, Air Pollution Control Engineer, ASHRAE
  • Gerry Glynn, Account Executive, Ameresco

Panel 1 recording:

Panel 1 slides:


Part 2: Design and Considerations to Adapt to Our Changing World

Originally recorded on July 15, 2020

Part One discussed the research that is helping us best understand how we adapt our buildings to a changing world and the key factors that play into decision making. During Part 2 of this series, experts discussed incorporating these factors into school facility design and management decision making processes.


  • Lydia Burns, Associate Principal, Bassetti Architects

Featured speakers:

  • Angela Freeman, Executive Director of Schools, Reynolds School District
  • Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Energy Studies Building Lab (ESBL) Director Architecture, University of Oregon
  • Ruwan Jayaweera, Associate Principal, PAE

Panel 2 recording:

Panel 2 slides:



It Starts in School – A Three Part Series

In partnership with Room for More and AIA CoEDI, the Portland Green Schools Committee presents It Starts At School: Creating Equity and Inclusion in AEC Fields. Across 3 panels, the series will explore inequities present in educational environments and barriers to success in the AEC industry. The panels will center the experiences of students, educators, and professionals for open conversation of existing realities. The final panel will present tools and strategies for combating inequity from community leaders.


Panel I: Student Voices

Originally recorded on September 24, 2020

This panel featured student and educator voices that explored inequities faced in day-to-day education, as well as larger systematic injustices.

Moderated by Nichole Berg, Climate Change and Climate Justice Programs Manager, Portland Public Schools


  • Isaac Vergun, Federal Plaintiff in Juliana et a. v. U.S. and Co-Founder and Lead Youth Climate Leader with Youth Acting for our Earth, YAE!
  • Amaya Aldridge, An Advocate for Culturally Responsive Curriculum/Antiracist Teaching and Self Enhancement Inc. Female Leadership Member, pursuing a greater understanding of Equitable and Ethical Business at the University of Oregon
  • Jennie Marable, Program Manager, GROW Portland



Panel II: Community Voices

Originally recorded on October 15, 2020

This panel provided a platform for AEC professionals to present the paths that support their careers and the inequities still faced in the industry.

Moderated by Karina Ruiz, NOMA PDX Board Member and Principal, BRIC Architecture


  • Ruwan Jayaweera, Co-Founder, Room for More and Associate Principal, PAE
  • Chandra Robinson, NOMA PDX Board Member and Project Director, Lever Architecture
  • Gustavo Vela-Moreno, Room for More Member and Mechanical Engineer, PAE




Panel III: Looking Forward

Originally recorded on November 12, 2020

This panel presented solutions from educators, community leaders, and professionals for more equitable opportunities and sustained support.

Moderated by Ed Herrera, Co-Founder, Room for More and Senior Associate, BRIC Architecture

  • Lia Peacock, Co-Founder, Room for More and Architect, ZGF
  • Kelly Chanopas, AIA CoEDI Chair and Architect, ZGF
  • Jacquelyn Santa Lucia, Program Director, Your Street Your Voice, EmpowHER | Camp ELSO Inc.

Student community speakers:

  • Maddy Mae Belden, first year architecture student at PSU and co-leader of the Youth Climate Summit, a student of Your Street Your Voice
  • Hikima Edao, Sophomore at Benson High School, majoring in Health Occupations, and an activist, focusing on required ethnic studies in K-12 schools, a student of EmpowHER