Role of Schools in Climate Change & Energy Transition (Tools, Mechanisms and Strategies for Advancing Sustainability and Resilience in Public School Facility Planning)

Room: E145-146

Furnished by: Artcobell

Audience: Architects, Engineers, Specialized Consultants, Facilities Personnel, Educators, School Administrators, Educational Policymakers, Community Stakeholders


Call to Action:

  1. Implement and/or improve tools for effective utility management utilizing sustainable practices in public school facilities.
  2. Provide feedback and impact institutional policy pertaining to sustainability at various levels of institutional, municipal, state, and federal governance.
  3. Develop increased awareness of the policy landscape and relevant, current issues pertaining to energy and resource use in public school facilities.

Abstract: As temperatures increase and climate tipping points loom, the challenge remains for public institutions to plan for a changing future and implement facility management practices that address shifting energy uses and reduce carbon emissions from buildings, school buses, vehicle fleets, etc. This session will discuss a framework for developing a “best practices playbook” for sustainability and resilience planning within the context of public institutions (specifically Pre-K – 12 public education facilities), with a focus on creating equitable outcomes using policies and processes that integrate the most recent technologies and innovations to advance sustainability and energy conservation. Panelists include a public facility manager from the 35th largest public school district in the country (Albuquerque Public Schools), a senior project director of a national non-profit Clean Energy coalition (Clean Energy States Alliance), an executive of a large public utility company (PNM), and the energy services director of a large, public university (New Mexico State University).

Learning Objectives:

  1. To present a playbook for creating and managing an institutional, resource conservation program with the goal of efficient design, construction, and utilization of buildings and building systems (utilities).
  2. This category pertains to project management, programming and analysis, and project planning and design aimed at sustainability targets (lowered carbon emissions, utilities’ efficiencies, renewables portfolios).
  3. To discuss a primer of the relevant issues around renewables, utility usage, and best practices relevant to school facilities, and that specifically apply to economies of scale and public institutions.
  4. To focus project planning and design, showcasing several examples of renewable facilities’ construction and development.
  5. To build awareness of school facilities’ issues that impact sustainability and and how program implementation improves health, safety, and welfare of occupants, visitors, and other user groups.
Tony Sparks
Tony Sparks
Project Manager, Water and Energy Conservation Committee, Albuquerque Public Schools

Tony works for the Facilities Design + Construction Department of Albuquerque Public Schools, where he is Staff Project Manager for HVAC Systems, Energy Efficiency & Sustainability. He is also coordinator of the APS Water and Energy Conservation Committee (WECC) and the APS Energy Team. Tony is an enthusiastic advocate for the betterment of our built environment, working tirelessly to make meaningful improvements in building design and operation. His teams have achieved impressive results and garnered numerous awards for their effective and progressive conservation strategies.

Todd Olinsky-Paul
Todd Olinsky-Paul
Senior Project Director, Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA)

At CESA, Todd directs the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP), which aims to accelerate large scale electrical energy storage deployment through collaborative efforts between state energy agencies, US DOE Office of Electricity and Sandia National Laboratories. Todd is also the CESA lead for state energy storage policy support, directing CESA’s members’ Energy Storage Working Group (ESWG), conducting independent research and analysis on state energy storage policymaking, and providing direct policy and program support to state energy agencies engaged in developing energy storage policies, programs and regulation. His recent work has focused on virtual power plants, battery storage as an efficiency measure, the economics of energy storage, and the equitable incorporation of solar+storage into state clean energy policy and programs. Todd holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a B.A. from Brown University.

Core Competency

Design of Educational Facilities
Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

LearningSCAPES 2024 Conference in Portland, Oregon


Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97232


October 16-19, 2024


+1 480.391.0840