Jan 10, 2021

Zero Carbon: Can Built Environment Education Deliver?


Monday 8 February 2021, 9 – 10 am PST

The climate emergency means the built environment will have to be zero carbon. All new buildings must be zero carbon by 2030 and the existing building stock will require significant retrofitting to be carbon neutral by 2050.  A whole-life approach to operational and embodied carbon is essential, which will require mainstreaming a range of decarbonization skills in all built environment professions.

Education and training are a key means to help address the climate emergency by ensuring a critical mass of entrants to the professions have the necessary ethics, knowledge, skills and competences to achieve a zero-carbon built environment. Is the current higher education curricula for built environment professionals adequate to meet this challenge?  What can be done to positively influence the situation?

In November 2020, the refereed journal Buildings & Cities (B&C) published a special issue ‘Education and Training: Mainstreaming Zero Carbon’ guest edited by Fionn Stevenson and Alison Kwok. All papers are free to access: bit.ly/3miSAGg. The special issue raised three challenges:

  • How can education and training be rapidly changed to ensure the creation of zero-carbon built environments?
  • How can this transition be implemented successfully?
  • What positive examples and models can be drawn upon or adapted?

This virtual event will use the B&C special issue as the basis for an in-depth examination of what constitutes a rapid change agenda and roadmap for built environment education.  It specifically seeks solutions that are top-down as well as bottom-up and asks for a new range of interdependent processes to occur, particularly in:

  • central government
  • accreditation bodies and professional institutes
  • universities
  • departments
  • NGOs

4 brief presentations (5 minutes each) are followed by a set of 2 curated responses (3 minutes each) from senior representatives on how education & training needs to change and their role(s) in a roadmap for change. A Q&A session allows participants an opportunity to contribute.  Selected papers from the special issue embrace several of the processes for how this transition is taking place.


  • Anthony Hickling (Carbon Leadership Forum)


  • Fionn Stevenson (University of Sheffield) & Alison Kwok (University of Oregon)


  • Gavin Killip “A reform agenda for construction education and practice” (University of Oxford)
  • Katy Janda “Preparing ‘middle actors’ to deliver zero-carbon building transitions” (University College London)
  • Malini Srivastava “Cooperative learning in design studios: a pedagogy for net-positive performance” (University of Minnesota)


  • Marsha Maytum (Practitioner, Educator, 2019 AIA COTE chair)
  • Steph Carlisle (CLF researcher, Practitioner and University of Pennsylvania)



Latest News

Senior Policy Researcher

Research Position Now Open Senior Policy ResearcherThe Carbon Leadership Forum, a research organization based out of the University of Washington's...

ARPA-E $3.7M Grant to Fund Core LCA R&D

by Stephanie Carlisle, Senior Researcher for the Carbon Leadership Forum The promise of radically decarbonizing the building sector lies, in part,...

Postdoctoral Scholar: LCA Modeling

Research Position Now Open Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) modeling of carbon-storing materials The Department of Architecture at the University of...

Introducing Allison Hyatt

Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum Allison Hyatt is a Researcher with the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington. With years of...

Introducing Megan Kalsman

Policy Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum by Megan Kalsman I have always been drawn to and fascinated by cities. How we work, play, and move about...

Introducing Meghan Byrne

Engagement and Communications Lead, Carbon Leadership Forum Meghan Byrne works to support collaboration and communication across the CLF Community...

Introducing Milad Ashtiani

Building and Materials Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Milad Ashtiani is a civil engineer who received his PhD from...

2022 Embodied Carbon Policy Action

by Meghan LewisSenior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum 2021 was a busy year for embodied carbon policy, and 2022 looks to be filled with even...

Introducing Brad Benke

Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Brad Benke, AIA, is a Research Scientist at the Carbon Leadership Forum focused on...

Six Months into SE 2050

Structural Engineers Combine to Share Learning, Resources, and Ambitious Decarbonization Goals By Chris Jeseritz Chris Jeseritz is a project manager...

Introducing Meghan Lewis

Senior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Meghan Lewis is a Senior Researcher at the Carbon Leadership Forum, where she...

Introducing Steph Carlisle

Senior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington   Stephanie Carlisle is an architect and environmental researcher whose...

Introducing Monica Huang

Research Engineer, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Monica Huang is a research engineer with experience in environmental life cycle...

Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront

The World Green Building Council’s pioneering report "Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront: Coordinated action for the building and construction sector...

Embodied Carbon in Construction

Published in Buildings & Cities in the Special Collection: "Carbon metrics for buildings and cities" Publication date: September 2020 Authors:...

Introducing Anthony Hickling

Managing Director, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Anthony Hickling has experience in environmental and social sustainability as...

Carbon Positive RESET!

There has never been a greater urgency for climate action. by Ed Mazria and Natasha BalwitArchitecture 2030 We are in a race to find solutions for...

Architect Magazine: The Carbon Issue

Meeting the urgent need for climate action, with decarbonization strategies for materials, design, practice, and policy. Architecture must quickly...

Announcing the EC3 tool partnership

Press Release The Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with more than 30 industry leaders, announces breakthrough tool to easily evaluate carbon...