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November 7-8, 2019 | Arvada, CO
Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities


The Green Schools Summit is the Mountain Region's only conference dedicated to convening green building industry professionals, school decision makers, educators, and parents to further advance healthy, safe and sustainable schools statewide. The annual education and networking event, hosted by USGBC Colorado and organized in partnership with volunteers from the Green Schools Initiative, provides a unique opportunity to discuss how we can create better learning environments for students.

Today, there is no doubt we are seeing and experiencing the effects of climate change, with hotter summers, snowier winters and natural disasters occurring more regularly and with greater intensity all over the world. In November 2018, the UN released a report calling for a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to combat the rising threat of climate change. That is only a few short years away, and by that time, children born today will still only be in elementary school. With the stakes so high, we need everyone to go “all in” on sustainability and resiliency measures, particularly for the benefit of these school children born into the climate crisis.

This year, the Green Schools Summit will address the risks of, and offer solutions to, the looming climate crisis as it relates to students. The theme of this year’s Green Schools Summit is “High Stakes, All In” and will include sessions that take a closer look at:

  • How we engage students in a meaningful and impactful way;

  • How parents can encourage sustainability education outside of the classroom; and

  • How LEED buildings contribute to a student’s ability to learn.

We hope you will join us on November 7 and 8, in Arvada, CO. 


Are you interested in volunteering at the Summit? Contact us! 


Ticketing Information

Registration is now open! Early bird pricing has been extended until September 27th, register today and save! 

Green Schools Summit Main Conference Day

Pre-Conference Workshop:

This workshop is worth 3 GBCI and 3 AIA continuing education credits (approval pending) and will address resilient design in K-12 schools with an emphasis on safety, student learning, and helping schools save money. 

Opening Reception *

* Attendees who purchase a Summit or Workshop ticket are invited to join us for the opening reception. Due to limited space, RSVP is required to reserve your spot. 

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Please note: Onsite registrants at the main Summit will be charged a flat rate of $235. 





Thursday, November 7 | West Woods Golf Club

12:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Resiliency Workshop (lunch provided) 
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Sustainability Leaders Network Gathering
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Opening Reception 


Friday, November 8 | Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

8:00 am: Registration Opens / Visit with Exhibitors / Light Breakfast
9:00 am - 10:00 am: Opening Plenary
10:15 am - 11:15 am: Education Tracks
11:15 am - 11:45 am: Networking with Exhibitors
11:45 am - 12:45 pm: Luncheon and Updates 
12:45 pm - 1:00 pm: Networking with Exhibitors
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Education Tracks
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm: Education Tracks
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Closing Plenary
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Happy Hour and Networking



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Program Details
Resiliency Workshop
Thursday, Nov. 7, 12 pm - 4:30 pm

Encouraging Play:

Tim Gallegos, GAF Streetbond

This session will focus on how vibrant outdoor spaces increase physical activity and provide creative approaches to using the schoolyard for teaching and learning. It highlights the physical, mental, and social benefits that can lead to healthier students that are more open to learning. Attendees will come to understand the components of a sustainable playground, explore coating options for transforming playground surfaces, evaluate the application process of water-based “cool pavement” and identify the benefits of playground transformation using water-based coatings. Case studies will be explored in regards to playground initiatives throughout the country. 

Schools Save Money with Net Zero Performance and Resilient Construction:

Tracey Steward, CMTA; Philip Donovan, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. 

Net Zero Energy and Resilient schools now regularly meet school construction budgets. School buildings that produce more energy than they consume while keeping the students and staff safe from extreme weather events are achievable using a variety of concrete building systems. Examples from around the country highlight the diversity of options and design flexibility inherent in these systems. From Colorado to Kentucky, Florida, Virginia and Texas, schools built to meet the highest energy performance standards play a critical role in addressing the current climate crisis. The superior life cycle impact metrics of using concrete will round out this important discussion.

Is Resilience the New Sustainability?:

Adele Wilson, Matt Porta, Kara Aylesworth, Max Krueger;  Hord Coplan Macht

This session will discuss how we can promote resilient design features into new schools and school renovations. Attendees will come away with an understanding of the new USGBC RELi rating system and some practical ways that resilience concepts can be incorporated into the design strategies and goals for school projects. 

Green Schools Summit
Friday, Nov. 8, 8 am - 5:30 pm
Opening Plenary
Leading by Example, Mobilizing the Next Generation of Schools
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Ralph DiNola, CEO

New Buildings Institute

Ralph has dedicated his professional life to bringing sustainability, green building and energy efficiency innovation to scale. For more than 20 years he has served as a consultant to developers, governments and Fortune 500 companies seeking quantum advances in their building practices and projects. He has consulted on over 130 LEED® projects, including ten precedent-setting LEED Platinum certifications. Ralph has a bachelor’s degree in Historic Preservation from Roger Williams University and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from University of Oregon.

Closing Keynote
Designing for the Future
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Hunter Lovins, President & Founder

Natural Capitalism Solutions

L. Hunter Lovins is the President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), a non-profit formed in 2002 in Longmont, CO. A renowned author and champion of sustainable development for over 35 years, Hunter has consulted on sustainable agriculture, energy, water, security, and climate policies for scores of governments, communities, and companies worldwide. Within the United States, she has consulted for the Presidential Cabinet, Department of Defense, EPA, Department of Energy and numerous state and local agencies.

Track 1: Getting Technical

The Emerging Link between Ventilation Strategies and Academic Achievement in Schools:

Paul Hutton, Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.; Ghita Carrol, Boulder Valley School District; Marcel Harmon, BranchPattern. 

In this session, attendees will explore ways to design systems that reduce CO2 concentration and simultaneously retain the energy savings benefits in the new era where enhanced cognitive function should be a priority. Using case studies, we will explore ways of doing this on two different projects –

one with Natural Ventilation as the primary strategy and second using a filtration strategy with less fresh air. We will also dive deeper into the Post Occupancy Evaluations of the school using Natural Ventilation as the primary strategy to reduce CO2 levels in classrooms.

Radiant Heating and Cooling: Two Case Studies in Two Districts:

Miles Dake, BranchPattern; TBD, Boulder Valley School District; TBD Cannon City School District. 

Through research we know children perform better when there is more outside air in the classroom, so this is our goal when designing schools. However, it's also important we meet the district's energy goals so we must also reduce energy consumption. Radiant Heating and Cooling is a great mechanical system that accomplishes both goals, so let's do a deep dive of how the system works and how it is a good alternative to forced air.

LEEDv4 for Schools in Rural Colorado:

Phin Stubbs, Group14 Engineering; Anna McCullough, Group14 Engineering. 

This session will discuss the case studies of two rural Colorado schools pursuing LEEDv4 for School certifications: Buena Vista’s New Middle & High School and Del Norte’s New K-12. We’ll explore the positive impact these buildings will have on their communities as well as the unique LEED credits pursued given their locations. In particular, we will discuss their energy and water performance, HVAC & envelope designs, substituted LEEDv4.1 credits, and commissioning scope. These buildings feature advanced technologies and thoughtful design that will surely inspire.

Track 2: Going All In

STEM Launch - A Case Study on Empowering Behavior Change throught Student-Centered STEM-Based Energy Reduction Competition:

Kate Klaver, Adams 12 Schools; Shannon Oliver, Adams 12 Schools; Kathy Croasdale, Resource Central. 

Reducing energy use in schools is a constant struggle for school district energy managers due to occupant behavior. Implementing an intra-district energy reduction competition where students are ‘energy detectives’ puts ownership on occupants. Most importantly, utilizing real-time energy data, hand held environmental sampling tools, and contextualizing energy science through the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model makes energy ‘real’ for students. Through the PBL process our students are immersed in problem-solving activities that regularly test and redesign their ideas. Lasting examples of these ideas include an elementary school energy policy developed and integration of the energy challenge model into 4th grade curricula.

Perspectives in Diversion: Three Different Approaches: 

Renee Azerbegi, Ambient Energy; Laurel Mattrey, St. Vrain Valley School District; Anthony Hodes, Green Up Our Schools; Mary Gilkison, Jeffco Schools Recycle! 

In this panel discussion, national nonprofit Green Up Our Schools, St. Vrain Valley School District and the parent-led Jeffco Schools Recycle! will each present on their different approaches to tackling waste diversion, green purchasing and partnerships in school districts. Each presenter will bring a different perspective to the conversation of how to effectively launch campaigns, partner with school district staff, engage students, staff, and communities, and make sustainable change in classrooms, schools and districts.

Taking Action on the Global Goals of Sustainability - Youth Leading the Way:

Melinda Cain, World Affairs Challenge; Hope Mukai, World Affairs Challenge; Allison Weems, Mackintosh Academy; Joe Pausback, Mackintosh Academy; Jessica Murison, United National Association, Denver

The World Affairs Challenge (WAC) seeks to develop awareness, understanding, engagement and a call to action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while developing middle and high school students’ skills in collaboration, communication, cognitive complexity and problem solving. The WAC theme for 2020 is "Sustainability", focusing on SDGs: Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Sustainable Cities and Communities. Middle and High school teams define and study an aspect of these topics; focus on a specific local or global region or country; propose a solution, including how organizations addressing the problem can be more effective through collaboration; and then participate in a service project to further their solution. Presentations by past WAC participants (three 8th grade students) will show what teams have done (their selected project and impact achieved) to promote sustainable communities and create awareness of the SDGs. 

Continuing Education

All program sessions will be submitted for GBCI continuing education hours and AIA learning units.

Exhibit & Sponsor
Show your support for sustainable schools

At this year's summit, network with industry professionals and school leaders as an exhibitor or demonstrate your commitment to healthy, sustainable schools as a sponsor. Exhibiting space is limited and is expected to sell out quickly. Sign up today!


Learn more about how to become an exhibitor or sponsor. Questions? Please email Charlie Woodruff

Gold Sponsors

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Track Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors


Certified Sponsors

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Workshop Sponsor


Coffee Break Sponsor

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WiFi Sponsor


Happy Hour Sponsor

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Media Partner


Thursday, November 7 | West Woods Golf Club, Arvada, CO:


12:00 pm - 4:30 pm: Resiliency Workshop:

Join us for a Resiliency Workshop that will focus on schools. Learn how net zero energy and resilient design contribute to financial savings for schools, while also keeping students and staff safe from extreme weather events. Attendees will explore the components of a sustainable and resilient playground and how this can contribute to a student’s sustainability education, and more! Lunch will be served.

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Mountain Region School Sustainability Leadership Network Gathering: 

Members of the Mountain Region School Sustainability Leadership Network will gather for a fun meet and greet event prior to the Summit Opening Reception. This event is invite only. If you are leading sustainability in a K-12 school district in the Mountain Region, please reach out to Phoebe Beierle to be connected with this group. 


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Green Schools Summit Opening Reception:

Join USGBC, the Green Schools Summit Committee, and conference-goers for an evening of networking, drinks, and refreshments. 


The Green Schools Summit will take place at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

6901 Wadsworth Boulevard

Arvada, CO 80003