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Environmental Justice + Design

May 12, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT

Free – $20.00


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Environmental Justice + Design

AIALA COTE presents: Environmental Justice + Design: Healthy Building Impacts Beyond the Occupant

Learning Units: 1LU/HSW

This event was previously scheduled for August 20th. This is a virtual event.  Zoom log-in details will be emailed to registrants 24 hours before the event.

Designers have the power to take a stand and improve human health and equity for the better. Taking inspiration from great environmental justice movements, designers can work together to limit carbon-intensive and toxic materials in our buildings. Attendees will learn how design choices effect human health and the environment across all life cycle stages.



+ Introduction to Environmental Justice and Design

+ Identifying health and equity issues with common building products.

+ Connection to embodied carbon and human health

+ Discuss how and when to start using material selection tools

+ Discuss how to approach healthy materials from a project and/or organizational approach

+ Discuss how to support local environmental justice movements in Los Angeles and beyond.


Learning Objectives

+ Discuss common materials in the building industry and their negative impact on the health of building end users, construction and manufacturing workers, first responders, and fence-line communities.

+ Understand how to consider both embodied carbon and human health when making material and product selections. Use tools like EC3 and Mindful Materials to make informed design decisions.

+ Integrate company-wide standards for materials and product selection in a healthy materials plan and specifications.

+ Connect their project’s and/or company’s impact to local and regional environmental health.



Kathleen Hetrick, Senior Sustainability Engineer, Buro Happold
Kathleen Hetrick is a senior sustainability engineer at Buro Happold and a LEED AP BD+C  and WELL AP. She is a board member of USGBC-LA and the LA Promise Fund’s Young Professionals Council. As part of Buro Happold’s sustainability and physics team, Kathleen combines her passion for human-focused sustainable design with a technical background in mechanical engineering. She has experience in a wide range of cutting-edge projects across all scales of work including multiple LEED platinum projects, Living Building Challenge projects, historical adaptive reuse, LEED Neighborhood Developments, and city and campus sustainability plans. Her most recent project work includes coordinating the Living Building Challenge process for the Santa Monica City Services Building, and a ILFI Zero Carbon project in Washington State. Her experience with the Living Building Challenge Material Red List requirements has prompted her to spark a firm-wide effort to identify and reduce the most harmful chemicals within the MEP scope of work, and fuels her passion for improving the health aspects of sustainable materials on all of her projects.  She is also the current Co-Facilitator of Buro Happold’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum, spearheading outreach initiatives to encourage local K-12 students to pursue sustainability- focused careers in STEAM through mentoring, design competitions and paid high school internships.


Alicia Rivera, Community Organizer, Communities for a Better Environment
Alicia is a Community Organizer with Communities for a Better Environment, CBE,  focusing her work in Wilmington, CA, helping Wilmington residents to make local refineries safer, cleaner, and accountable for their emissions.  She is currently working in a campaign to get the City of Los Angeles pass an ordinance to protect neighbors from the impacts of nearby oil drilling operations by adopting a health and safety setback of 2500 feet between the homes and vulnerable sectors and the drilling sites.  Alicia first started organizing on oil related issues in Wilmington in an accountability campaign against the former Texaco refinery, now Andeavor, after it exploded, causing health and environmental harm to many Wilmington residents.  Alicia  has been an organizer for many years and has also worked on economic justice issues in Los Angeles related to Port truck drivers and to get community benefit agreements for local commercial projects.


Julia May, Senior Scientist, Communities for a Better Environment
Julia May started as an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley in the early 80’s, later moving to the non-profit world. In the late 80’s she joined Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), an Environmental Justice organization in California, where she has worked for over 30 years. She focused particularly on oil refinery pollution prevention and renewable electricity planning. Julia works with others at CBE to make obscure technical information accessible and usable in community efforts. Julia is grateful to work with CBE organizers and community members in extremely pollution-impacted communities of color. “Technical information is key in pollution prevention, but it falls on deaf ears of decisionmakers unless you have People Power and deep community connection to push for changes.” CBE is focusing now on energy transition to phase out fossil fuels, protect community health, avoid catastrophic climate change, and build community power and participation.


May 12, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT
Free – $20.00
Event Categories:



AIA|LA Commitee On The Environment (COTE)
View Organizer Website