Bill Caplan, Assoc. AIA

Author: “THWART CLIMATE CHANGE NOW: Reducing Embodied Carbon Brick by Brick”

With an engineer’s understanding of sustainability, a 34-year career in high-technology, and an architecture degree, Bill Caplan has researched building design and construction from an environmental perspective for more than a decade. With a sober look at efforts to contain global warming, he contrasted designers’ claims with their ecological veracity, highlighting the proliferation of ‘gratuitous’ green design and the public’s delusion with all things labeled “green” or “sustainable”.

Caplan’s tenure at the multi-national instrumentation company he founded spanned high technology projects from the U.S. Space and Defense programs to decoding the human genome. In 2006, he shifted focus to the built environment, enrolling in Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Architecture. As global warming accelerated over the ensuing years, emissions generated by the built environment—both embodied and operating—became his primary focus.

Bill Caplan holds a Master of Architecture from the Pratt Institute Graduate School of Architecture, and a Materials Engineering degree from Cornell University College of Engineering. Before publishing “Thwart Climate Change Now” in 2021, Caplan authored “Buildings Are for People: Human Ecological Design” (2016), a holistic approach to sustainably designed user- and community-friendly buildings, and “Contrast 21c: People & Places” (2018), a photographic essay about people and places in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, their rural/urban disparities and struggles adapting to a 21st-century environment.

He has presented webinars on embodied carbon in the built environment to the Environmental Law Institute in 2022 and 2023, was a panelist at Pratt School of Architecture’s 2022 Decarbonization Symposium, presented the AIA CES Course “Reducing Embodied Carbon, to Reduce Global Warming”, and guest lectured at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, Cornell’s College of Engineering and to the architecture profession. Bill is currently working to shape embodied carbon policy and legislation.


Anna Dyson

Professor of Architecture, Yale

Anna Dyson is the Hines Professor of Architecture and Founding Director of the Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture (Yale CEA), a professional and academic research initiative focusing on accelerating the deployment of transformational low carbon and regenerative technologies into the built environment, for energy, water and air management systems. Dyson led the recent Global ABC UN Report on Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future. She conducts interdisciplinary research teams funded by UNEP, EPA, NSF, US DOE among others, and has received awards for pedagogy, including for most innovative academic program (ACADIA) and the Award of Excellence from the USGBC. Dyson holds numerous international patents and has exhibited her work at international venues such as the MoMA, the World Future Energy Summit, The National Building Museum, and The Center for Architecture.


Ida Clair

State Architect for the Division of the State Architect

Ida Clair was appointed to State Architect by Gov. Newsom in April 2021.  

She began serving as acting State Architect in January 2019. She concurrently served as Principal Architect for the Division of the State Architect, where she managed the accessibility, sustainability, and fire & life safety programs for public K-12 schools and community colleges, directed CALGreen and Access Code regulatory development, and administered the Certified Access Specialist (CASp) Program. 

Prior to that, she served as the CASp Program’s first technical administrator where she established the program’s professional practice standards and provides examination and training development.

 Ida has twenty-six years’ experience in private architectural practice where she specialized in affordable and sustainable multifamily residential facilities, and provided accessibility compliance surveys and third-party plan reviews. As a certified access specialist, Ida was instrumental in the creation of the Certified Access Specialist Institute in 2010.  

Clair has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California and is a registered architect.  


Wil V. Srubar III, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Wil Srubar is an associate professor of civil and architectural engineering and materials science at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he leads the Living Materials Laboratory. Dr. Srubar holds a PhD from Stanford University, as well as BS and MS degrees from Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin, respectively. His research integrates biology with polymer science and cement chemistry to create low-carbon, biomimetic, and living material technologies for the built environment. To date, his laboratory has received >$13M in sponsored research funding through the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL), ARPA-E, and DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, and he is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award. He has authored >100 technical journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings, and his work has been highlighted in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post. He is a co-founder of three startup companies, Prometheus Materials, Minus Materials, and Aureus Earth, and he remains actively involved in leadership positions for the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the American Ceramic Society’s Cements Division, and ASCE’s Architectural Engineering Institute.


Nurit Katz

Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA

Nurit Katz is an educator and sustainability professional who cares deeply about creating a sustainable, resilient, and healthy region for all Angelenos.

As Chief Sustainability Officer for UCLA, Nurit Katz led the development of the university’s first comprehensive sustainability plan and fosters collaboration across the leading public university to advance sustainability through education, research, operations, and community partnerships. For six years Ms. Katz also served as Executive Officer for Facilities Management. Nurit has over 15 years of teaching experience and is an Instructor for the UCLA Extension Sustainability Certificate Program. She has also taught for the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability and prior to UCLA worked in environmental and outdoor education.

Ms. Katz currently serves as Commissioner on the Board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). She has served in a number of public sector and non-profit advisory capacities including on the LA 100 Advisory Group, Los Angeles County Climate Vulnerability Assessment Technical Advisory Committee and the Resilient Infrastructure Working Group for Resilient LA. She currently serves on the Biodiversity Expert Council for the City of Los Angeles, and the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Areas Steering Committee.

Ms. Katz holds an MBA and a Masters in Public Policy from the UCLA, and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA and was a Trainee in the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) Innovation at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) program.

Nurit enjoys wildlife photography and urban ecology research and serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Los Angeles Raptor Study, a community science-based study of nesting raptors, supported by Friends of Griffith Park.


Don Davies, PE, SE
Co-Founder/Principal – Davies-Crooks Associates

An industry champion for the promotion of urban density and low-carbon construction. He helped found the Carbon Leadership Forum, Building Transparency, and the MKA Foundation. Don is currently leading the ClimateWorks Low Carbon Concrete Task Force, is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, and has been inducted into the UC Berkeley Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

The past president of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, his structurally designed projects are in 18 countries and more than 50 major metropolitan centers. More than 25 are Performance Based Seismic Designed towers.


Pablo La Roche Ph.D. LEED AP BD+C Assoc AIA

Principal & Sustainable Design Services Director, ARCADIS

Pablo La Roche is a Principal & Sustainable Design Services Director at ARCADIS, where he leads the Architecture and Urbanism division’s sustainability initiatives and works on projects worldwide. He is also a tenured Professor of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, where he teaches sustainability and design courses. Pablo holds a Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles and has authored over 150 technical papers and books, including “Carbon Neutral Architectural Design,” with a third edition scheduled for 2024, and book chapters, including one in the 2022 Routledge Manual on Thermal Comfort. Pablo has been a technical reviewer of numerous conferences and journals, chaired the Passive Low Energy Architecture PLEA 2016 conference in Los Angeles, and is past president of the Society of Building Science Educators, SBSE. His awards include the Fulbright by the US Department of State, the Chancellors Scholarship from UCLA, the IMPACT Award from the USGBC, and the NCARB Grand Prize.


Jan Top

Attache, Netherlands Consulate General, San Francisco

Jan Top is an attache for Infrastructure and Water Management working with the Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco. He is trained as an architect at the Technical University in Delft (Netherlands) and has a passion for sustainability topics and especially how these land into our built environment. In his role as attache he is determined on strengthening the relationship (policy and trade exchange) between the Netherlands and the US (with a specific focus on the US West Coast) on projects and topics related to water management, circular economy and smart, green and urban mobility. Jan has played a leading role in building strategic partnerships between both public and private entities in respective countries. 

The above mentioned topics involve three major transitions the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is working on:

  1. The Netherlands is a country below sea level. Climate change is exacerbating the challenges linked to living below sea level. Therefore the Netherlands is determined to protect the coastal zones as well as watersheds and rivers. 
  2. The Netherlands focuses on using materials more efficiently and to use less raw materials in general. In 2050 the aim is to be fully circular.
  3. The Netherlands continues to work to ensure optimal accessibility which is vital to maintain its role as logistical hub and trade nation.

International collaboration and exchange in that respect is key to be able to establish the goals pertaining to these three transitions. 


Sophie Pennetier

Associate Director with Enclos and Adjunct Faculty with SCI-Arc

Sophie Pennetier is a structural engineer with expertise in façades and sustainability. Her 17 years’ experience spans from consulting (with RFR, GNA, SHoP Construction, Arup) to contracting (with Enclos). Adjunct Faculty with SCI-Arc since ‘21, Sophie Pennetier teaches Structures and Embodied Carbon classes. Those two topics, alongside façades, are the core of her contributions to SCI-Arc Design Development projects.

Sophie’s elective class on embodied carbon responds to her students’ request to accelerate their knowledge in reducing upfront carbon. It supports their research projects on circular architecture, and brings in internationally recognized industry trailblazers, involved in policy, sustainability consulting, manufacturing, contracting and circular economy. Her students’ work on embodied carbon has been applauded and sought after by major architecture and consulting firms and industry associations such as the Carbon Leadership Forum. Through such efforts, each year upward of a hundred SCI-Arc students learn to grow the innovative and creative thinking the industry needs to address the built environment leading contribution to climate change.

Sophie has published and presented her research internationally in scientific conferences, trade associations and journals, codes committees, and lectured at universities in Europe and the US. Serving on the Board of Directors of the Façade Tectonics Institute, she has developed the FTI Carbon group research and grown its educational content. In 2023 she was awarded, in the individual category, the US Glass Sustainability Award for her contributions to industry research and education.


Sarah Neff

Head of ESG, Lendlease Americas

Sara Neff is the Head of ESG, Lendlease Americas, where she provides leadership and management oversight in developing, implementing and driving Lendlease’s corporate sustainability framework in the Americas region. Prior to that role, she served as Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. Under her leadership, Kilroy has been recognized as a leader among publicly traded real estate companies on sustainability in the Americas by GRESB for seven of the last eight years as well as being recognized by NAREIT, and achieved carbon neutral operations at the end of 2020. She is a LEED Fellow and holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.


Ben Stapleton

Executive Director, U.S. Green Building Council – Los Angeles

Ben Stapleton is an LA native who brings a creative mind and consultative approach to a wide range of projects with a focus on building teams and designing programs to deliver impactful results. His current work is based on coordinating an ecosystem leveraging the built environment as the entry point and connective fabric to help create a more sustainable society for all as Executive Director for the U.S. Green Building Council – Los Angeles.

In his time at USGBC-LA, he has strengthened the foundation of this leading, membership based sustainability organization while creating a team culture and developing a portfolio of community engagement and education focused programming centered on climate justice, high performance buildings, occupant health, corporate sustainability and regional resilience; establishing talent development and a people first philosophy as the pillars of the brand.

Previously, he launched and then managed the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA while leading operations, finance, and major program initiatives for the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). The Campus has become an epicenter for sustainability in the region and an iconic green building for the City of LA, featuring events with prominent thought leaders, while being home to a community of cutting-edge businesses and nonprofits. During his time at LACI, the team worked with 80+ companies to raise $225M+ in funding, create 1,800+ jobs, and deliver $400M+ in long-term economic value for the City of LA.

His other work has included real estate advisory, energy efficiency consulting, facilities operations, site selection, and project management as well as business and strategy development for a wide range of companies and real estate investors. He serves on a number of boards where his talents and insight have proven invaluable in managing, negotiating, and executing on complex real estate projects while delivering technology startups and community engagement programs that exceed expectations.

He is a recipient of JLL’s distinctive Da Vinci Award for Innovation, the Los Angeles Business Council’s Community Impact Award, Stratiscope’s Impact Maker to Watch Award, and CoStar’s Power Broker designation in the Los Angeles market.


Kathy Berg, AIA

Partner, ZGF Architects LLP

Kathy Berg’s secret to finding equilibrium in her work is a keen ability to listen: to clients, nature, and everywhere in between. Inspired by a love of the great outdoors and building craft, her approach balances conservation, resource-efficiency, and human performance to achieve beautiful designs. From a net-zero building in one of the country’s coldest climate zones to the first structure pursuing full Living Building certification in Portland, Ore., Kathy designs first-of-their-kind, high-performance spaces that push the boundaries of possible.


Celia Hoag, PE, BEMP, TRUE Advisor

Regional Sustainability Leader

Celia Hoag serves as the Sustainability Leader for Southern California and Arizona regions at DPR Construction, where she brings over 17 years of experience in implementing sustainable solutions in the built environment. With expertise in sustainable energy sources, adaptive building reuse and construction processes, Celia has a deep understanding of integrating sustainability into projects. As a licensed professional engineer and subject matter expert in building science and high-performance design, she offers a unique perspective on client challenges and adoption barriers in the construction industry.

Celia has spearheaded various sustainability initiatives at DPR, including promoting a zero-waste culture through salvageability analysis, source separation of construction waste, and waste reduction education. She also leads the single-use plastic-free jobsite initiative, aiming to save over 5 million plastic bottles from polluting the ocean. In addition to her sustainability efforts, Celia champions diversity, equity, and inclusion within DPR, serving as the co-lead of the company’s women in construction employee resource group (‘BuildHer’) which has the vision to create an environment where women feel safe and respected to be their whole self and thrive. In 2023, Celia was listed as San Diego Business Journal’s Women of Influence in Construction honoree and more recently, was named in Engineering News-Record (ENR)’s 2024 Top Your Professional for California.