Confronting the Climate Crisis
Micah Kotch & Fiona Cousins & Manvendra Singh Shekhawat & Elizabeth Thompson
WRLDCTY 2022: World

Over the last decade, great strides have been made in reducing the operational CO2 emissions of buildings. But even as we design buildings that perform better operationally, embodied carbon emissions arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, and disposal of building materials continue to grow – the production of cement alone is responsible for 8% of all global CO2 emissions. Meeting 2030 emission targets and driving down the whole-life carbon footprint of buildings will require radical changes in how we design, develop and build moving forward. This panel will discuss strategies and policies cities and developers implement to reduce embedded carbon and how we can work together to build a cleaner future.

About The Speakers
Micah Kotch
Managing Director, URBAN-X

Micha Kotch serves as Managing Director of URBAN-X by MINI and Urban Us. URBAN-X is the accelerator for startups reimagining city life. Before joining URBAN-X, Micah served as Director of NY Prize and Strategic Advisor for Innovation at NYSERDA.

Fiona Cousins
Americas Region Chair, Fellow, Group Board, Arup

Fiona Cousins is the Chair of the Americas Region at Arup. She is an Arup Fellow and a member of the Group Board. She specializes in working with a broad range of stakeholders to establish clear and decisive direction that supports project teams and organizations in achieving sustainable goals. She is deeply committed to improving the impact of Arup’s projects, using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a guide and brings a range of expertise to this commitment. Fiona is a mechanical engineer and sustainability consultant by profession and spent the early part of her career engaged in HVAC design with a specialization in high-performance design. She has led and delivered many complex interdisciplinary projects with multiple stakeholders. She has also engaged extensively with industry organizations specializing in sustainable outcomes, resilience, and design, as both a volunteer and strategic consultant.

Manvendra Singh Shekhawat
Managing Director, The MRS Group

Manvendra is a quintessential explorer, an “all-in” entrepreneur and a creator at heart. His fascination for distant lands, their heritage and extraordinary stories led him to establish boutique hotels; Suryagarh-Jaisalmer, Narendra Bhawan-Bikaner and Mary Budden Estate- Binsar.

In 2013 he formed an alliance with local communities of Rajasthan to address systemic problems of the region and founded, The Love foundation. Manvendra’s deepest quest is to understand and innovate on the ‘how to elevate living’ and so, he spends most of his time on the site of his sandbox project Dhun; a habitat designed for 8500 people, who seek community living, continuous learning and holistic well-being to maximise their truest potential. Over the last 8 years, with his team he has transformed 500 acres of barren land to a thriving ecosphere.

Elizabeth Thompson
VP, Customer Experience and LEED Support, USGBC

Elizabeth Thompson, VP, Customer Experience and LEED Support, USGBC
As Vice President of Customer Experience and LEED Support, Elizabeth Thompson collaborates to empower customers to utilize the expertise of USGBC to make informed and empowered choices that create a more sustainable and resilient world.

Elizabeth joined the USGBC in 2011, bringing 15 years of expertise in the practice of sustainable architecture, with a focus on schools, civic buildings, advocacy, sites, and modern homes. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, and a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia, both in architecture. Her favorite volunteer positions have involved teaching, community-based design, and serving on non-profit boards.

With her husband, she constructed a small home that has been featured on eco-tours. She is passionate about collaborative processes that create places of durable beauty where communities can thrive.

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