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A Virtual Panel Discussion

Net Zero Carbon Design & Sustainable Architecture 

Thursday, 10 December 2020 at 10.30 am

Project Image: Oasis Academy, Coulsdon, Surrey.  Design by Sheppard Robson.

In this Q&A session, our guest speakers will discuss how architects and designers can create low carbon buildings and interiors, looking at low-embodied energy building design and construction, including sourcing materials.

With the UK Government setting a strategic goal of developing Net Zero Carbon buildings by 2050, architects and designers are required to take urgent, ambitious and immediate climate action towards decarbonising the built environment. Net zero carbon no longer refers only to a building’s operational use, but also to the design and construction stage, which can account for half or more of all carbon emissions. 


With a focus on the design of schools, our guest panel will discuss how sustainability should inform all elements of interior design and architecture in order to improve the whole life carbon footprint of a building and secure the environmental future of our planet.


The aim of the webinar is to highlight the definition of net zero carbon design and what architects and designers should consider when trying to adopt more sustainable approaches, offering insight, solutions and ideas to ensure the climate crisis is efficiently addressed.

The Panel

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Lee Bennett

Partner, Sheppard Robson Architects LLP

Lee is a Partner, Design Chair, and School Design Lead at Sheppard Robson. Recent projects include London Business School’s Sammy Ofer Centre at Old Marylebone Town Hall and the East London Science School.


Lee pioneered low-embodied energy building at the practice, with many schools and higher education projects designed in mass timber. He also teaches at Liverpool University and is an External Examiner at the AA.

Dr Sharon Wright

Senior Associate, the-learning-crowd

Sharon specialises in education capital projects and has particular expertise in strategy and brief development, options appraisal and stakeholder engagement.  Over the past 18 years, she has worked with education leaders, architects and contractors to create the best possible learning environments on a wide range of projects nationally and internationally. She speaks and writes regularly on school design issues and is co-editor and author of ‘Urban Schools: Designing for High Density’ (RIBA Publishing) which won the AJ100 Collaboration of the Year Award 2020.  

Sharon started her career in the Civil Service working on education and employment policy and was a Fellow in Organisational Development with OPM before becoming Managing Director of the not for profit company School Works. She is a Doctor in Education from King’s College London with a research interest in how schools relate to their communities. She is a Fellow of the RSA, a Fellow of the British American Project, a Member of the RIBA Validation Panel and on the Advisory Board of an Ofsted  Outstanding vocational dance school in west London.

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Mark Skelly

Director, Skelly and Couch Ltd

Mark is the founding and managing director of building services consultants Skelly & Couch Ltd.  Whilst classed an M&E engineer, Mark has a keen interest in building physics, the built environment, environmental psychology and building envelopes.  Over a 20 year career, he has gathered a broad range of experience in both the public and private education sector.  

Mark is a Design Council CABE Building Environment Expert and became a Royal Academy of Engineering Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath in 2010.  In 2015, he was awarded the IMechE Construction and Building Services Division Prize for contributions to the industry and he has acted as a design advisor to a number of public sector and private sector clients.    

Dr Stephen Finnegan

Zero Carbon Research Institute, Liverpool University School of Architecture

Stephen acts as Director of the Zero Carbon Research Institute - working with industry to help the UK Government achieve its goal of developing Net Zero Carbon (NZC) buildings by 2050. In addition, he is a lecturer in Sustainable Architecture, leading on NZC design. His research investigates the whole life sustainability and financial aspects of sustainable buildings. He has 25 years+ experience in sustainability in construction and operation, having previously worked for KPMG LLP, AEA Technology, Arup and the European Commission. Stephen has several academic publications relating to sustainable design, embodied carbon impact, life cycle planning and operation and has presented his research work in the US, India and across Europe at various international conferences and events. Stephen currently supervising 5 PhD students and has recently published a Taylor and Francis book entitled "New Financial Strategies for Sustainable Buildings".


Presenting sponsor

East London Science School by Sheppard R

Virtual Event

Net Zero Carbon Design &

Sustainable Architecture 

Thursday, 10 December 2020 at 10.30 am

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