Green Schools Committee
John Diffenderfer, Principal, AEDIS
John is a Principal at AEDIS Architecture & Planning in San Jose and has 20+ years of California school design experience. John designed CA’s 1st Net-Zero Energy School and was a featured speaker at Greenbuild on Net-Zero Schools. He has overseen large and complex school construction programs, including an award winning project recognized by the City of San Jose's Green Star award.
Farah Wisssinger, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Sacramento City USD
Farah Wissinger received her master’s degree in Sustainable Building and has been connected with the construction industry for over 14 years, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Construction Management in 2001 from Colorado State University. While working at JE Dunn Construction, she was one of the first project managers to become LEED Accredited. After four years of work for JE Dunn, Farah decided to travel the world, visiting 17 countries and eventually landing in New Zealand where she worked for a general contractor. In 2007, Farah helped her company become leaders in the newly formed New Zealand Green Building Council. Her research while attending the CSU Construction Management Graduate Program focused on how teachers can use their school facilities to teach sustainability. She contributed to the development of building-focused sustainability clubs in seven Poudre School District K-12 green schools, engaging students with the built environment to help create awareness and reduce natural resource consumption. Farah has participated in a green school building audit for the America’s Greenest School Competition and has taught a summer energy conservation class to middle school students in Roaring Fork School District. She continues to help teachers develop building-focused sustainability clubs that connect building occupants to the built environment and help them gain a better understanding of how to reduce their impact on the natural environment. In 2011, Farah was selected as one of two Center for Green Schools UTC Fellows in the country and is working to help Sacramento City Unified School District. She manages a program called Project Green where student teams perform green school audits in order to develop recommendations to improve their learning environments. The first year of Project Green, $5,000,000 of redevelopment funds were allocated by the School Board to implement the student’s recommendation. After passing a bond in November of 2012, Project Green will be funding student recommendations at $1 million per year for the next five years. Farah also oversees construction for all of these projects.
Scott Watkins, Managing Partner, Buildaberg
Scott Watkins is Managing Partner of integrated green building consultancy Buildaberg and recently served on the staff of ChangeLab Solutions. In addition to his role leading the USGBC Sustainable Neighborhoods Committee, Scott is a core member of the USGBC’s California Council of Experts, a licensed California General Contractor, a LEED AP, an accredited urbanist, and previously enforced building code, permits and zoning regulation for the City of Alameda.
In all his capacities, Scott works to identify practical green building techniques that implement an integrated approach from design to operation. Scott views land use and development issues from the ground up, where one can take time to consider the human-scale impacts of planning strategies and decisions. Scott is a graduate of San Diego State University with a degree in Public Administration, with a city planning emphasis and a current student of Mills College, where he is earning two graduate degrees in public policy (MPP) and business administration (MBA).
David Jaber, Principal, inNative
David Jaber is Founder of inNative and serves as Director of Audits and Performance Evaluation with Blue Star Studio Inc. He has fifteen years of experience in assisting companies and communities with metrics tracking and benchmarking, product supply-chain analysis, greenhouse gas inventory and reduction strategy, and efficiency audits.
David has overseen over 150 waste reduction and energy efficiency site assessments in a wide range of food processing, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, office building and other settings. Previously, he served as Project Manager at Natural Logic, Inc, where work included building efficiency, food processing environmental excellence, and recycling consulting. David is a LEED O+M AP, and he works on grant-writing, community planning and related issues with tribal communities.
State Policy: San Francisco Advocacy Committee
Dennis Murphy (Chair)
Dennis Murphy is on a mission to cool and heat buildings at scale utilizing the vast thermal battery potential of the ground below our feet. As part of the founding team at Seasonal Energy, Inc., he is commercializing Smart Thermosiphon Array thermal storage technology for a variety of large-scale applications. With a career arc spanning design to demolition and data to heat networks, Dennis filled business development and executive roles at Potter Drilling and GroundSource Geo. At GroundSource, he led a team that won a Clean Tech Open Sustainability Award and produced the “Project Negatherm” research report for the California Energy Commission. Dennis is active in clean tech and energy efficiency policy, has been deeply involved in NCC Advocacy and is the founding and current chair of USGBC California.
Paul Wermer (NCC Representative)
Trained as a chemist, Paul’s focus on sustainable practices began while he managed materials development programs in the semiconductor industry. Work on environmentally related projects highlighted how significant both regulatory and market forces are in influencing business actions, and the power of advocacy in shaping both those forces. Following his interests, he joined Global Footprint Network as a senior scientist, where he applied the Ecological Footprint as a sustainability metric in a number of projects – and was astonished at the resource impacts of building and remodeling practices. This evolved into an interest in land use and green building practices. Paul has been active in USGBC-NCC’s State Advocacy activities since 2008.