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Energy Planning in Higher Education

Energy Planning in Higher Education

According to the US Department of Energy, Better Buildings, the higher education sector spends over $6 billion on annual energy costs. This webinar will discuss the efforts made by colleges to reduce their energy consumption and increase their efficiency.

Lehigh University recently completed a new residential hall, Singleton, Hitch, Maida (SHM), and is currently constructing a new Health Science and Technology (HST) building that will be the home of the new College of Health and a new College of Business building.  All of these buildings are pursuing LEED certification (silver, gold, and silver respectively) and the HST building is also pursuing a Fitwel three-star certification.  During this webinar, Lehigh will discuss the energy features of both of these buildings as well as recent energy efficiency projects that have been completed across campus.

Millersville University recently completed a net-zero building on their campus. Shannon Kaplan of AKF Group will be discussing this project and the energy reduction strategies and challenges in designing and building this net-zero building.

Registration for this webinar is now closed.



Katharine Targett Gross
Sustainability Officer at Lehigh University

Katharine Targett Gross started as the Sustainability Officer at Lehigh University in September 2019. In this role, she creates, leads, and drives the vision for Lehigh’s sustainability agenda. Prior to her current role, Katharine was the Sustainability Program Manager in the Office of Sustainability for 3.5 years. Before coming to Lehigh in January 2016, Katharine spent almost five years in public service. She worked for U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper in Washington, DC as a Legislative Correspondent where she focused on environmental, energy, transportation, and agricultural policy issues. Subsequently, she worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey as a Senior Environmental Programs Specialist where she managed sustainability, energy efficiency, resiliency planning, and environmental compliance efforts for the agency.

Katharine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Environmental Studies from Franklin & Marshall College and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.


Douglas Spengel
Associate Director, Utilities and Engineering at Lehigh University

Doug Spengel has worked with Lehigh’s Facilities team for four years and in a similar capacity for a total of nineteen years. In his current role he supervises 14 Facilities employees that operate Lehigh’s two central heating and cooling plants and an electric distribution system. The team also performs energy-and water-efficiency projects. Doug is a member of the Lehigh Sustainability Council is working to implement the goals in a 10-year Sustainability Strategic Plan to further integrate sustainability into university operations. Doug previously worked in a different capacity as a contractor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assisting with regulatory development activities. Doug earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and an MBA. He is a licensed professional engineer, a LEED accredited professional, and a certified energy manager.


Shannon Kaplan
Operations at AKF Group

Shannon specializes in the design and analysis of high performance systems for buildings with an emphasis on ultra low-energy lighting systems, daylight harvesting, and on-site renewable energy. She has 20 years of experience, including experience on numerous high performance, net zero, and LEED Certified projects. Shannon works with clients to help them find ways to minimize energy usage in buildings and has helped develop innovative tools such as low energy building user guides to achieve energy goals. She works as a project manager, a project electrical engineer, a net zero energy consultant, and a charrette facilitator. She has a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Architectural Engineering from Penn State University and a Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. She is a licensed professional engineer in four states.