Power to the People: The Role of the Occupant in Maintaining a Sustainable, Energy Efficient Building

Matt Beecy, Johns Hopkins University
Bradford Crowley, Ballinger

Facility efficiency and maximized conservation opportunities requires innovative building design and architecture. However in many cases, success hinges on occupant cooperation. Technology is only as good as the human system in which it is implemented: some energy savings can only be realized when a system is in place for managing and utilizing infrastructure effectively. In this session, the design and construction of a state of the art teaching laboratory on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus will be explored not only through the lens of innovative infrastructure, but also the imperative of identifying and facilitating an accordant process to achieve full energy saving potential. In this case study, review of both the conceptual and concrete aspects of the recently completed Undergraduate Teachings Labs building will provide context on the multitude of sustainability features woven into the architectural framework, but the challenges and lessons learned when operation of that infrastructure becomes a decentralized, person-dependent program will also be outlined. Speakers will explore the mechanisms that made decommissioning at Johns Hopkins effective at the building level and transformational at the institutional one. Attendees will gain insight and guidance on how Johns Hopkins University staff were able to collaboratively define a process that worked for all stakeholders (researchers, lab managers, building managers, facilities management staff and campus sustainability and safety) as well as recommendations on how to identify and approach projects requiring dynamic, occupant interaction for success. Attendees will hear firsthand how various opportunities were seized as well as those that were missed and later recovered without dismissing or circumventing the concerns of the constituents the building aimed to serve.

Learning Objectives

  • Engage end users and operations staff throughout design, construction and post occupancy.
  • Optimize energy usage by showcasing technologies.
  • Facilitate conversations with sustainability and safety stakeholders early in the process to achieve shared goals that compliment operational needs.
  • Identify operational challenges in implementing new technologies to achieve design intent in coordination with supporting proper lab management.


A graduate of the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Matt Beecy worked as a consultant specializing in institution & hospital mechanical design for 11 years prior to joining Johns Hopkins University in 2011. He served as the University Mechanical Engineer from 2011-2014, & now serves as Associate Director of Engineering, Energy and Sustainability in the University's Plant Operations group. Mr. Beecy brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity in design and operations management.

Bradford Crowley specializes in campus infrastructure planning, life cycle cost analysis, HVAC design & energy analysis. His breadth of experience includes a range of projects & building types including research facilities, academic institutions, hospitals & corporate offices. His projects have been at the forefront in the application of high performing building technologies, and maintaining a focus to engineering for cost effectiveness and energy efficiency while maximizing flexibility.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).