Smart Tech for Energy Efficiency & Low Carbon Emissions in the Built Environment

Friday, Jan 15, 2021

More than half of greenhouse gas emissions come from commercial, industrial, and large residential buildings. Thermal electrification & connected buildings are considered a key pathway for achieving carbon neutrality. There are four primary strategies for large building decarbonization:

  • applying deep energy retrofits/planning energy efficiency measures into new buildings
  • procuring or producing renewable energy
  • shifting to all-electrification for space heating, cooling, hot water to non-fossil fuels (assuming a clean energy grid)
  • zero net carbon standards for all building codes

We will ask questions such as

  • Why are buildings so energy intensive?
  • How can energy efficiency in buildings and a cut in CO2 emissions be achieved with new technologies?
  • What partners need to sit at the same table to achieve a comprehensive energy and low-carbon transition in the built environment?

and discuss these pathways and technologies with our panel of industry representatives moderated by Kent Larson, the Director of the City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab.

Date:  Friday, January 15th, 2020

Time: 12PM to 1PM

Platform:  Zoom Meeting


  • Kent Larson, Director City Science, MIT Media Lab (Moderator)
  • Ben Thompson, Director of Sustainable Business, Autodesk
  • Andrew Krenning, Zone Solutions Director, Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Register via the Link below. You will receive an Email with the Zoom link before the Event.

This is the third in a series of monthly “Smart Cities” virtual events leading up to our German-American Economic Forum, now scheduled for Spring 2021. #GAEF2021

Kent Larson, Director City Science, MIT Media Lab

Kent Larson is Director of the City Science research group at the MIT Media LabBefore joining MIT full-time in 2000, he practiced architecture for 15 years in New York City. His research focuses on developing urban interventions that enable more entrepreneurial, livable, high-performance urban districts. Projects include advanced simulation and augmented reality for urban design, transformable micro-housing for millennials, mobility-on-demand systems that create alternatives to private automobiles, and urban living lab deployments in Hamburg, Helsinki, Andorra, Taipei, Shanghai, Toronto, and Guadalajara. He and the researchers from his MIT lab have twice received the “10-Year Impact Award” from Ubicomp: a “test of time” award for work that, with the benefit of that hindsight, has had the greatest impact. His book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in Architecture by the New York Times Review of Books. Larson’s TED talk, “Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city,” summarized his vision for cities in the future.

Ben Thompson, Director of Sustainable Business, Autodesk| Head of Employee Impact, Autodesk Foundation

Ben Thompson is director of sustainable business at Autodesk and head of employee impact for the Autodesk Foundation. In this role, Ben seeks to embed Autodesk’s vision of helping people make a better world across the company’s people, business processes, and products. For over a decade, Ben has driven business value with sustainability. Ben leads the team to incubate technology and market opportunities to help Autodesk’s customers win business and save money with sustainability across the architecture, engineering, and construction, and product design and manufacturing industries. Also managing Autodesk’s global sustainable operations and ESG teams and strategy, Ben has a track record of developing sustainability best practices and driving Autodesk’s leadership and performance. Milestones include achieving a 10-year science-based greenhouse gas reduction target, and implementing 100% renewable energy, integrated reporting, carbon pricing, and climate change policy advocacy. A founder of Autodesk’s Employee Impact program, Ben equips employees to amplify their impact at work, at home, and in the community through pro bono consulting, supporting their donations of time and money to important causes, and developing their skills to support Autodesk’s customers to make more, better, and with less negative impact. Prior to his work at Autodesk, Ben developed his passion for sustainability while consulting to Washington-state-based businesses, and drafting campaign plans for green jobs and energy legislation. Ben brings technology and operations expertise from his previous roles at Dolby Laboratories and Iris Distribution. You can often find him hiking and cycling at his home in the Bay Area. Ben is a regular speaker, writer, and contributor to industry sustainability standards. He currently sits on the board of the Bay Area Business Council on Climate Change. He holds a BA in Business from the University of Puget Sound.


Andrew Krenning, Zone Solutions Director Northeast, Siemens Smart Infrastructure

Andrew is currently a Solutions Director for Smart Buildings and Pre-Construction for Siemens Smart Infrastructure in the Northeast Zone.  Andrew is responsible for developing digital smart buildings integrated solutions across the Northeast. He has 15 years of experience in controls, automation, technology, integration and systems related to building operation and control.  Over the last 7 years, he has been working with Owners, Architects, Engineers and contractors on a number of projects doing pre-construction and pre-design services. During this time, Andrew has been involved in a number of different types of buildings including mixed use, campus, commercial office space, healthcare, higher education and critical environments.

Andrew received his degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology with a minor in Business from Northeastern University in Boston in 2006. He started his career at Siemens as co-op during his senior year and was hired full time as a control systems engineer. From there, Andrew has held other roles at Siemens including Field Project Engineer, Project Manager and Engineering Operations Manager for New England.


Presenting Sponsor of the Smart Cities virtual event series:

Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) is shaping the market for intelligent, adaptive infrastructure for today and the future. It addresses the pressing challenges of urbanization and climate change by connecting energy systems, buildings and industries. SI provides customers with a comprehensive end-to-end portfolio from a single source – with products, systems, solutions and services from the point of power generation all the way to consumption. With an increasingly digitalized ecosystem, it helps customers thrive and communities progress while contributing toward protecting the planet. SI creates environments that care. Siemens Smart Infrastructure has its global headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, and has around 72,000 employees worldwide.

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. Active around the world, the company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems and on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Siemens brings together the digital and physical worlds to benefit customers and society. Through Mobility, a leading supplier of intelligent mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is helping to shape the world market for passenger and freight services. Via its majority stake in the publicly listed company Siemens Healthineers, Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital health services. In addition, Siemens holds a minority stake in Siemens Energy, a global leader in the transmission and generation of electrical power that has been listed on the stock exchange since September 28, 2020. In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, the Siemens Group generated revenue of €58.5 billion and net income of €5.6 billion. As of September 30, 2019, the company had around 295,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations. Further information is available on the Internet at