As the A&E industry continues to focus on improving the energy performance of buildings, it’s clear that some energy saving measures are outside the designer’s control. Occupants play a significant role when it comes to the energy used. We engage users to discuss space needs, environmental and aesthetic desires, yet we often do not discuss users’ roles in energy use. Designers must recognize the role occupants have on energy use and adjust our design process accordingly. Join us for an exploration of how design teams can bring occupants into the conversation about energy, equipment and building usage to help improve energy efficiency and help net zero energy projects meet energy use targets. This session will discuss how user engagement was incorporated in the design process on case study projects including the net-zero energy capable school for the NYC School district and the proposed net-zero energy King Open and Cambridge Street Upper schools in Cambridge, MA.