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AM Breakout Sessions


PM Breakout Sessions

Hillberry A - Breakout Room

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Is Choosing Green Costing You Green?

Presenter: Ann Dougherty, General Manager of Sustainability with Roppe

The end user, who invests a lot of money to fit out a facility, is looking at what services the facility itself will receive within its lifecycle.  Facilities managers, designers, and product manufacturers need to be more up front about the actual environment in which the products will reside.  Facilities managers should be honest and truthful about what’s going to happen to the product. Product manufacturers need to be truthful about the limitations of their products.  Root cause of failure is not being honest about what’s going to happen to that product, or not being honest about the tolerances of the product.  A 10 year lifecycle is generally the least that is expected by the end user, mostly because of the cost that’s involved in taking these facilities out of operation to replace materials. We discuss three case studies, including Upholstery & Finish Furniture, Chemicals & Flooring, and Case good Furniture Design/Assemblies and failures and successes associated with each study.

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Lessons Learned in Municipal Sustainability Work

Presenter: Julie Lyons Bricker, LEED AP O+M from City of Royal Oak

Local governments can play an essential role in paving the path toward and implementing sustainability and net-zero carbon emissions initiatives, but navigating this work isn't always easy. This presentation will offer tips on how cities can get started on their sustainability and climate action journey. The City of Royal Oak will lean on its recent experience to provide ideas and lessons learned for developing a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory and sustainability and climate action plan.

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Resilient Eastside Initiative

Presenters: Tim Skrotzki, Ali Dirul and Ricky Ackerman from Elevate / Ryter Cooperative Industries/ Eastside Community Network


Led by Eastside Community Network and the City of Detroit Elevate and Ryter Cooperative Industries are building long-term community resilience by coordinating a network of critical service providers, city agencies and residents to: (1) Deepen community engagement and the integration of city and social services to widen the acceptance and availability of services across Detroit’s east side, especially among hard-to-reach and isolated residents, and those experiencing the greatest impacts of environmental racism, (2) Upgrade critical neighborhood facilities with solar, battery storage, and other resilient infrastructure improvements to ensure availability of critical resources and services anytime - during emergencies, during recovery from emergencies, and every day, (3) Strengthen community organizations by lowering their operating costs, expanding access to resources and information, and building their ability to expand their services and their reach.

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Importance of Social Equity

in Green Building Practices

Presenter: Angela A. Moore from Catalyst Partners

Social equity has always been a key component to sustainability. Over the last ten years, sustainable practices have become an integrated part of new and existing buildings. As green building projects begin to cover the urban landscape, measurable outcomes within the built environment have overshadowed qualitative outcomes such as social equity. With measurable outcomes playing such a large role in green building certifications and practices, the importance of social equity can get lost during the certification process. Sustainability professionals working within the built environment can equally advocate for and support social equity, while focusing on qualitative outcomes during the process of implementing green building certifications. This session will highlight strategies to integrate favorable quantitative and qualitative outcomes, without compromising social equity.

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Higher Purpose: How to maximize urban food streams

Presenter: Danielle Todd from Make Food Not Waste


Food waste reduction is a leading solution to climate change as well as an economic driver. And urban food streams present unique opportunities to make an impact while keeping resources local. In this talk, we'll discuss how Detroit can reduce the amount of landfilled food by adopting research-backed initiatives from across the U.S. and abroad. You'll learn how you can connect your professional work and personal life to this issue in ways that will greatly impact Detroit and how this work can lead to change in other urban areas.

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Elmwood Circle Forest: Habitat Restoration in the Shadow of Incineration

Presenter: Patrick Crouch, Detroit Future City


Communities in Detroit have both and excess of untended property, and lack of access to parks and recreation. How can these lots be transformed into an asset in a community instead of sites of illegal dumping. Learn about one example, Elmwood Circle Forest, which sits in the shadow of the incinerator on the Eastside of Detroit, can serve as a model for other communities to transform space in their community. Efforts are underway by Arboretum Detroit in partnership with Detroit Future City to transform 12 lots into habitat for native species, and a space for community members to relax, restore, and heal. When completed the site will feature ADA compliant walking paths, seating, children’s play areas, over 200 new trees planted, scores of native perennial species, and open prairie areas. The project seeks to connect people to the natural world and help to restore our relationship with the land.

Hillberry B - Breakout Room

AM Breakout Sessions

PM Breakout Sessions

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Detroit Recycles

Presenter: Madi Kraus, City of Detroit Department of Public Works

An overview of the recycling services the city provides, and our goals for the program as they move forward. The brief presentation will also allow for time for discussion about how the city should prioritize certain aspects of our initiative and gain feedback on what the audience would like to see.

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Talkin’ Trash – Solving the Challenges of Waste Diversion in Commercial Tenant Spaces

Presenter: Christopher Heine, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, SmithGroup 

The popularity and efficiency of composting and residential recycling programs in the State of Michigan have led to record high waste diversion rates across the state. However, when it comes to adopting these practices in the workplace, added costs, apathy and a lack of coordination between building owners and tenants has left a gap for those who wish to responsibly dispose of waste.


Two of Detroit’s leading architecture and engineering firms recently embarked on parallel paths of solving the challenges of waste diversion in commercial office buildings in the City. Using case studies from Gensler and SmithGroup, we will expose the barriers and challenges of coordinating recycling and composting programs in an office environment, while sharing lessons learned on bringing together owners, tenants, and building managers to realize the co-benefits of a multi-faceted waste diversion strategy

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Resilient Eastside Initiative

Presenters: Tammara Howard, What About Us Inc. and Belvidere Youth Block Club// Eastside Community Network

This presentation will highlight the Live, Learn, and Love community engagement project in the Goodstock neighborhood on the eastside of Detroit. This project is run by What About Us, Inc. and was started as part of the LEAP Sustainability Fellowship and seeks to build community sustainability, share resources, and provide a space for people to come together. The core values are dignity, integrity, commitment, respect, accountability, family, and love. At the Live, Learn, Love space, we have transformed 5 vacant lots into a vegetable and flower garden, community gathering space, and recreation area featuring horseshoes and putt putt golf. We are also building a neighborhood resource hub on one of the lots that will provide tutoring, GED training, and health programming. This presentation will focus on the importance of engagement, working together, and building relationships to promote both social and environmental wellbeing in our communities.

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Roof Top Oasis -

a Transformation

for Health & Wellness

Presenter: Joel Howrani Heeres, City of Detroit/ Public Sector Consultants

Improving the accessibility of resilience resources for vulnerable individuals requires that we meet them where they are at. Resilience hubs are respected and trusted community spaces where residents can go in normal times but also, due to solar and storage, in times of emergencies for access to supplies, power, cooling or heating, or camaraderie. In Detroit, we are building our first resilient Rec Center, the Lenox Rec Center. We are also partnering with community based orgs, such as Eastside Community Network and Brilliant Detroit to develop a network of resiliency hubs on the lower east side of Detroit. Coordinated emergency planning will enable these hubs to work together collectively and deliver the resources needed to the most vulnerable residents.

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All-Electric Home in Detroit

Presenter: Kendal Kuneman, Kendal Kuneman + Chris McTaggart, Dream DET, LLC

Hear the story of how a vacant 1925-built home on Detroit's west side purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority was carefully renovated to operate more efficiently than a newly built home. With support of the DTE All-Electric Affordable Homes Pilot program, the home achieved a HERS Index Score of 40, with an air infiltration rate of 2.26 ACH! Kendal Kuneman, the homeowner and General Contractor, whose immigrant Great-Grandparents from Russia and Ukraine once lived in this home, wanted to invest in the Warrendale community by renovating it to be resilient in the face of the climate crisis. Chris McTaggart from Dream DET, LLC was the DTE-approved HERS Rater who greatly supported Kendal on this project, as well as the ICF team that managed the DTE pilot program. This project was the first existing home to complete the requirements of the program. The two-family home will provide housing through the Detroit Refugee Network.

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Building for the Future with Efficient Capital | A Case Study of Development Done Right in Downtown Detroit

Presenters: Kyle Peczynski, Petros PACE Finance and Mark Bennett, MJ Bennett, PLLC


Commercial real estate developers are increasingly including environmental sustainability in their plans. Measures such as high-efficiency HVAC equipment and building envelopes, LED lighting, low-flow plumbing, EV charging stations, and stormwater treatment systems are frequently included in new construction projects. While long-term operating costs are reduced by installing these measures, they can lead to higher up-front costs – on top of all the other challenges in capitalizing large, complex projects. Thankfully there is a financing mechanism that allows developers to simultaneously build for the future while reducing their cost of capital today: Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, financing. Learn how one developer is using C-PACE in downtown Detroit to make investors, tenants, and the community proud.

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AM Breakout Sessions
PM Breakot Sessins

Ballroom - Breakout Room

AM Breakout Sessions

PM Breakout Sessions


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Detroit Recycles

Presenter: Brittany Fiema, PE, LEED Green Associate, and Francesca Price, PE, LEED Green Associate, SmithGroup

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House Visitor Center and Administration Building prove that prioritizing building energy performance does not require the sacrifice of architectural design excellence. Through careful coordination, the SmithGroup architecture and engineering teams were able to tackle this cultural design challenge through a holistic and integrated approach.


The Administration Building is designed to be net zero energy to prepare for future generations and honor the Fords’ vision of enhancing and sustaining the environment. Sloped gables and mansard roofs conceal photovoltaic arrays, and solar panels, natural ventilation, automatic blinds, geothermal, and other sustainable strategies allow the administration building to achieve net zero energy.


While focusing on connecting the past with the future, the project team designed the net zero energy Administration Building to be future-focused and honor the Fords’ vision of enhancing and sustaining the environment.


Cultivating Connections in the Goodstock Community

Presenter: Loretta Powell, Little Detroit Community Garden// Eastside Community Network

The Little Detroit Community Garden is a safe outdoor place to meet and greet, a place to sow and grow, a place to experience the beauty in our community. Our main purpose is to educate and cultivate the minds of all community members. Together, we have built multiple gardens, including flowers, vegetables, and stormwater management, as well as an outdoor community meeting space and gazebo. This presentation will focus on the development of this project and highlight lessons learned and surprises along the way. The presentation will also offer reflections on the importance of building relationships and creating safe, beautiful spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. What started as a project for the LEAP Sustainability Fellowship, has evolved into something much bigger, as a space to connect across communities and generations while beautifying and nourishing Detroit's Goodstock neighborhood.

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Detroit Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

Presenters: Ben Dueweke, Energy Waste Reduction Committee

The Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Committee of the Detroit Green Task has been actively leading efforts to pass an energy and water benchmarking and transparency ordinance in Detroit, which is a policy that requires a commercial building owner to report their building’s energy (and water) consumption annually to the local government. This policy is the foundation for future building performance policies in Detroit because it will provide baseline information about how buildings are performing and help establish effective programs to increase energy efficiency improvements in commercial and multifamily buildings. With this consistent and relevant market information on building energy and water performance, tenants, renters, occupants, and investors can make informed decisions. More efficient buildings mean owners and tenants can save money, businesses can reduce operating costs, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, and pollution that threatens our air and climate is reduced.

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Net Zero Now

Presenter: Najahyia Chinchilla, Gensler/A3C and Jan Culberston, Collaborative Architecture

Call to Action outlining why the building industry needs to aim for Net Zero Now to reach our shared climate goals. What is happening in the building industry to get us to a sustainable future- from codes to project examples.

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Promoting Equity Through Non-Motorized Transportation

Presenter: Idrees Mutahr, City of Detroit - General Services Department

The Joe Louis Greenway is a 27.5 mile greenway loop around the City of Detroit that will connect neighborhoods and parks, allowing residents to travel throughout the city on a combination of new trails, on street protected bike lanes, and existing trails like the Dequindre Cut and the Riverwalk. As a major piece of non-motorized transportation infrastructure, the greenway will offer Detroiters a comfortable route for traveling through the city in an affordable, healthy, and environmentally sustainable way. It will also offer new last-mile connections and improve access to transit for the 25% of Detroiters who do not have access to a car. This presentation will review some of the ways that quality public space and non-motorized transportation infrastructure can promote equity in the city of Detroit, and how we are incorporating those factors in our work on the Joe Louis Greenway.

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Wayne State University STEM Innovation Learning Center achieves LEED Gold

Presenters: Kyle Rieth, Catalyst Partners, and Chaderique Menard, NORR

The STEM Innovation Learning Center earned LEED Gold — WSU’s third — from the U.S. Green Building Council. In response to an increased demand for STEM courses, Wayne State started to construct the STEM Innovation Learning Center. The project was completed in June 2020 and involved completely transforming WSU’s existing seven-story facility, which was built in 1970 and first served as the Science and Engineering Library.


The STEM Innovation Learning Center was designed to bring university STEM programs under one roof. The facility features flexible classrooms, seminar spaces and offices, as well as a variety of high-tech, instructional laboratories. New maker-hacker spaces also offer students interdisciplinary exposure to develop their skill sets outside a traditional classroom setting. Construction was done using low-emitting paints, lighting, flooring and ceilings, compost collection sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality.

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