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PM Breakout Sessions

PM Breakout Sessions

Hillberry A - Breakout Room

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Session Title: Importance of Social Equity in Green Building Practices

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.

Danielle Todd.jfif

Session Title: Higher Purpose: How to maximize urban food streams

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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Session Title: Elmwood Circle Forest: Habitat Restoration in the Shadow of Incineration

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

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Session Title: Resilient Eastside Initiative

Elevate and Ryter Cooperative Industries in partnership with the City of Detroit and Eastside Community Network are building long-term community resilience by coordinating a network of critical service providers, city agencies and residents to: (1) Deepen community engagement through offering technical training for contractors to create jobs and lift up those experiencing the greatest impacts of environmental racism, (2) These jobs will support upgrading 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, and building their ability to expand their services and their reach. For more details check out the 'Improving Community Resiliency through Resilience Hub Networks' session during the morning breakout sessions

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Session Title: All-Electric Home in Detroit

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

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.

Ballroom - Breakout Room

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Session Title: Net Zero Now

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.

Idrees Mutahr.jfif

Session Title: Promoting Equity Through Non-Motorized Transportation

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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Session Title: Wayne State University STEM Innovation Learning Center achieves LEED Gold

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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