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PM Breakout Sessions

PM Breakout Sessions

Click on each presenters name below to view their bio.

Hillberry A - Breakout Room

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Session Title: Connecting LEED and ENERGY STAR: Stronger Together

Presenter: Steve Christensen - Commissioning Provider at Catalyst Partners

In order to achieve LEED for Homes Single Family or Multifamily Low Rise certification, projects must "complete all mandatory measures of ENERGY STAR for Homes version 3" but there is no requirement to fully certify. The new 45L tax credit for all ENERGY STAR certified projects financially incentivizes the certification and has sparked interest in the program from LEED professionals and developers. With this opportunity, LEED Consultants should be promoting the benefits of double certifying. On close examination, it is easy to see that that every LEED for Homes project should certify ENERGY STAR and every ENERGY STAR Home should certify LEED for Homes. The ENERGY STAR Homes and Multifamily New Construction programs provide updated and clear documentation, additional quality assurance, and robust technical and marketing resources. All of these are in service to maximizing energy efficiency without compromising occupant health. But, at the end of the day, ENERGY STAR is primarily an energy efficiency program and does not significantly address all the pillars of sustainable construction. LEED for Homes provides guidance on all the pillars of sustainable construction, not just energy efficiency. LEED comes with its own catalog of resources and marketing tools. Adding LEED certification to an ENERGY STAR project will ensure that every aspect of sustainable construction is considered, incorporated, and verified. The result for the end user is a truly sustainable dwelling that has been verified by the best programs available.

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Session Title: Community-Centered Research for Environmental Health: Volatile Organic Chemicals in Detroit

Presenters: Rahul Mitra, Associate Professor, Superfund Research Program CLEAR at WSU

Lyke Thompson, Professor and Director, Center for Urban Studies at WSU

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes, and in the subsurface of post-industrial cities like Detroit. They emanate from landfills, brown fields and Superfund sites, contaminating shallow soils and groundwater below residential, commercial and industrial properties. Even as exposure to VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde, has been linked to adverse birth and developmental outcomes, Detroit has the highest preterm birth rate in the country at 15.2%. This suggests that, given the surplus of contaminated sites in Detroit, testing for VOCs and engaging broader audiences about their health impact is crucial. Our team will share best practices of how we accomplish this task: 1) creating a Community Advisory Board with key leaders and experts; 2) organizing home visits in collaboration with homeowners to obtain testing samples; 3) facilitating community forums where citizens can talk with researchers; 4) and by using graphic recordings to explain the research being undertaken to detect VOCs and learn how they impact community health.

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Session Title: Adaptive Reuse: a stealth, and meaningful, sustainable projects approach.

Presenters: Marta Gazda-Auskalnis, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP,  SEED; Associate and Project Manager at SmithGroup

Dan Kinkead, AIA, NCARB; Principal, Director for National Urban Design Practice at SmithGroup

What do the following projects have in common? They are: The Checker Cab, Detroit; The Metropolitan Building, Detroit; LinkedIn Detroit Regional Headquarters, Detroit; Flint Journal Building, Flint; Second Avenue Greenway Planning Project, Detroit. They all hold a tremendous amount of social history and meaning to folks who grew up in the neighborhoods. They have also become catalysts for redevelopment and are recognizable anchors that hold the history and hope of these neighborhoods. Often, neighborhood-based organizations have a challenging time establishing a physical home for their members. Existing buildings, often in disrepair or with a significant amount of deferred maintenance, are considered as assets by lenders. Renovating them, as funding becomes available, or with initially significant effort followed by strategic additional investments over time, can provide a much less intimidating and sound investment strategy for such organizations. And it helps with acceptance from folks who are long term residents of such neighborhoods, who often see a tremendous value in re-invigorating a formerly beloved building and bringing a new life to it.

Hillberry B - Breakout Room

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Session Title: Saving Detroit Homes with Adaptive Reuse

Presenter: Jason Lindy and Eric Douglas at King Street Block

The goal of the project for 967 King is to slow the rate of demolition of historic housing stock from the city of Detroit’s Land Bank by demonstrating that properties on the Land Bank’s Demo List can be saved through creative adaptive reuse. By deconstructing the siding and clapboards of the home’s southern face and rebuilding as an enclosed greenhouse we were able to rebuild and rehabilitate those areas that were so damaged the land bank considered the property a lost cause without needing to remill those historic materials or attempt to source exact matches. In this way the home was reduced in footprint from a 3 bedroom home to a one bedroom. The half of the property where the materials were removed were then reclad with clear sheeting so that the home may also serve as a passively heated semi-sunken vertical farm. Inside this section we will be employing techniques such as earthen plaster and other sustainably sourced materials. This process of deconstructing a home can be applied to a number of distressed historic housing types all the way down to simply preserving the foundation. Other examples of this type of construction abound in Detroit as we will discuss and we believe this preservation technique will save the embodied energy held within the thousands of foundations, sewer lines, and electric lines, historic lumber and finishes of the thousands of properties currently slated for demolition by the City of Detroit.


Session Title: Energize via Circular Economics

Presenter: Kyle Ritchie, Consulting Team Lead at Catalyst Partners

During this presentation, the audience will explore how embracing the circular economy can stimulate new opportunities for development through innovative business models. The circular economy represents the industry’s graduation from the traditional “sustainable” approach, to a financially secure and regenerative one. By understanding and implementing circular economy principles, design teams, owners and other businesses can unlock a multitude of operational benefits while elevating the communities in which their projects live. The concept of the circular economy is rooted in the idea of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible, and regenerating natural systems. It challenges the status quo by promoting a shift away from the "take, make, waste" model, by encourages the reuse, repair, repurposing, and recycling of products and materials throughout their lifecycle. This holistic approach aims to maximize resource efficiency, eliminate waste generation, and create a closed-loop system where resources are continuously cycled back into the economy.

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Ballroom - Breakout Room

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Session Title: Addressing Food Waste at Wayne State University

Presenter: Gwendolyn Schmidt, Office of Campus Sustainability at WSU

With every event we start out what is able to be properly composted in different settings, back yard compost bins, larger operations such as ours at Georgia Street Community Collective and industrial composting operations. Next, we will speak on how we address food waste in different settings such as on campus dining where we get larger amounts of food waste at a time. Contamination is addressed right in the beginning with employee trainings with the student works and chefs present in each dining hall. We also provide off campus food partners with training for staff and update as needed with concerns about contamination. Past just campus, we work with Georgia Street Community Collective and FoodPLUS Detroit to address educational efforts among youth groups and community members. We will share successes and struggles of the program and how we address these as college students operating a whole campus initiative.

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Session Title: Detroit Land Lab

Presenter: Lisa DuRussel, RLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect + Assistant Professor of Practice at UM-Ann Arbor School for Environment and Sustainability

Tanya Stephens, Director of Land Stewardship at Detroit Vacant Land CDC

Navigating the various government programs for vacant land purchase/acquisition in Detroit can be overwhelming and intimidating, often resulting in confusion and frustration. As a proactive approach to this community-wide predicament, the Detroit Land Lab project aims to provide resources for residents on how to attain and transform vacant land through processes already in place by the Detroit Land Bank, support with design techniques and development of plot-plans, and brainstorm the iteration of creative land use projects. By laying out these programs and other helpful land-use resources, the goal is to champion lasting, sustainable change and impact, collaboratively mobilize neighborhood residents, encourage community empowerment, and place land back in the hands of Detroit residents. This presentation will share the work of Detroit Land Lab and provide useful tools for attendees to use in their own communities.

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Session Title: The Gordie Howe International Bridge – Energizing Southwest Detroit

Presenter: Stephanie Campeau, Senior Director Stakeholder and Community Relations at Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

A community-driven approach has been paramount in shaping features on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, one of North America’s largest infrastructure projects valued at $5.7 billion (CDN). Join Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority to discuss the development and implementation of the project Community Benefits Plan that is providing positive outcomes for the neighbourhoods closest to the project including Delray, Detroit, Michigan. The session will highlight the process taken to ensure this major infrastructure project is leveraged to deliver a host of tailored benefits to adjacent communities and will share outcomes and ideas on the consultation process and innovative initiatives undertaken to date.

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