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2014 New York State Green Building Conference
March 27-28, 2014
The Oncenter, Syracuse, NY

Keynote Speakers

dan reicher

Tedd Benson

Tedd Benson, founder of Bensonwood, an organization recognized as a designer and builder of energy-efficient timberframe and hybrid high-performance homes and commercial buildings across the US and Canada. This includes a LEED Platinum, Net-Zero home in Maine and a Passive Home in Vermont that does not require a furnace.

Since the founding of Bensonwood in 1974, the company has built over 700 timberframe homes and commercial structures. They focus on implementing innovative ideas toward better building strategies for high-performance and sustainable structures. Benson has authored four seminal books on timberframing and has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, and This Old House; in addition to articles in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Builder Magazine and more.


alexs wilson

Anthony Ingraffea

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Cornell University, is part of The Solutions Project, a collaboration of scientists, business leaders, and cultural influencers to accelerate the transition to a future where we only use renewable energy sources. Research at Stanford, UC Davis, and Cornell demonstrates that the US can meet its energy demand nearly entirely from renewable energy sources.

Lunch Speaker

dan reicher

Lloyd Kass

Lloyd Kass is the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA’s) Director of BuildSmart NY, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s initiative for accelerating clean energy and energy efficiency in buildings operated by the State of New York, with a 20% energy use reduction mandated by 2020. Mr. Kass is an 22-year veteran of state and local government and the private sector, who has focused on deployment of large, publicly funded energy efficiency and capital programs in New York. Before joining NYPA a little over a year ago, he spent 4 years in consulting, implementing major energy efficiency programs in the NYC metro region, with Con Edison, PSE&G, and NYSERDA. Before that, Mr. Kass spent 11 years with in NY City government; this included a 5 year stint as energy director of New York City Housing Authority, rolling out energy efficiency initiatives at thousands of publicly-operated multifamily housing buildings. Mr. Kass is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University, instructing graduate students in public administration and environmental policy.


Concurrent Session Speakers

James V. Blount

James V. Blount, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a laboratory programming and planning architect, a principal leader behind Ellenzweig's innovative sustainable design practice devoted to architecture for the sciences; Jim is a founding board member of the New England Chapter of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and has been involved in the programming, planning, and design of over two million square feet of space for scientific research and teaching. A particular area of interest and expertise is the exploration and development of innovative sustainable design solutions for research facilities. In acknowledgment of that expertise, he has participated on laboratory safety committees, developed laboratory planning and safety standards, contributed to laboratory project budget development and cost control for numerous clients, and served as an invited speaker at many national and international forums addressing laboratory and sustainable design.

Lauren Brust

Lauren Brust, Director of SWA’s Commercial Building Energy Services, is responsible for the business development and client management for the group. She oversees green and high performance building projects in existing commercial buildings. Ms. Brust specializes in supervising sustainable capital plan development, energy management strategy and energy auditing in commercial spaces, including offices, schools, healthcare facilities and industrial facilities. She is also well-versed in identifying and working with incentive and compliance programs along the East Coast. Under her leadership, SWA’s Commercial Building Energy Services team has also worked with owners and building managers to assess the feasibility of achieving LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance™ certification at properties throughout the Northeast states, totaling over 20 million sf.

Michael Burnetter

Michael Burnetter is a senior energy engineer and was appointed to be Chairman of the Green Construction Code of New York State Technical Subcommittee during 2012 in addition to working full time in the Energy Services Unit of the Codes Division.  He was elected to serve five years on the International Energy Conservation Code Development Committee from 2000 - 2005 and the New York Energy Technical Subcommittee from 1999 - 2012 to synergize a model code with New York’s transition to a most advanced Energy Conservation Construction Code today in the nation.  Developed numerous policy initiatives within the Energy Services Unit of the Division of Code Enforcement and Administration since the Energy Services Unit became responsible for administering the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code. Currently providing extensive outreach and support to customers, consumers, code officials, and all building professionals on key details of energy systems and savings.

Chris Carbone

Chris Carbone is passionate about bio-based building materials, especially wood.   As an undergraduate at Dartmouth College his interest in sustainability and the built environment strengthened as he studied environmental science, art, architecture, and engineering science.  His love of the New Hampshire forests led him to Bensonwood after graduate school and he has been there ever since helping the team develop carbon negative solutions for structures and enclosures.  He obtained his Engineering license in 2008, and joined the company stewards in 2009.  He loves collaborating with Architects, builders, and others to create durable wood based buildings.


James A. D'Aloisio

James A. (Jim) D'Aloisio is a Principal with Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt, a structural engineering, landscape architecture, and building envelope services firm in Syracuse, NY. A graduate of RPI, Mr. D'Aloisio is a Professional Engineer, Certified by the Structural Engineering Certification Board (SECB), a LEED Accredited Professional and a GPRO (Green Professionals Contractor Training) instructor. Jim’s chair of the Structural Engineering Institute Sustainability Committee. Jim's a principal investigator for the Pankow Foundation-sponsored research project "Thermal Break Strategies for Cladding Systems in Building Structures." He’s a former Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council's New York Upstate Chapter, and has presented over 100 times.

Denis Darragh

Denis Darragh is responsible for the Forbo Flooring Systems operations in North America.   He is based in the North American headquarters location in Hazleton, PA.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Denny attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering.  After working in the electrical industry for twelve years, he joined Forbo November 1, 1995 as General Manager for the US flooring business.  Responsibility for Canada was added in 2000, Asia in 2007, and Australia/NZ in 2008.  He has recently focused his activities fulltime back in North America.

In his 30 years in the construction industry Denny has actively participated and supported numerous initiatives aimed at sustainability within the industry.

Maggie Edelstein

Maggie D. Edelstein is a landscape architect and certified arborist with more than fifteen years of experience in landscape design, project management, horticultural management, and cost estimating. She also serves as a sustainability consultant and LEED Administrator.

Michael Frisina

Michael Frisina is a LEED AP, BD&C and Project Job Captain for Dalpos Architects. He has coordinated LEED credentials for three major capital projects and has worked intimately with the Project Architect, MEP Consultants and Contractors on the design, coordination and implementation of sustainable technology systems for the University. Michael is responsible for Revit coordination of all Architectural, Structural and MEP systems during design and construction and implementation of changes to ensure proper construction and as-built models post-construction. He is also responsible for all BIM modeling and coordination of new lower-budget capital projects.

Kelsey Gnoinski

Kelsey Gnoinski is a Syracuse University alumnus with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. She has extensive experience in climate resilient site elements, with a focus in low impact design and redevelopment projects. Kelsey plays a leading role in Chazen’s sustainable design team, developing innovative stormwater solutions and helping to facilitate LEED certification for a wide variety of projects. Kelsey lives in Lake George, New York. In her spare time, she serves on the Board of Directors for Concerned for the Hungry, Inc., a non-profit providing food service programs to residents of Schenectady County.

Brenda Griffin

Brenda Griffin has over 20 years of experience in environment health and safety, and is currently launching the Construction Materials Management Center at the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions. A dynamic trainer, she’s taught thousands on material and waste handling, transportation, management, and disposal. While at Carrier, she drove continuous improvement by executing their LEAN-based Environmental Management system, receiving recognition for her facility from Carrier’s President. Using her acumen for start-ups, Ms. Griffin successfully launched businesses in consulting and the environmental lab industry using her aptitudes for business development, client relationships, and program management.

Joseph Hill

Joseph Hill, RA, is the Assistant Director for Energy Services for the New York State Department of State Building Standards and Codes Division. Joe has  three decades of experience in the fields of  construction management, design and design review in Architecture /Engineering in both the public and private sector. He has a wide diversity of professional design and design review experience in architectural, structural and HVAC systems. Joe has been with the Department of State Codes Division Technical Services Unit from 1999, through early 2007, has served on the Technical Subcommittee for the Residential Code of New York State (2007). Joe was appointed as the Administrator of the Energy Services Unit in February of 2007,and also as the Chair of the Energy Technical Subcommittee for the  Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State 2009, and again for 2012 . Joe is a registered architect and a certified code enforcement official.

Donald Leopold

Donald J. Leopold earned his Ph.D. in forest ecology from Purdue University in 1984 and joined the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY-ESF in August 1985. In 1998 he was promoted to Distinguished Teaching Professor; in 1999, he was awarded the first SUNY-ESF College Foundation Award for Exceptional Achievement in teaching. In 2004, he was given the SUNY Research Foundation Excellence in the Pursuit of Knowledge award, and in 2007 received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. Don has been Chair of his Department since February 2006. In March 2014, Don was selected as one of Purdue’s College of Agriculture Distinguished Agriculture Alumni. Don has published six books; four are major treatments of trees in North America. His fifth book, Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation (Timber Press, Portland, OR) was given the Garden Writers Association Silver Media Award for excellence in horticultural writings. In August 2009, he received the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association George L. Good Gold Medal of Horticulture Award for outstanding contributions to horticulture in the state of New York. Don has garnered nearly $35 million of extramural funding as principal or co-principal investigator. His research primarily focuses on the ecology of native plant species, examining drivers of diversity and rarity at micro to macro scales, the restoration of unique plant communities on alkaline industrial wastes in urban areas, and applications of this research to sustainable, urban landscapes and green solutions. 

Maureen Mahle

Maureen Mahle is an engineer and the Director of Sustainable Housing Services for Steven Winter Associates, Inc., a leading research and consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency and sustainable buildings. Maureen supports project teams seeking to comply with utility-sponsored energy efficiency incentive programs and national green building programs including the National Green Building Standard, LEED for Homes, and ENERGY STAR labels for single family and multifamily housing. Maureen has consulted on over 400 housing projects totaling 5,000 units in ten states.

Kath McCusker

Kath McCusker is a graduate of the green building master’s program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she worked benchmarked the energy consumption and carbon emissions for all campus buildings, and managed an in-house retro-commissioning pilot project. She is currently a Sustainability Analyst, helping clients achieve LEED and LBC certification.

Thomas Pelis

Thomas Pelis currently holds the position of Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning at Upstate.  His duties include the financial and technical management of all capital projects across the two campus university. In addition, Mr. Pelis is responsible for managing the university’s facility master plan which entails forecasting potential capital investments 5-10 years or more into the future. Over 37 years of design, construction and real estate development experience across several business sectors. Over his career, he has worked in the role of design professional, contractor and owner/developer prior to his current role at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Mr. Pelis is also Chair of the University’s Sustainability Task Force. In this capacity, he leads the sustainability program at Upstate and sets direction on sustainability goals for Upstate. Pelis is also responsible for the university’s parking operation which includes two campuses, three garages and about 4000 surface parking spaces. Mr. Pelis holds the position of corporate secretary for SUNY Upstate’s affiliate, Upstate Properties Development, Inc. and functions as the development and operations manager for the corporation. Mr. Pelis is also deeply engaged with the university’s minority and women owned supplier diversity program.

Eric Sanderson

Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)  and the author of “Mannahatta:  A Natural History of New York City” and “Terra Nova:  The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs.”

Jodi Smits Anderson

Jodi Smits Anderson is the Director of Sustainability Programs for DASNY, the Construction and Public Finance Authority of New York State.  She is an architect, LEED Accredited Professional in the Building Design + Construction specialty, AIA member, is the Chairman on the Board of the NY Upstate Chapter of the USGBC and serves as on the national board Chapter Steering Committee (until April 2014).   She has spoken throughout NY State on green building and sustainable choices, trained contractors, worked with a talented and knowledgeable committee on "Greening the Executive Mansion", and has spoken at Greenbuild in 2009 and has been an Albany TEDx speaker.   

Tim Tolland

Tim Toland, RLA, ASLA, LEED-AP, MLA, SUNY-ESF, 1998 Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry.  Tim’s research interests focus on applications of green infrastructure in difficult climates, with the goal of improving designer’s decision making processes by providing tested and proven information.  With a background in practice and degrees in both horticulture and design, Tim is able to bring together the issues of hardscape and softscape for the creation of innovative and enduring installations. His approach is interdisciplinary and inclusive, looking to make all participants active stakeholders in the design and implementation process.  

Russell Urban-Mead

Russell Urban-Mead, VP of Environmental Services at The Chazen Companies, initiated Chazen’s Climate Resilient Site Design for clients seeking to conserve the future value of built sites. As a former Town Board member, Mr. Urban-Mead understands the political and administrative challenges faced when communities seek to balance development and natural resources.  At the Chazen Companies, Russell specializes in water supply design, regional water resource consulting, property due diligence, and remediation. Using climate change models and geographic analysis, Mr. Urban-Mead has noted that eastern New York is a particularly advantaged water-rich region able to support population growth, specialty agriculture, and wet industries; he has argued that communities should therefore prepare for a “Saudi Arabia of Water” status with regional and site specific water and wastewater infrastructure.  Chazen specializes in municipal engineering, survey, site design, and planning services, and offers a full environmental dossier of ecological, wetland, remediation, water resource, safety training, regulatory compliance, and due diligence services.  Mr. Urban-Mead is an alumnus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and Carleton College (BA) in Geology/Hydrogeology and currently lives in Hyde Park, NY.


Cari Varner

Cari Varner is currently the Project Manager of the Finger Lakes Institute - Community Design Center and the Sustainable Community Development Program at Hobart & William Smith Colleges. The FLI-CDC is a community design center that strives to provide Finger Lakes communities with innovative, creative, and sustainable design solutions that improve the built environment and quality of life, while protecting the natural environment. In 2009, she was selected by the Design Futures Council as an Emerging Leader in Sustainable Design.

Sean Vormwald

Sean Vormwald is the director of sustainability and environmental health and safety at Onondaga Community College where he works with campus stakeholders to implement sustainability-related programs throughout the College. His role includes integrating sustainability into campus operations, encouraging sustainability-related curriculum development, and coordinating educational outreach programs. Prior to his position at Onondaga, Sean provided sustainability consulting services for municipal, non-profit, and business clients through his company, Sustainable Transitions Inc. He has also worked for several non-profit organizations where he managed environmentally-focused public outreach campaigns. Sean is currently a PhD student at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry studying environmental communication. He earned a master's degree in communications and a bachelor's degree in environmental studies at Ithaca College.

Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh is the Founder and Executive Director of the Healthy Building Network (HBN). Since 2000 HBN has been defining the leading edge of healthy building practices that increase transparency in the building products industry, reduce human exposures to chemicals in building products, and create market incentives for healthier innovations in manufacturing. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative. The HPD is the first open, standard format for reporting building product contents and associated health hazards. In 2012 Bill received the US Green Building Council’s Leadership In Advocacy Award and was named a Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts.

Bruce Wanlass

Bruce W. Wanlass has more than 30 years of experience in mechanical engineering with expertise in project management, design and construction management. The majority of his career has been devoted to design of mechanical systems for educational, municipal, healthcare, commercial and industrial projects.  His focus over the second half of his career has been on incorporating sustainability into all aspects of the projects he manages.

John Williams, Jr.

John Williams, Jr. is the Plumbing Control Supervisor for Onondaga County Water Environment Protection. He has 39 years experience in the heating and plumbing trade and served as the Code Enforcement Official for the Village of Camillus for 6 years.


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