Contact  |  Home  |  Member Log-In
Join the Chapter Make a Donation      Like USGBC-Illinois on Facebook  Follow USGBC-Illinois on Twitter  Join USGBC-Illinois on LinkedIn  Join USGBC-Illinois on Instagram

Just Approved: USGBC-Illinois NEW Strategic Plan

October 3, 2016



On behalf of the USGBC-Illinois Board of Directors and staff, we are excited to share with you our new four year strategic plan. You can read it here.

In crafting a bold new direction for the organization, the board was inspired by Paul Hawken’s new work around Project Drawdown. There was also a strong desire to bring the benefits of green building to more buildings and more people.

With that in mind, the plan includes three ambitious goals:

  • Engage 3,500 Chicago buildings in adopting one or more carbon drawdown strategies
  • Ally with partners in every Chicago community to advance resiliency and livability at neighborhood-scales
  • Train 30,000 to socialize and advance carbon drawdown strategies throughout Illinois.

This isn’t the first time USGBC-Illinois has set ambitious goals. Nearly 15 years ago, we set out to make LEED the premier green building rating system used in Illinois. Today, Illinois has the national distinction of having the most LEED square footage than any other state for three years running!

Most important to the success of the plan is the passion and expertise of sustainability-minded professionals like yourself. That’s why we hope you’ll consider taking this survey. It will help us better understand your interest in advancing sustainability in Illinois.

We hope, with your passion and expertise, you will help us build on Illinois’ reputation as a national sustainability leader by advancing no-regrets carbon drawdown strategies.

Download the epic plan here.


2017 Board of Directors Candidates Announced

October 12, 2016

Meet the candidates:

2017 USGBC Illinois Board Candidates  
Rand Ekman, HKSRand Ekman is Associate Principal and Chief Sustainability Officer at HKS Inc. Rand has a passion both sustainable projects and for driving broad-based, measurable change in our practices and our communities. This draws on a personal belief in rigor, doing the right thing and having fun.

Rand has a bachelors in philosophy from UCLA and a masters in architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. (Yes, philosophy, architecture and sustainability are related.) He has spoken at numerous conferences locally, nationally and globally and his work has been recognized by the USGBC, The Urban Land Institute, the Financial Times, and the AIA.

Rand has been active with the USGBC through education, advocacy and his professional work. This includes the LEED for Core and Shell Core Committee, the Regionalization Working Group, and the Market Advisory Committee from 2008 - 2014. He has helped the City of Chicago with policy and program development such as the Energy Benchmarking Ordinance, The O’Hare Modernization Program’s Sustainability Guidelines and the Green Permit Program.

Rand was the 2012 President of AIA Chicago, the 2015 Chair of the national AIA Committee on the Environment. With the DOE and the EPA, he has been deeply involved in developing the AIA’s 2030 Commitment reporting protocol and tool, the Design Data Exchange (DDx).

I am thrilled to commit to the USGBC Illinois’ Epic Challenge and the work of Carbon Drawdown.
Copyright 2012 Warren Perlstein Photography LLC

Copyright 2012 Warren Perlstein Photography LLC

Juanita Garcia, BIM for BetterJuanita Garcia founded BIM for Better to further the adoption of BIM and other technology in the collaboration of building design and construction. Juanita began her career in the industry designing mechanical systems for mechanical contractors. Juanita studied Psychology at Webster University Leiden in the Netherlands.

Juanita's USGBC volunteer work has focused on Emerging Professionals. As a Regional Recruitment Chair for Illinois and Indiana, awarded the Green Sprout Award from the Illinois chapter in 2013. Sharing her best practices in outreach strategies meeting student groups and presenting on LEED and Green Building Careers at Student conferences led to a national role as Strategic Initiatives Chair for the Emerging Professionals National Committee. Most recently she served as an ADVANCE Ambassador. ADVANCE is a framework to increase access to resources and expertise for new, underserved and underrepresented audiences. Through a series of launch events and follow-through activities, community partner organizations work collaboratively with the USGBC community to advance energy, resource and health performance in the places they occupy. Her work facilitating workshops for new audiences led to her work with Project Exploration, developing and teaching a STEM curriculum to students throughout the city in the context of green building. Juanita is excited to share her experience in curriculum design and outreach to new audiences as the chapter works toward the Epic Challenge.

Juanita, along with her co-host, Bryant Williams, share the stories of environmentalists of color on the podcast Shades of Green Chicago.
susan-heinkingSusan Heinking, Pepper Construction CompanyA LEED Fellow and licensed architect, Susan has over a decade of experience designing and managing sustainability projects and program initiatives. Her many areas of involvement include Chicago's Energy Benchmarking Ordinance, the AIA2030 Chicago Working Group, co-chairing Chicago's AIA COTE knowledge group, participating in RETROFIT Chicago and working with the Chicago Biomimicry Group.

Susan leads Pepper's High Performance Group which includes expanding the company's sustainability efforts to fully embrace the high performance aspects of both building and human performance by utilizing energy modeling, ROI analysis, local utility incentives, Pepper's "Nothing Hits the Floor" program and promoting the use of healthy materials.
Among her past accomplishments, she founded VOA’s first sustainability market, +IMPACT, which focused on advancing green theory. She guided an international company through three building certification rating systems including Living Building Challenge, LEED, and the Well Building Standard, never before attempted.

Susan currently serves on the USGBC Illinois Board of Directors and is an active presenter at multiple sustainable conventions. Susan was named to ENR's 20 under 40 and BDC's 40 under 40 lists.
Susan Helmer, Merritt Connect, Inc.Susan Helmer, principal at Merritt Connect, Inc., provides consulting services to firms in the energy efficiency and sustainability sectors. Among Susan’s areas of expertise is working with utility companies and other organizations to implement energy efficiency projects in commercial real estate and healthcare.
She also co-founded and runs CommonGround, an annual working conference focused on innovation and organizational change for highly experienced sustainability professionals in corporate, higher education, government, and non-profit organizations. Susan’s background is in engineering and financial planning.

I enjoy mentoring and often volunteer to meet one-on-one with those looking to join the sustainability field, either just out of school or through a career or job change.
I’ve been an active member of USGBC-IL since passing the LEED Green Associate exam and joining in 2012. I am a strong advocate for chapter membership to people I mentor and will continue to do so as a board member.

I relish the opportunity to use my strengths on behalf of the chapter, especially in the areas of expanding membership numbers and diversity.
Also, I believe that my current experience working with many Chicago groups in the energy efficiency field will be helpful with the chapter’s Epic Challenge Strategy Two (leverage/promote existing energy challenge programs) and
Strategy Three (advocate new energy efficiency policy).
aejAaron Joseph , Woodlawn Ventures II LLCAaron Joseph is a real estate developer and consultant focused on acquisitions, marketing/business development, and public-private partnerships. Aaron has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of real estate including design and construction, finance and investing, and government and community relations.

Aaron served as Deputy Sustainability Officer in the Office of the Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the City of Chicago. For the first term of the administration, he was a senior advisor on partnerships, policy, and programs related to sustainability, infrastructure resilience, and clean technology. Previous to his role with the City of Chicago, Aaron worked in real estate banking in finance. Aaron started his career as an engineering consultant and designer with Environmental Systems Design in Chicago.

Aaron earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship, and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED-AP).

kranz_headshot-2Karen Kranz, Independent Marketing Strategy ConsultingKaren Kranz is an accomplished, strategic marketing executive with extensive experience developing innovative, large-scale marketing and communications solutions for global clients across a breadth of industries, Karen’s strength lies in her ability to identify scalable opportunities for growth.

Karen seeks opportunities to help clients better leverage growth opportunities with a comprehensive understanding of user and stakeholder experience journeys. Synthesizing complex information and developing actionable industry, brand and user insights, she delivers compelling narratives, and helps clients and colleagues understand a brand’s potential in the context of important long-term trends.

Her recent accomplishments include repositioning a Canadian brand for its US expansion, resulting in a ten percent increase in sales. Karen also helped brands including Baxter, Wilson Global Tennis and Virgin Health understand user and stakeholder relationships for their brands. She has a strong interest in leveraging her strategic and managerial strengths with companies that are committed to sustainable strategies.

In addition to her extensive professional experience, she is currently a Master’s candidate in Environmental Management and Sustainability at the Stuart School of Business at IIT. Other academic credentials include a Master’s Degree in Design from Institute of Design at IIT and a Master’s Degree in Advertising Research and Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana.

A life-long learner, Karen enjoys immersing herself in other cultures through her extensive global travel to countries in Asia, North Africa, Europe and across North America.
kk2016-headshotKeelan Kaiser, Judson UniversityKeelan Kaiser is an architect and educator with extensive experience in green building principles and practices. He has been involved in multiple green building and LEED projects both as an architect and LEED AP, BD+C, and as an owners representative. He has participated in the Chicago AIA 2030 Commitment working group and is an advisor to the Fox Valley Sustainability Network. He is a former Chair of the Department of Architecture at Judson University and a lead faculty member in the Sustainable Design graduate school concentration.
patricia-lloydPatricia Lloyd, Leopardo Companies, Inc.Patricia Lloyd , Sustainability Manager at Leopardo Companies, is an award-winning project coordinator and sustainability advocate, Lloyd has over 15 years of cumulative construction industry experience, along with over ten years of experience coordinating LEED projects. She currently serves as the secretary of the USGBC-IL Board of Directors, is an active member of the USGBC-IL Green Schools Advocacy Committee, and also serves on the chapters Community Engagement Committee. She is a LEED BD+C Accredited Professional and GPRO Certified Instructor and holds a BS in Environmental Management.
jeremy-manion-headshotJeremy Manion, Office Depot My mission is to understand sustainability challenges and help design resilient systems and organizations that advance holistic innovation. At Office Depot, I help customers and strategic partners responsibly purchase goods and services, reduce waste, and be more conscious of their triple bottom line.

I am a Sustaining Partner and Member of the U.S. Green Building Council - Illinois Chapter. Additionally, I Co-Chair the Chapter’s Emerging Professionals Committee to help bring new EPs into the sustainability revolution and share my experiences of learning how to integrate sustainability into any professional job function.

I am a Member of CommonGround Chicago which is a cross-sector, collaborative group of sustainability practitioners focused on using organizational design to integrate sustainability into core business innovation.

In 2013, I participated in NEXT, a Foresight Design Initiative Professional Development Program. “Foresight NEXT is designed for corporate professionals motivated to gain comprehension of sustainability issues across business and the economy.” I earned a BA in Political Science from Indiana University.
dhruti-patelDhruti Patel, Goby Inc.Dhruti received her Bachelors of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and her Masters in Energy Engineering at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She started her professional path within the power industry as a structural engineer designing power plants and then disrupted her career to work within the field of sustainability. Now, she is an Energy Engineer for Goby Inc., a sustainability technology firm head-quartered in the Chicago loop. Dhruti works with the commercial real estate, retail and multifamily resident industries to reduce building energy consumption. In 2015, she was recognized as Chicago Scholars’ 35 under 35 Young Professionals Making an Impact, and was the youngest member to serve on the Global Collaborative Engagement Advisory Group for USGBC. While serving on the group, Dhruti worked with the Director of Global Community Engagement to create a volunteer engagement platform called Engage. Currently, Dhruti is a graduate mentor at UIC Energy Initiative and is researching retail energy efficiency models for small businesses. She is also a strategic volunteer with the Illinois chapter and steps in on projects on an as-needed basis. She is also an advocate for science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education and strives to be an instigator for her passions, intellections and vision.
alicia-ponce-2014dec-01Alicia Ponce, APMonarch LLCAlicia Ponce-Nuñez is the founder and principal of APMonarch LLC. Since founding the company in 2007, Alicia's experience has offered support to a large number of residential, commercial and organizational clients through design and education. Her approach is to listen, engage and deploy in order to create beautiful learning laboratories that respond positively to our environment.
aryn2Aryn Shaw, Kimball OfficeAryn Shaw is the Market Sales Manager for Kimball Office, where she provides furniture and design solutions for commercial interiors while developing and expanding the Chicago market. She has over 15 years of experience in the commercial design community with roles in Business Development, Sales, Design/Specification and Project Management. Aryn also has an extensive history with furniture dealerships in the form of bid ideation/formation, corporate event planning and marketing/branding campaigns.

Aryn often works on LEED projects aligned with Kimball Office, as they have been implementing sustainability practices for over 40 years and continue to act as an agent of sustainable change in the design/build realm.

Throughout the past few years as a USGBC-IL member, Aryn has actively volunteered as a Special Events Volunteer, a member of the Membership Task Force and is currently putting her skills to work as co-chair of the Membership Working Group formed as part of the Community Engagement Committee.

Aside from her passion and commitment to the USGBC-IL Chapter, Aryn currently co-chairs the River North Business Association’s Marketing Committee. She has spoken on several Commercial Real Estate panels in Chicago, as an expert on space planning and move management in relation to furniture, design and sustainability.

Aryn is collaborative in nature and excels while participating in, directing and motivating cross-functional teams. Personally and professionally, Aryn is committed to the principles and practices of sustainability. She is enthusiastic about the opportunity to drive the Epic Challenge into further avenues of success while impacting Chicago Communities.
tonielli-photoRick Tonielli, ComEdRick Tonielli is a Senior Energy Efficiency Program Manager at ComEd, where he directs the ComEd Retro-Commissioning and Monitoring-Based Commissioning programs. Under his leadership, the program has grown to serve a wide range of commercial buildings, and been recognized as an Exemplary Program by ACEEE. He also oversees marketing and outreach to commercial real estate customers, and leads ComEd’s support for the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative. He is a frequent speaker at outreach events and industry conferences on ComEd programs and marketing activities.

Rick began his career as an environmental engineer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office. In that role, he worked with state agencies, public interest groups, and affected industries to implement federal Clean Air Act mandates. He was also involved in analysis of state-led emission trading programs. After leaving EPA, he held roles in engineering, product management, marketing, and corporate strategy at AT&T.

Rick is a LEED AP and holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as well as a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois. He has two daughters and enjoys biking, volleyball, and singing in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago.

USGBC-Illinois Releases Annual Report

May 27, 2016

Our 2016 annual report highlights the impact of our unique network of volunteers, members and donors have made in advancing the latest in sustainable technology and design in Illinois. Check it out here

In addition to reporting on our fiscal health, the report features events like the GreenBuilt Home Tour, our partnerships to advance energy benchmarking and the difference community service projects, like the annual Green Apple Day of Service, have made.

Building on this success, we’re embarking on new grassroots initiatives to bring sustainability strategies to into every neighborhood. We plan to promote and support the implementation of no-regrets carbon drawdown strategies in Chicago’s neighborhoods while at the same time fostering livability and resiliency.

To read more about our work, download the full annual report on our website here.

Join the Green Group Savings Program

January 25, 2015

The Chapter has partnered with Office Depot® GreenerOffice™ on our exciting Green Group Savings Program.  Chapter Members, Sponsors and Supporters can enjoy deep discounts for their sustainable office supplies and more!  Take advantage of the large catalog of savings as an individual or enroll the entire office.

Scroll down and click the register for savings button to start saving on sustainable office products and supplies.

green savings jeremy


Join the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition

March 23, 2015

Check out the new Green School Investment Guide

October 25, 2013

The Green Schools Investment Guide for Healthy, Efficient and Inspiring Learning Spaces is a free downloadable resource for K-12 schools and communities that demonstrates how schools can implement healthy and resource-efficient building improvements.

Learn more at

USGBC – Illinois Event Planning Tools

March 8, 2012

The USGBC – Illinois Branch Event Planning webpage is your one‐stop‐shop for all you need to know to plan a successful event. Please distribute this web link to any Branch or Committee volunteers involved in the event planning process.

The Event Planning Form (link below) is the single most important document in the event planning process. This form must be complete and submitted to Chapter Staff at least 30 days prior to event. Failure to submit on time may result in event cancellation due to insufficient time to properly promote and obtain credits.

The tools in the bullets below provide further guidance on how to complete the Event Planning Form as well as additional event planning assistance.

Chapter staff are always available to assist you in planning your event, but we hope the tools above help to streamline communications and the event planning process. Feedback is always appreciated!

Happy Event Planning!

Brian, Katie, Joan  and Liz

House Joint Resolution 45 LEED Task Force Report

March 30, 2011

Moving toward a sustainable future for Illinois Schools.

View the entire HJR45 LEED Task Force Report.

Read the 97th General Assembly Legislative Update and Monthly Spotlight March 2011 from our State & Local Government Committee where this report is highlighted and other important legislation is reviewed.

House Joint Resolution 45 (HJR 45), spear-headed by Representative Karen May (IL House of Representative, 58th District), was adopted by both the Illinois House and Senate on May 28, 2009 and October 29, 2009, respectively. The resolution created the HJR 45 LEED Task Force comprised of a member (or designee) from both parties of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, representatives from several state agencies (DCEO, ISBE, CDB, and the Governor’s office), and led by the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter (USGBC – Illinois).

The Task Force was charged with authoring a report to recommend programmatic, financial, and other resources that can foster sustainability initiatives on a larger scale in Illinois schools.

The USGBC – Illinois Chapter Advocacy Committee and Branch Chairs along with Doug Widener, Chapter Executive Director and Paige Finnegan, Board Chair traveled to Springfield this week for Advocacy Day.  At a reception for the Illinois General Assembly along with other task force partners, this report was officially released.

For more information about this report, contact Doug Widener of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter at (312) 245-8300.

HJR45 Chapter Advocacy
Twenty percent of America goes to school every day. We spend almost 90% of our time indoors, and for one out of every five of us (more than 60 million people) much of that time is in school buildings. There are more than 130,000 schools in this country and each one can be better places to teach and learn through its natural and built environment.

Green schools save energy, water and money – hundreds of thousands of dollars each year – that can be reinvested in teachers, technology and textbooks. Improvements such as cleaner indoor air and increased access to daylight not only support the health and well-being of our kids and teachers, they raise academic performance and reduce absentee rates. The school facilities themselves can function as living laboratories to foster environmental literacy and support a generation of environmental stewards.

Illinois has some of the finest examples in the nation of high performance facilities and sustainable school programs. Some of this can be credited to the individual initiative of a teacher, administrator, board member, or student. Others have benefited from grassroots level community engagement. Most of these results can be linked to a policy.  There is still work to be done, however, with schools reporting nearly $10 billion of capital needs for new schools, building additions, and general repair work for the next two years. It is through policy enhancement that the groundwork that has been laid for sustainability in Illinois’ schools can be shared on a much broader scale by all schools in the state. This is where members of the 97th General Assembly can find common cause and look to the following for additional policy enhancement opportunities..more.

HJR 45 LEED Task Force Members/Acknowledgements
Special thanks to the HJR 45 Task Force Members. Without the dedication and leadership of the individuals below the Task Force’s work and this report would not be possible.
Task Force Appointed Members:
Representative Karen May, Illinois House of Representatives, 58h District, individual appointed by the
Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
Representative Robert Pritchard, Illinois House of Representatives, 70th District, individual appointed
by the Minority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives
Christopher Dillion, Campbell Coyle Holdings, LLC, individual appointed by the President of the Illinois
Daniel Bulley, Mechanical Contractors Association, individual appointed by the Minority Leader of the
Illinois Senate
Karen Shoup, Illinois State Board of Education, individual appointed by the State Superintendent of
Eric Heineman, Office of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, individual, appointed by the Governor, from the
Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council
Lisa Mattingly, Illinois Capital Development Board, individual appointed by the Executive Director of
the Capital Development Board
Kate Tomford, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, individual appointed by
the Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Doug Widener, U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter, individual appointed by the Chair of the
U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter, who shall serve as the Chair of the Task Force
Task Force Additional Members
Mike Waldinger, AIA-Illinois
Mark Bishop, Healthy Schools Campaign
Stuart Brodsky, Cannon Design, Co-Chair USGBC-Illinois Green Schools Committee
Doc Kotecki, Energy Systems Group, Co-Chair USGBC-Illinois Green Schools Committee
Joseph Clair, Illinois Institute of Technology, former Board Chair, USGBC-Illinois
Ruth Harris, Adopt-A-School Program consultant,