2021 Sustainability Symposium

star CEUs pending

Fri, 9/17/2021

Penn State at the Navy Yard

Get ready for Green Building United's 11th Annual Sustainability Symposium! This year's conference focuses on equitable decarbonization.

Event Details & Registration


Penn State at The Navy Yard, 4960 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19112

Date and Time

Friday, 09/17/2021 - 8:00am - 4:30pm 
Happy Hour, Friday, 09/17/2021 - 4:30pm - 6:30pm (Happy Hour information TBA)


Early Bird Pricing 

Early bird: $100

Early Bird Members: $50

Regular Event Pricing 

Members: $150

Non-Members: $200 

Government/Non-Profit: $125 (government or non-profit email required during registration)

Tours: $10 each (in addition to Symposium registration) - Registration is separate.

Become a Green Building United member and save 50% on your Symposium registration!

If cost is a barrier, please contact Pat Ma.


We are optimistically anticipating hosting this conference LIVE at Penn State at the Navy Yard, and are taking every measure to ensure this can be done safely in accordance with CDC guidelines

Meet this year's virtual keynote!

Donnel Baird, Founder of BlocPower

donnel baird headshot small

BlocPower, a clean tech startup based in New York City, develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he received the Board of Overseers Fellowship and investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He was a political and community organizer and managed a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities.

Symposium Sessions

Thank you to everyone who submitted a session related to health, energy, and/or climate resilience in the built environment. Here is a list of this year's Symposium sessions. 

Understanding Philadelphia's Residential Energy Burden
This session will feature the findings from The Office of Sustainability’s energy burden focus groups held with 60 Philadelphians to inform the development of equitable energy policy.


  • Cheyenne Flores, City of Philadelphia, Office of Sustainability
  • Yeou-Rong Jih, Greenlink Analytics, Director of Urban Initiatives 
  • Christine Knapp, Director, City of Philadelphia, Office of Sustainability (moderator)

What Good Could Look Like
As part of an update to the region’s long-range plan, DVRPC developed exploratory scenarios for Greater Philadelphia. This session will explore these “alternate futures” and examine a Living Future scenario.


  • Brett Fusco, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Manager, long-range planning
  • Kendra Nelson, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Planning Associate
  • Christopher Lee, JacobsWyper Architects, Associate & Director of Sustainability
  • Amy Cornelius, GreenBeams, Sustainability Consultant (moderator)


Diverse Voices for Change – How Women Architects Investigate Various Certifications to Strive Towards Truly Regenerative Building Design
With the proliferation of so many new standards, it is important to find opportunities for synergies between them so that they can enhance one another.


  • Christina Assmann
  • Sangeetha Sambandam (moderator)


Operationalizing the Whole Life Cycle Carbon Approach
This session discusses the measurement and tracking of embodied carbon in existing and new structures. It also highlights new carbon-reducing policies that can support our communities’ long-term health and resilience.


  • Rahman Azari, Penn State University, Associate Professor and Director of R2E Lab
  • Cecilia Freeman, EwingCole, Interiors Resource Coordinator
  • Brian Smiley, HOK, Senior Project Architect
  • Esther Obonyo, Penn State University, Associate Professor and Global Building Network Director (moderator)


Health in Resilient Housing
COVID19 demonstrates that a resilient built environment must include healthy housing. This session shares cutting-edge research and an innovative vision for resilient buildings that empower healthier lifestyles.


  • Emma Raymont, MaGrann Associates, Director of Engineering
  • Ashish Mayer, Grimm and Parker Architecture, Vice President


Climate Activism Through Design
In this session, you will learn from the experiences of leaders who are tackling climate change from a variety of perspectives: engaging with clients and contractors to achieve deeply sustainable solutions, working with legislators to change code requirements, collaborating with communities to ensure all stakeholder voices are heard, and developing novel curricula to educate the next generation of designers.


  • Tya Winn
  • Angela Iraldi
  • Janki Vyas
  • Brian Smiley


Beyond Passive House – Equitable Decarbonization
As a collective of holistic-thinking Passive House Consultants, Passive to POSITIVE will share how we incorporate embodied carbon awareness into our work advising clients on a multitude of Passive House projects.


  • Michael Hindle, Passive to POSITIVE, Founder and Principal, MFA, CPHC
  • Esther Park, Passive to POSITIVE, Architect, AIA, LEED AP, CPHD
  • Christina Abmann, Passive to POSITIVE, Architect, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, CPHC


The Consequences of Sustainability Without Systemic Change
The session will outline some of the underlying racial, economic, and historical factors that act as built-in constraints to transformative change in the sustainability arena.


  • Jeffrey Richardson, Imani Energy, Inc., President/CEO


Healthy Building - Healthy People, Engineering Well-Being in the Built Environment
This presentation will explore how the intersection of health, equity, and environmental sustainability creates a new project framework that is focused on the overall well-being of the users.


  • Andrew Horning, Bala Consulting Engineers, Vice President
  • Matthew Ezold, Bala Consulting Engineers, Director of Digital Planning


Communicating successes to bolster organizational support
Perspectives from the City of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and sustainability consultant Samantha Wittchen on how communicating successes helps bolster organization support for sustainability initiatives.


  • Madeline Schuh, The City of Philadelphia, Senior Energy Management Analyst
  • Samantha Wittchen, iSpring, Principal
  • Nina Morris, The University of Pennsylvania, Sustainability Director
  • Dominic McGraw, The City of Philadelphia, Energy Manager (moderator)


Retrocommissioning: The Lever to Building Tune-Up Success
Building science and PECO engineering experts discuss how retro-commissioning can provide both energy and non-energy benefits to building owners in Philadelphia facing Building Tune-Up requirements in the coming months.


  • Mary Alcaraz, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Senior Project Manager, Facilities Project Management and Construction, PE, LC, LEED AP
  • Hadas Webb, Cimetrics, Inc., Managing Director of Analytics
  • Agbedi Akpednou, PECO Energy Efficiency Solutions, Engineer, Outreach Team Manager
  • Jeff Byers, PECO Energy, Senior Program Manager, Smart Business Solutions (moderator)


Diversifying a Diversity Organization - How Professional Women in Construction is pumping up the pipeline
Professional Women in Construction supports, advances, and connects women throughout the AEC industry. Hear how they are pumping up the program to diversify their organization so you can too.


  • Maki San Miguel Paulson, Verde Architecture Consulting LLC, Principal
  • Amee Farrell, Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, PC, Principal

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Presenting & Founding



Interested in sponsoring this year's conference? Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here or contact Pat Ma, at pma@greenbuildingunited.org

Symposium Committee 

Nick Aster | Shane Clark | Pat Coleman | Adam Cutler | Kate Flint | Alex Grella | Michele Halsell | Angela Iraldi | Patrick Isaac |  Bissy Larsson | David Lemons | Brendan McGrath | Mark Sanderson | Matt Thomas

Early Bird Registration

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

Enter your registered email address to receive password reset instructions:


Log in to your Green Building United account:

Reset Password