Member Spotlight: Amy Cornelius

By LeAnne Harvey

Posted September 10, 2018

Our members are energetically contributing to sustainability initiatives in the Greater Philadelphia region, from green stormwater infrastructure to energy benchmarking to implementing sustainable design standards.

Green Building United Membership offers a range of benefits such as free happy hours, discounted tickets to our Sustainability Symposium, reduced prices for green building workshops, free webinars, and more! 


We chatted with Amy Cornelius, partner at GreenBeams, LLC, a full-service sustainability consulting and project management company, to learn more about why she became a member of Green Building United, as well as current projects and the sustainability topics on her mind.

Q: What are some of the green building projects and initiatives you are currently working on?

AC: I am working closely with St. Peter’s Church on Pine Street to implement sustainable operations practices in order to reduce their carbon footprint and eventually get to zero energy and zero waste. St. Peter’s wants to be known as the sustainable church in the city, and this starts with little things like changing how the church buys coffee cups, working with a composting company, etc.

I also manage an estate in Chester County, where we have just built a cottage that has almost achieved Passive House design standards. Previously, the property was suffering from flooding. We created a meadow to manage stormwater and serve as a demonstration site for other sustainability leaders interested in implementing green stormwater initiatives. Already, the meadow has helped reduce flooding and has become home to more than 15 different kinds of butterflies. What’s more, we are working with Stroud Water Research Center to examine the stream on the property and determine changes in water quality.


Q: Why is green building and sustainability important to you?

AC: My whole life I’ve been aware of the earth. My mother liked to focus on nature and I even started a recycling coalition as a little kid in order to encourage recycling in my neighborhood. Now, it’s very important to me that I leave the earth a better place for my great-grandchildren. I think it’s crucial that we stop and think about what we are doing today to support a healthy environment for the future two or three generations.


Q: Which sustainability topics do you feel are most pressing at this time?

AC: Waste is an important topic. We need to change the waste conversation to focus on recyclable materials as well as reframe the conversation around what waste is. We should relook at the way we manufacture things so they can be reused and repurposed instead of becoming waste. Additionally, we need to pay attention to green building retrofits. There are a lot of older buildings in the city, which creates a huge opportunity for sustainable retrofit work.


Q: What made you want to get involved with Green Building United and what has your experience been like so far?

AC: I really like the group of people at Green Building United. I have been a member since the organization started in 2002 and I’ve been very pleased with how the organization has continued to grow. I try to attend as many Green Building United events as possible and have learned a lot about various fields. There’s a lot of energy, excitement, and happiness in Green Building United!


To become a member or upgrade your membership package, visit our Membership page or email Leah Wirgau at


Amy Cornelius is a partner at GreenBeams, LLC, a full-service sustainability consulting and project management company, focused on helping residential, small business and institutional clients adopt sustainable lifestyles, landscapes and business practices while saving money and improving quality of life. She is LEED-AP, Living Building Challenge Ambassador, BPI-Building Analyst and Green Advantage certified as well as Passive House Consultant trained

Amy received her BA from Trinity College and her MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Design from the Boston Architectural College. Amy is committed to giving back to the community and is actively involved in the Advocacy Committee and in the Living Building Challenge and Passive House Communities at Green Building United and as a GSI Partner with the Sustainable Business Network. She is a stakeholder in developing the PA Solar Future plan and is a member of the City of Philadelphia’s Solid Waste Recycling Advisory Committee (SWRAC). 

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