Builders Hootenanny


Alan Gibson

G O Logic LLC

Alan Gibson is a builder and partner in G O Logic LLC of Belfast, Maine, where he is chiefly responsible for construction operations. Since 2009 he has managed construction of three certified passive buildings and a 36-unit co-housing community built to near-passive standards, among other projects. The GO Home, completed in 2010, was the first certified passive house in Maine and recipient of the US Green Building Council’s Residential Project of the Year award in 2011.

Read Full Bio

Terrahaus, the country’s first passive house-certified dormitory, received the Evergreen Award from Eco-Structure magazine in 2012. Alan holds a BA from Brown University and is a Certified Passive House Builder and Certified Passive House Designer. He has been a business owner since 1992 and speaks widely on passive design and construction.


Natalie Leonard

P. Eng., Founding Partner

Natalie is the first Certified Passive House Consultant and Certified Passive House Builder in Canada. Her mission is to make sustainable, high-performance homes affordable for everyone. She leads the Passive Design Solutions team with a depth of experience in creating cost-effective, beautiful, and ultra-efficient homes. Natalie brings her engineering background, hands-on design and construction experience, and a practical approach to building.


Rob Leonard

Director of Safety and Education for F&S Building Innovations and Director of the Build Smart Institute,

Rob Leonard is the Director of Safety and Education for F&S Building Innovations and Director of the Build Smart Institute, a Construction Education Facility both located in Roanoke, Virginia. Rob has 38+ years in the construction industry including developing product, sales, marketing, project management, design / build, safety programming, field operations and field work as well as previously owning his own construction business. Rob’s experience includes a focus on building science, high performing buildings and improving how buildings are built and renovated. Rob is dedicated to sharing with others his overall construction knowledge as well as his expertise in better buildings and the building science field.

Read Full Bio

Rob’s certifications and accreditations include: State of Virginia DPOR Class “A” builder qualified; HERS Rater; Energy Star Rater; PHIUS+ (Passive House Rater); PHIUS+ Large Building Verifier; NAHB Certified Green Professional; Certified Lead Renovator; AED/ CPR & First Aid Certified; NSC Principles of Occupational Safety and Health Trained, OSHA #510 and #500 Certified; OTI OSHA Instructor; ACE Certified Personal Trainer; ACE Certified Health Coach and ACE Certified Senior Fitness Coach. Rob is involved with fundraising for multiple charitable organizations, enjoys spending time with his wife and family. Rob lives a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle in Franklin County, Virginia and participates in hiking, cycling, running, gardening and beekeeping.


Tim McDonald  (moderator)

Timothy McDonald is the President and CEO of Onion Flats LLC. Tim is a licensed architect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1997, with his brother Patrick, he co-founded Onion Flats LLC; a Philadelphia based real estate development/design/build firm. Tim has been an adjunct Professor of Architecture at Philadelphia University,Temple University, University of Calgary, and University of Pennsylvania.

Read Full Bio

His service and experience extends into his community by holding current positions in the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association Zoning Committee, the Philadelphia Sustainability Advisory Board, as well as a previous position on the Old City Civic Association Board of Directors. Tim is also Founder/President of FAARM, a non-profit organization dedicated solely to the exhibition of art and architecture in Philadelphia.

As a partner in Onion Flats, Tim’s role is Lead Architect and Construction Manager for many of Onion Flats’ projects. In 2005, Tim and his brothers Pat and John, in conjunction with Howard Steinberg formed the architecture firm Plumbob, LLC and JIG, Inc., a General Contracting, Construction Management and Green Roof company, allowing this team to provide full design-build services for both clients and their own developments. Additionally, Tim is a Certified LEED Accredited Professional and Passive House Certified Consultant and Tradesman.


Mike Steffen  (moderator)

Director of Innovation at Walsh Construction Co.

Mike Steffen is Director of Innovation at Walsh Construction Co., a mid-sized general contracting firm serving project partners in the multifamily housing, education and commercial sectors across the Pacific Northwest. Mike is an architect, builder and educator who is passionate about making better buildings that contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world. He obtained degrees in architecture from the University of Kansas and the University of California, Berkeley and is licensed to practice architecture in the state of California.

Read Full Bio

Mike has teamed with other committed professionals to bring a number of high performance buildings to life over the past two decades – including 115 PHIUS certified homes delivered to serve low income families in the PNW – with many more homes currently in various phases of design and construction. Delving into the minutiae of energy conservation and then translating that information into built reality. From this focus, he has participated in the design and construction of numerous groundbreaking projects across the US.


Educators Hootennany


Robert Arlt

Department of Architecture at South Dakota State University

Robert Arlt Architect is an award-winning architecture practice based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The studio focuses on design success through crafting performative architecture, integrating high performance strategies with contemporary architecture and fabrications in a setting not known for either. This pursuit has resulted in recognition for projects that rely on linking project research with concept designs and well executed materials, systems and details that often use inexpensive off-the-shelf products in new ways. 

Read Full Bio

The studio’s approach to architecture intends to integrate large and small scale components of design including light, color, function, landscape, materials, and low-carbon strategies to focus on how those aspects can impact the interface between users and the built environment. Custom interior fabrications and furnishings are often completed in-house. The studio also has experience in historic renovations, multifamily, institutional, and commercial/restaurant experience.   

Robert commits a large share of his time to academia, serving as a full-time instructor at the Department of Architecture at South Dakota State University teaching in the advanced design studios and building science sequences and is the principal investigator of the passive house initiative grant.


Alison Kwok

Professor of Architecture, University of Oregon

Alison Kwok, PhD, FAIA, CPHC is a professor of architecture and director of the NetZED Lab at the University of Oregon. Her research includes identifying adaptive and mitigation strategies for climate change, comfort/health in schools, net zero energy design, building performance case studies, and curricular innovation. She co-authored: Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings with Walter Grondzik (affectionately known as “MEEB”) a reference for building environmental control systems; The Green Studio Handbook with step-by-step procedures for integrating strategies; and Passive House Details, with UO Professor Donald Corner and CHPC/architect Jan Fillinger, containing numerous construction details, construction images, and case studies.


John Loercher

Northeast Projects

John Loercher is a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC), serves on the board for the Passive House Alliance US and is a Certified CPHC trainer. He is a Professor in the Architecture and Building Science programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY where he teaches the Building Performance II Design studio. He brings experience from his own consulting firm, Northeast Projects, including Residential, Multifamily and Commercial Certified Passive House projects.

 Charles Macbride_rd

Charles MacBride, AIA, NCARB  (moderator)

University of Texas at Arlington 

Charles MacBride is a registered architect and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. In his previous position at the South Dakota State University Department of Architecture, he initiated a self-sustaining program for the student design and construction of certified passive houses, resulting most recently in the award winning PH01:BRK / Passive House Brookings. This cross disciplinary scholarship anchored the development and accreditation for the new professional program in architecture at SDSU, where he also established curriculum, pedagogy, studio culture, and mentorship.

Read Full Bio

He co-founded the department’s Public Works program connecting students to underserved communities. MacBride has earned awards for teaching, research, design and master planning, including most recently a 2018 Sustainability Leadership and Innovation honor. He has also taught at Iowa State University and the University of Colorado Denver.


Mary Rogero  (moderator)

Chair, Dept. of Architecture and Interior Design, Miami University of Ohio

Mary Rogero is the Chair of the Department of Architecture and Interior Design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She has been a faculty member since 2009 and has taught all levels of studio and several history and theory seminars. In 2017, Mary started teaching the CPHC certification course to students and believes strongly in cultivating the next generation of diverse passive house practitioners.

Read Full Bio

Prior to teaching, Mary was a principal in the design firm of Rogero Buckman Architects for fifteen years, specializing in the adaptive reuse of older buildings. With her business partner, she developed a construction company to construct the firm’s designs and a development company to redevelop parts of the city of Dayton’s urban districts. Mary continues to practice with her firm Rogero Architects.


Cynthia Suarez


Cynthia Suarez, CPHC, LEED Associate is an emerging professional in architecture and currently works at Ubergreen Spaces & Homes as a designer and energy modeler. A tireless advocate for more representation of minorities in architecture, she volunteers with the Houston NOMA chapter on the Project Pipeline committee helping launch their inaugural camp in 2019. She also serves on the Women of Color Steering Committee for the AIA Houston’s Women in Architecture Chapter and advances sustainability goals in the Houston area alongside fellow teammates on the Committee on The Environment (COTE).

Read Full Bio

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a minor in Construction Science from Prairie View A&M University. In 2018, she was part of the winning Prairie View A&M team at the Department of Energy’s Race To Zero 2018 competition with The Fly Flat entry. The Fly Flat went on to receive many awards, including the 2019 AIA/ACSA COTE Top Ten award and was presented as the closing keynote at the 2018 North American Passive House Conference.


Architects Hootennany


Catherine Baker


Catherine Baker received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Ball State University and a Master of Arts in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. Both disciplines share some fundamental underpinnings that pertain to the work of LBBA; understanding people, understanding problems, making connections, and developing programmatic solutions. In 2002, Catherine became a Principal at Landon Bone Baker Architects where she applied these skills to develop a direct neighborhood outreach program, which fosters better-informed communities while simultaneously gathering the data that informs design.

Read Full Bio

She runs the firm’s locally and nationally recognized LBBA Community Workshop. The summer program employs high school students and college-age mentors to study building design and initiate change in their neighborhood through environmental assessment studies and community asset mapping.

The importance of understanding neighborhood problems and connections can be seen in the planning projects that Catherine has managed, which include various federally-funded programs focusing on neighborhood revitalization such as HOPE VI, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and the redevelopment of a large Section 8 housing project in the Woodlawn neighborhood under the new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Several of these projects address specific neighborhood needs. One of which is Tierra Linda, a scattered-site housing project located in Humboldt Park and near the 606 Trail that is conceived and developed to nurture health and healthy living. Tierra Linda also features the first affordable multi-family Passive House building in the City of Chicago. Catherine’s projects holistically address and prioritize health, sustainability, and community wellness through good design. These priorities also inform her various volunteer efforts that ultimately focus on diversity and equity in architecture and social justice through architecture and design.

Catherine is active in Chicago’s architectural education community. For over 10 years she taught an architecture class in partnership with Lane Technical High School and Marwen that concentrated on urban design and neighborhood study. She continues to volunteer and support high school programming at the Chicago Architecture Center; She was a member of the advisory team at the Chicago Architecture Foundation that developed “The Architectural Handbook,” an award-winning architectural curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools, and acts as advisor and judge for the Newhouse Competition. She is also a founding mentor for Marwen’s Art at Work program and is currently co-leading the Architecture Education Network—a joint effort between CAF and AIA Chicago that will develop a design education path for K-12 architecture programs in Chicago.


Chris Benedict

Chris Benedict is a registered architect with 30 years of professional experience. Her office, Chris Benedict, R.A., was founded in 1995 and specializes in the design of exceptionally energy efficient buildings. A leader of the Passive House movement in the United States, Chris has designed over 80 apartment buildings in New York City, including three recently completed apartment buildings in New York City designed to meet the Passive House Standard.

Read Full Bio

She has another 15 Passive House buildings on the boards, all designed to cost the same as typical construction. Chris is a graduate of the Cooper Union where she was inducted into the Cooper Union Hall of Fame. Chris teaches internationally about her groundbreaking work and is a thought leader in the building industry.

 Matt Fine_rd

Matt Fine, AIA , CPHC

Peabody Architects

Of his twenty-one years in the architectural field, Matt has spent the last thirteen specializing in multifamily housing and high-performance house design. At his previous firm, (ZA+D, LLC) Matt spearheaded the initiative to deliver Passive House-level performance in a variety of project types and scales. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons project was one such example – a retrofit of (36) affordable dwelling units within (3) 60’s era buildings.

Read Full Bio

The project is the first PHIUS-certified Passive House multifamily retrofit in the U.S. The importance of this work was to clearly demonstrate that resource consciousness and affordability are not mutually exclusive, and in turn, it re-establishes a sense of community to one of DC’s most-neglected neighborhoods.

Matt collaborated with Parsons The New School for Design on the 2011 Solar Decathlon entry known as Empowerhouse along with managing the Ivy City Passive Townhouses project ((6) PHIUS-certified dwellings) delivered with DC Habitat for Humanity in 2015. He is currently managing the Fairmount Heights Zero Energy Ready modular infill project and the Arlington Net Zero single-family project. These examples further the mission of bringing low-to-zero energy buildings at a larger scale and wider variety to the region.


James Hartford


Partner James Hartford’s work is rooted in technical expertise and design sensibility. In addition to his excellent design skills, he contributes his building envelope expertise and leads the sustainable design process for each of the firm’s projects. He is currently working on several Passive House projects that range from single family retrofits, multi-unit urban row house retrofits, and an organic hard cider mill in the Catskills.

Read Full Bio

James is the founder and the past President of Passive House Alliance US- Hudson Valley Chapter. In that capacity James has brought Certified Passive House Builder instruction to Newburgh, NY, and Certified Passive House Consultant training to Schenectady, NY with significant funding from NYSERDA. These programs were the first of their kind in Upstate NY.

Prior to joining River Architects, James was a Project Architect with Rogers Marvel Architects and James Gainfort AIA Architect, where he contributed to award winning renovation and rehabilitation projects such as the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Carnegie Hall, the Governor’s and Admiral’s Houses on Governors Island, and the Brooklyn Museum Entrance Reconstruction & Water Fountain Project. James earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Buffalo and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Fine Arts from the University of Albany. He has studied abroad in Germany and in England and has taught upper level design studios at Kyonggi University’s Graduate School of Architecture in Seoul, South Korea.


Terrell Wong  (moderator)

Terrell Wong is an architect with over 25 years experience. Her passion for the environment and design has greatly influenced her career. In 2006, Terrell lead the winning team to the National Archetype Sustainable House Award. Their “Building Blocks” modular home concept was constructed at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Kortright Centre as a showcase for sustainable design.

 Read Full Bio

Terrell’s firm, Stone’s Throw Design Inc., specializes in low energy residential design. With its focus on building science, the firm creates designs utilizing cutting edge materials and techniques. In 2012, it completed the first insulated rammed earth house in Ontario. Utilizing integrated design, Stone’s Throw Design Inc. provides its clients with the full gamut of residential services. Respect for natural systems guides our company philosophy: conservation over technology – longevity over fashion.

 Andrew Steingiser_rd

Andrew Steingiser

RA, LEED AP, CPHC,Project Architect

Andrew, a certified passive-house consultant, champions SGA’s sustainable building practice within the firm and within the industry at large. Recognizing that buildings are responsible for 40 percent of carbon emissions in the U.S., he continually strives to integrate high design and high performance into their development. Since he joined SGA in 2017, Andrew has applied the latest techniques in energy efficiency to projects in the higher education, commercial, and life
sciences markets.

Read Full Bio

He also speaks about sustainability at prominent industry events, such as the North American Passive House conference, Passive House Massachusetts, and ABX.

At SGA, Andrew is involved in every stage of projects, including design, detailing, construction documentation, and construction administration. He is a frequent presence in the field, where he ensures the accurate delivery of design intent. In addition, he is active in SGA’s business development efforts, working in conjunction with the firm’s marketing team. Andrew earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Architecture at Syracuse University.


Developers Hootenanny


Julie Klump 

Vice President, Design and Building Performance

Julie is Vice President for Design and Building Performance, responsible for design and energy efficiency for development projects and the owned portfolio. She assists POAH in the acquisition process with building investigation, energy budgeting, scope development and cost estimates. She works with POAH’s Development Project Managers and Asset Managers to engage the project team (architect, engineer, clerk, etc.) for rehabilitation of new acquisitions and/or POAH owned properties (including the implementation of energy efficiency programs).

Read Full Bio

For new construction, she oversees design development and construction, integrating green and sustainable design. Julie authors POAH’s product and performance specification used by development and maintenance staff when selecting building materials and components. Additionally, she manages the data collection and analysis that define the efficiency efforts and serves as a subject matter expert for all aspects of building performance.

A Certified Passive House Consultant and LEED-certified architect with an undergraduate degree in environmental design, Julie has worked as an architect, construction manager, owner’s project manager and Executive Director of the Texas Historical Foundation.

A graduate in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University, Julie received her Master of Architecture degree, with Certification in Historic Preservation, from the University of Texas at Austin. She has completed special studies in Art and Architecture in Florence, Italy and in Preservation/Restoration in Sebastopol, Crimea.


Ryan Cassidy  (moderator)

Director of Sustainability & Construction, RiseBoro Community Partnership

Ryan Cassidy is the Director of Sustainability & Construction for RiseBoro Community Partnership, where he manages the design and construction of a robust affordable housing pipeline. Ryan has developed and monitored the construction of over 100 buildings. His experience ranges from two-family home ownership programs to large multi-family complexes with retail and community facility components. He supervised the construction of the first multi-family affordable Passive Houses in NYC and is currently renovating existing buildings to the Passive House standard. Ryan is a PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant.


Sloan Ritchie 

Founder and President

Sloan Ritchie is a pioneer in the Passive House movement in Seattle. As a developer and general contractor, Sloan draws on building science principles and decades of experience to guide the design and construction of buildings that use up to 80% less energy for heating and cooling. With buildings accounting for nearly 40% of CO2 emissions in the US, Sloan sees the opportunity to address climate change through designing and delivering high-quality, comfortable and efficient buildings.

Read Full Bio

His mission is to demonstrate the scalability and feasibility of using Passive House construction techniques to build cost-competitive high-performance projects, establishing Seattle as a leader in the nation and changing the way people think about where they live and work. Sloan is a graduate of Whitman College and an MBA graduate of the University of Washington. He speaks on the topic of residential green building and Passive House. He is a sought-after expert for interviews on his approach, drive and project experience. His team and clients appreciate his approachable, calm nature and hands-on, insightful leadership style.

Off work, Sloan enjoys windsurfing and traveling with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.


John Sarter 

CEO, Off the Grid Design

John Sarter is an innovator and entrepreneur in the converging fields of real estate, renewable energy, and e-mobility. The goal of his work is carbon neutrality and GHG elimination within those 3 sectors. He has owned and operated his Design/Build and Development firms, Sarter Construction & Design, Off The Grid Design, and Sol Lux Alpha in California since 1986. With Off the Grid Design, John is leading the industry in the integration and development of Carbon Neutral Living + Transportation systems.

Read Full Bio

John Founded the Microgrid Development Group SF Bay Area in 2014 and currently consults with industry and policy leaders in the area of Zero Carbon community development, while also continuing to design and develop cutting edge innovative projects.

Allison van Hee_circle

Allison van Hée

Director of Asset Management for the Joint Ownership Entity of New York City Inc

Allison van Hée is the Director of Asset Management for the Joint Ownership Entity of New York City Inc., a consortium of nonprofit affordable housing developers. The mission of JOE NYC is to secure the long term viability of non-profit run affordable housing and to make members more competitive in securing new affordable housing development opportunities. The JOE has doubled in size every year since its founding in 2016. Allison currently oversees the asset management of over 2,100 units in 180 properties associated with ten community based nonprofits.

Read Full Bio

She also spearheads the JOE NYC solar program as well as unique efficiency pilots and deep energy retrofit initiatives. Previous to JOE, Allison worked in preservation finance at HPD, and affordable cooperative development at UHAB.