AMY MCWHIRTER, Host
Questions For Amy:
• College and degree: Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology from University of Michigan
• Interests: Dancing, fitness, yoga, the arts, movies, music, nature, boating, animal lover, gardening
• Favorite TV shows: So You Think You Can Dance, Boardwalk, Empire, Person of Interest, Bewitched, Our America with Lisa Ling, Super Soul Sunday
• How tall are you: 5’11”
• Any pets: A 13-year-old Golden Retriever named Felicity (after the TV series, whose title character’s life imitates mine – Father was physician and she started out pre-med, but switched to art to follow her own true passion. Similar to my story, but I finished pre-med, deciding after junior year that my true love was acting, dancing and performing.)
• If stranded on a desert island what 5 things would you hope to have with you: Sunscreen, music, a journal, a blanket, and the book “Seat of the Soul.”
• Passions/Charitable interests: My passion outside of work is dance! I teach dance, and live for dance in my down time. Expressing myself through movement and music is a true passion. I have been a Y Partner and won Outstanding Y Partner of the Year in 2007.
• What carpentry tool best defines you: Hammer. It’s an essential part of every tool box, and intensely persists until it gets the job done.
• My day doesn’t get started until I...: Make coffee and take a hot shower.
• When I was 10 years old I wanted to be: An actress or a teacher. I am both.
• Do you have a green thumb? What’s your most recent contribution to the environmental sustainability movement: I have enjoyed cultivating an organic vegetable garden. This is my fifth year of organic gardening now. Working in the garden, learning and growing my own food give me great satisfaction. I have taken the torch from my 97-year-old grandfather, who tended a large organic vegetable garden for years.
My husband and I have been big recyclers since the ‘90s. When I told him years ago about how we could recycle those plastic milk jugs and so much more, he was amazed at how much space had been taken up in the trash and landfills by those items.
• Now that the taping of Built To Last® - The Green Home has concluded, what were your impressions of the construction project? Were there any surprises or "Oh, wow!" moments?
I was impressed at the vast array of green build products and innovations available. Especially noteworthy are the well-planned options around temperature, moisture and sound insulation. I would love to have many of the features that our Built To Last® - The Green Home has in my own home, including ...radiant heat floors, insulated concrete forms, high velocity air system, and the irrigation system and garden boxes. Green Building is timely, relevant, and offers ways we can each help conserve resources on our precious planet.
ROBERT E. REED, Project Contributor
Dr. Robert Reed is Co-Director of the University of Missouri (MU) Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Director of the MU Stormwater Management and Erosion Control Education Center and a researcher in the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering, M.S. in Environmental Engineering and a master’s degree in Public Administration from MU, and his Ph.D. from Missouri Science & Technology. Dr. Reid has been a registered professional engineer in five states. He has 45 years experience in construction-related business, industry, government and academia. He was trained in energy-efficient facility design and management in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970s.
Dr. Reid’s work for the MU Center for Sustainable Energy includes serving as an information source on energy-related work at the university, developing teams of experts for various energy projects and participating in energy-related programs and projects. MU’s energy efficiency programs include energy-efficient (green) building construction and retrofit, ground loop geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficiency retrofit results monitoring and verification, indoor air quality, building energy monitoring and control, energy-related business and technology development, agricultural production energy efficiency and two industrial energy efficiency internships.
BRUCE M. OBORA
Bruce Obora is a principle partner with the architectural design firm of Obora Phillips and Associates, LLC. The multidisciplined firm handles all aspects of planning, design and construction including site selection, building design, construction documents, bid coordination and construction administration. The spectrum of work completed features projects large and small, from new construction to renovation to adaptive re-use.
Mr. Obora has more than 25 years of experience and specializes in office, education and custom residential design. He is also involved in institutional, retail and commercial projects. Always conscious of the qualities of good design and budget to meet the clients’ specifications, he works closely with those clients and contractors to ensure that all needs are addressed.
As part of the green initiative, the firm is currently working with past clients to incorporate today’s energy-efficient upgrades for their buildings systems to be more proactive in lowering operating costs, reducing the carbon footprint and creating a more comfortable environment through energy-efficient technologies.
Mr. Obora holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a registered professional architect in the state of Illinois and a member of the American Institute of Architects.
LAUREEN T. BLISSARD
Laureen Blissard is the principal and owner of LTLB Envirotecture, an architecture and design firm that primarily focuses on additions, existing-home retrofits for aging-in-place clients and providing Green Rater services for LEED for Homes projects. The firm has more than 20 active LEED for Homes projects. One of the projects is a large 132-unit development that is pursuing multiple certifications such as NAHB standard, LEED for Homes, Energy Star and Builder’s Challenge.
A founding member and past chair of the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Ms. Blissard currently serves as the chapter’s governance committee chair and was the 2010 recipient of the USGBC Illinois Chapter’s Leadership Award. She serves as a residential green building advocate, which entails numerous public speaking engagements on behalf of the chapter, and was subsequently the 2011 recipient of the USGBC Illinois Chapter’s “Green Speak” Award.
Ms. Blissard serves in the capacity of technical director for the Green Builder® Coalition. The Coalition is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving balance and harmony between the built and natural environments. It has been created as a new platform to provide a common voice for those devoted to sustainable living in partnership with Green Builder® Media. She works with the National USGBC and several other partners to advocate on behalf of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and helps promote a baseline residential green construction code.
Ms. Blissard provides services for the project as the LEED for Homes Education Consultant and Green Rater. Ms. Blissard holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from the University of Illinois and has built a successful 20-year practice in the design and construction of buildings, homes and interiors. She is also a licensed architect in Illinois and Wisconsin as well as having received approval for reciprocal licensure designation in every state except California via NCARB certification. Other accreditations include LEED AP BD+C, LEED AP Homes, USGBC LEED® Faculty™, RESnet Energy Rater Candidate and originally the first fully certified Green Rater in the state of Illinois.
Damon Wilson is the owner of Resource One Landscape Architects that was founded in 1998. He focuses primarily on residential and site scale design. He has completed hundreds of projects in the Chicagoland area in the last 15 years.
In recent years he has worked on and completed multiple LEED projects. His design philosophy has always been to use a holistic approach. All the elements of a project should fit together and should function to achieve the desired program. The elements—grading, drainage, plants and hardscapes—should combine to produce an environment that takes into account the seasonal cycles, sun, shade, microclimates and the aesthetics.
Mr. Wilson believes that LEED projects are the wave of the future. As more people realize that there are efficient alternatives to the traditional methods of building, more people will opt to use the energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive approach.
Mr. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University. He has been a licensed registered Landscape Architect in the state of Illinois since 1998.
JACK D. PICKETT
Before founding Pickett Engineering, Inc. in 1967, Jack Picket was an associate with the engineering firm of Maccabee Associates, Inc., and chief engineer for Case International, a foundation contracting firm.
Mr. Pickett holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He has more than 50 years of experience in the design and review of steel and reinforced concrete structures, bridges, multistory office buildings, industrial and special-purpose buildings and foundations.
Mr. Pickett has been a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois and the American Concrete Institute. He is registered as a professional, civil and structural engineer in multiple states including Illinois and Wisconsin.
Anthony Janowski is Director of Sustainability for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and its 47,000 members. Mr. Janowski is responsible for identifying clean energy untapped markets that can enhance market share and implementing training programs for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters’ contractors and membership.
“We continue to educate and train a skilled green certified workforce and are a primary conduit for the green-building industry.”
Mr. Janowski serves on the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ National Renewable Energy Committee that represents 525,000 members and 243 Carpenter Apprentice Training Centers throughout the United States and Canada. He identifies and institutes clean energy opportunities that encourage demand for energy efficiency and renewable innovation such as solar, wind, hydropower and smart grid. He leverages his strengths to deliver the resources needed to create economic sustainability and a skilled certified workforce for program or project developments.
Mr. Janowski is serving as the 2012 chairman for the U. S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter and is a LEED-accredited professional. Throughout the industry he provides essential components for the policymakers and community leaders implementing strategies and educational needs to transform green-building policy at all levels of government for healthier places to work, live and learn.