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H J Kessler   The firm’s Principal,
Helen J. Kessler,
FAIA, LEED Fellow Accredited Professional,
has over 30 years experience in sustainable design, energy efficiency and renewable energy and is anationally recognized LEED/green building design consultant.

She was one of the first architects in Chicago to work with LEED and routinely facilitates design charrettes, provides sustainable design assistance and manages LEED documentation. Helen focuses on facilitating an integrated approach to resource efficient design with the goal of maximizing effectiveness of building systems and minimizing costs.

She has been sustainable design team leader, LEED consultant, lighting designer, energy efficiency consultant and/or commissioning authority on over 50 LEED projects. She has used most versions of LEED, including the LEED 2009 version 3 system. She has completed work on over half a dozen LEED Platinum projects and over a dozen LEED Gold projects. She has led energy audit teams for numerous facilities, saving her clients millions of dollars annually. Helen has written well over 100 articles on green building, energy efficiency and solar energy and has given or moderated hundreds of presentations on these subjects.

Helen is a Board member of the USGBC Illinois Chapter, is a founding co-chair of the chapter's Education and Research committee and leads its Education Pillar, was a voting member of the national LEED for Commercial Interiors Core Committee and was one of two Chicago liaisons to the Heartland chapters of the USGBC. She was also Board Secretary for CREW Chicago. She is past co-chair of the AIA Chicago Committee on the Environment, chaired the Energy Code Committee, which created Chicago's first energy code, and was a voting member on the ASHRAE committee that


created Guideline 0 – The Building Commissioning Process. She currently sits on the IESNA Commissioning committee. She has twice served on the Greenbuild host committee and served on the Greenbuild 2004 program committee.

Helen teaches a course called Sustainability in Construction at Northwestern University. Additionally, she provides training programs on the Integrative Design Process, lectures on energy efficient lighting for the Building Operator Certification program, provides training programs on ASHRAE 90.1 and teaches lighting economics for the Chicago Chapter of the Illuminating Engineering Society. She co-developed Green Building: Nuts and Bolts for Contractors for the Chicago chapter of the USGBC. She is a highly regarded and frequent speaker on green building topics.

Prior to starting her own firm, Helen was Executive Vice President at Sieben Energy Associates, where she created and managed its integrated design process for maximizing energy efficiency and created its green design practice. She was a Project Director for Hyatt Hotels (where she managed renovations at 14 hotels) and for Richard I. Rubin & Company, a real estate development firm, where she managed the development of the Hotel Atop the Bellevue, which was part of an 800,000 sf mixed use development. She designed solar homes and did research in solar energy at the University of Arizona Environmental Research Laboratory.

Helen has received a number of awards, including the Illinois Real Estate Journal Impact Award (2008), Alumnus of the Year from the University of Arizona Honors College (2009) and the Intent to Matter Natural Leader Award from the USGBC Illinois Chapter (2010). She is a licensed architect and has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA), Fellow, member
  • Licensed Architect, States of Illinois and Arizona
  • Inaugural LEED Fellow2011- One of only 34 woldwide
  • U.S. Green Building Council, Corporate Member
  • U.S. Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter, Member
    Chicago Department of Buildings, Chair, Energy Code Committee, (1999 - 2003)
  • ASHRAE Commissioning Guideline Committee (GPC-0), Voting Member, (1999 - 2005)
  • US Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter, Chair, Education/Research Committee, (2002 – present), Education Pillar Director (2009 to present), Member, Program Committee
  • US Green Building Council, Illinois Chapter. Board Member (2007 – present)
  • US Green Building Council, LEED® for Commercial Interiors Core Committee (2006-2007)
  • AIA Chicago, Board of Directors (1995)
  • AIA Chicago, Committee on the Environment, Co-Chair (1993 - 1995)
  • Arizona Solar Energy Commission, appointed by Governor Bruce Babbitt (1979 - 1984)
  • Arizona Solar Energy Association, Co-chair and board member (1979 - 1984)
  • Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission, appointed (1980 - 1984)
  • Chicago Real Estate Executive Women (CREW), Board of Directors (2005), Secretary (2006 – 2007)
  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), member
  • American Solar Energy Society, member

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