Ackerstein Sustainability works to help building owners and managers operate more sustainably. We collaborate with building operators, property managers, ownership groups, facility engineers, and corporate leadership to:

 

  1. Understand the impacts of building operations on the environment and on occupant health
     
  2. Create systems to measure and track those impacts
     
  3. Implement programs to reduce those impacts, and
     
  4. Document their successes via sustainability certification programs
 
 

Meet the team

 

Dan Ackerstein, Principal
LEED Faculty, LEED AP - O&M

Dan Ackerstein has based his professional career on making the concept of sustainability accessible, useful, and meaningful in the business world. For the last decade that pursuit has been focused on sustainable building operations and the development, implementation, and application of the LEED for Existing Buildings. 

In 2008, Dan formed Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC providing sustainability consulting, training and LEED certification project management for a wide variety of clients including commercial properties, municipalities, private companies, and educational institutions.

Dan has been involved with LEED for Existing Buildings at every level since the program's origination. In addition to assisting the US Green Building Council in the implementation of the LEED-EB Pilot Program, Dan also worked with the USGBC to complete the draft and finalization of the LEED-EB Version 2.0 Rating System and Reference Guide as well as a host of additional guidance documents and support materials. Dan provided technical support and project consultation to many of the original EB Pilot projects and was the lead certification reviewer for 35 of the first 45 certified LEED-EB projects, including the first 30 projects to achieve certification.

When Dan isn't saving the environment, he is likely to be found surfing at Cowell's with his daughters, running the mountain trails outside Santa Cruz, or reading about sustainable seafood.

 
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Michelle Perez, Senior Engineer
LEED AP - O&M, PE

Michelle joined Ackerstein Sustainability in 2013. Service to others has always been a core value for her, leading her to careers in the Navy higher education. Michelle's background includes a profession license in Mechanical Engineering, a bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University, and a Masters in Cross-Cultural Education from National University. 

Michelle has led a variety of LEED EBOM projects across the state to include work at UCSD, SDSU, and the County of Ventura. The San Diego US Green Building Council recognized two of these projects as LEED EBOM Projects of the Year in 2012 and 2013, with one earning Platinum certification.

Prior to joining Ackerstein Sustainability, Michelle gained extensive LEED for Existing Buildings experience in the campus environment, working at University of California, San Diego as a LEED Project Manager and Utilities Engineer. During her time at UC San Diego, she successfully led seven LEED projects to certification. Michelle was recognized as a leader throughout the University of California system as well as nationally in the green building community for her innovative initiatives and leadership in incorporating students into the campus' green building and sustainability process. Michelle designed the student-centered approach with LEED at UC San Diego by tapping into her education background and project based teaching experience. Her collaboration with students and staff was formally recognized when she was named one of ten UC San Diego employees for 2012 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year. In addition to her LEED work, she served as a technical advisor on Green Building standards, energy/water efficiency, and sustainable operations. Michelle led cross-functional campus teams and analyzed campus operations to ensure alignment with campus sustainability goals and financial constraints.
In Michelle's free time, she enjoys camping with her husband and dog and running the streets and trails of San Diego with her friends.

 
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Hannah H. Sokol, Sustainability Consultant

Hannah H. Sokol is an independent urban planning and sustainable real estate management consultant. Hannah previously spent five years with U.S. Equities Realty where she oversaw the firm’s Sustainability Program for their Asset Management Group.  As part of this work she directed the implementation of best practices in sustainable building management & operations for the portfolio and partnered with the City of Chicago on their sustainable initiatives for the commercial real estate sector.  

Additionally, Hannah has applied her multi-disciplinary background on a variety of real estate, development, and planning projects, including project management for LEED Certification, land use planning analysis, master planning and redevelopment studies for public, private and non-profit agencies.  Together with U.S. Equities’ Argentina office Hannah has consulted on LEED Certification projects in Buenos Aires, working with colleagues there to overcome the challenges of an emerging green building market and to advance environmentally sound practices in real estate. 

Prior to joining U.S. Equities, Hannah worked as a researcher with the U.S. EPA Region 5, the Delta Institute, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, collaborating on projects that examined sustainability and the built environment through the lens of market and policy influences.  Her work on Market Analysis for Construction and Demolition Material Reuse in the Chicago Region has informed policy decisions related to C&D waste diversion in the City of Chicago and Cook County and is referenced by a number of similar studies for other cities and regions. 

Hannah is a graduate of Earlham College and went on to receive a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy with a focus in Environmental Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In her free time she enjoys time outside with her family, traveling, and exploring the streets of Chicago – and other cities - by bike.

 

Sharmila Krishnamurty, Sustainability Consultant

Sharmila Krishnamurty is a LEED, sustainability and environmental technology consultant based in San Diego and joined Ackerstein Sustainability in 2015. She holds a LEED AP-O&M accreditation and a Masters degree in Environmental Technology Management from Arizona State University.

After working for three years as a software developer right out of college, she set about making the career transition to pursue her passion for nature and the environment. A top performer in her graduate class, she was awarded the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (Thunderbird Chapter) and Environmental Professionals of Arizona scholarships. During her Masters, she volunteered more than 2000 hours at the University of California San Diego working as a sustainability intern for Building Commissioning and Sustainability. She tracked UCSD’s waste and recycling efforts and examined how the campus can achieve its goal of zero-waste by 2020 as part of its Climate Action Plan. She worked under the mentorship of Michelle Perez in obtaining several LEED certifications for existing campus buildings. For her leadership and sustainability championing, Sharmila was awarded Outstanding Individual at the 2011 UCSD Sustainability Awards. Sharmila was also selected to participate in the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative conference in 2011 for her project proposal on a composting program for post-consumer waste at UCSD. For a one year period, she served as the USGBC Regional Chair for the Southern California region promoting LEED initiatives in various universities and colleges.

Prior to joining Ackerstein Sustainability, Sharmila worked as an Environmental Scientist at Ideation Inc, an engineering consultancy for federal agencies and private corporations. Sharmila worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on key sustainability initiatives in government programs. She published a white paper on social, economic and environmental sustainability indicators and oversaw its integration into the FEMA Benefit Cost Analysis Toolkit.

Sharmila spends her spare time baking, gardening, reading and nurturing her 2-year old daughter’s curiosity.

 
 
 

Alumni

 

Patrick Baylis, Sustainability Analyst

Patrick Baylis worked with Ackerstein Sustainability from 2009 to 2011 as a Research Consultant. His experience included on a variety of LEED-EB: v2.0 and EB:O&M 2009 projects including 650 California, 555 California, 315 Montgomery, the County of Ventura Vanguard Building, and UC Davis Housing Services projects.  Patrick provided documentation support, technical research, and administrative oversight for the project team.

Patrick received his LEED Green Associate accreditation in 2011 and is now in the final year of his pursuit of a doctorate in environmental economics at UC Berkeley.

Norberto Ruvalcaba, Sustainability Intern

Norberto Ruvalcaba was a Sustainability Intern at Ackerstein Sustainability from 2013 - 2015 while completing a degree in engineering at San Diego State University. Norberto was the student lead for SDSU’s LEED-EB:O&M certification project at the Aztec Recreation Center, and a key member of the team completing the certification of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. Norberto's work extended to a variety of Ackerstein Sustainability projects, including work on certifications for CAC Real Estate Management company in San Francisco as well as an EBOM Feasibility Study for a hotel in Santa Monica. In 2015 Norberto accepted a position as a Project Engineer with Rudolph and Sletten.


 
 

Sustainability doesn't end with buildings or a LEED plaque; it is a life-long conversation with the people, places and systems (natural and otherwise) around us.