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.

 

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.

 
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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.

 
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Kelly Douglas, Sustainability and Visual Communications Consultant

Kelly Douglas is a sustainability and visual communications consultant based in Seattle. She blends her experience in urban ecology and sustainable design with her background in fine arts and writing to drive sustainability outcomes in the built environment.

Kelly started her career in sustainability at the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab, where she contributed to research on the health impacts of high-performance buildings and orchestrated all graphic communications. During her time at the Integrated Design Lab, she was awarded a grant to create a masterplan for sustainable exterior lighting for the UW Seattle campus. Collaborating with stakeholders from the lighting design industry and Seattle City Light’s Lighting Design Lab, Kelly developed a roadmap to sustainable lighting that integrates user experience, wildlife impacts, and energy efficiency. 

Prior to joining Ackerstein Sustainability, Kelly worked with Google’s Real Estate sustainability team on a range of initiatives, encompassing topics from climate resilience to healthy materials. Her accomplishments include establishing a process for achieving the Living Building Challenge’s Red List imperative on a major ground-up office development and publishing a public-facing booklet on Google’s Urban Ecology Program.

Kelly is a graduate of Whitman College and holds a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. Outside of work, Kelly can be found exploring the endless landscapes of the Pacific Northwest or happily immersed in an art project.

 
 
 

Alumni

 

Iunona “June” Harris, Sustainability Analyst

June was a part of our team from 2015 to 2018 as the student lead on multiple projects with the City of Chula Vista’s City Hall and San Diego State University’s Aztec Student Union, the Children’s Center and the Viejas Arena while completing her degree in Environmental Biology with emphases in Sustainable Tourism Management and Anthropology. Her passion for the environment led her to join the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Management Team with the National Park Service as a Biology Technician in 2018. Today, she is pursuing LEED AP accreditation and works as Physical Scientist/Oceanographer at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Michelle Perez, Senior Engineer

Michelle was an engineer, project manager, and lead consultant for Ackerstein Sustainability from 2013-2016. While leading projects at AS, Michelle worked with clients like UCSD, SDSU, and the County of Ventura. In 2016 Michelle departed AS to return to UCSD, where she is presently the Interim Director of Campus Sustainability & Carbon Neutrality.

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.

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.

Patrick Patrick received his LEED Green Associate accreditation in 2011 and a doctorate in environmental economics at UC Berkeley in 2016. Patrick is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, where his work focuses on the economic impacts of climate change and electricity consumption.


 
 

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.