What You Can Expect

2017 Program

Premier conference strictly focused on retrofitting commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.

Schedule of Events

What Are You Waiting For?

Top Reasons to Attend.

You will leave this one-day event with ideas and solutions you can immediately execute in your daily and professional life. Consider the following:

  • Premier conference strictly focused on retrofitting commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.
  • Local guidance for meeting Chicago benchmarking and energy requirements.
  • Information on funding mechanisms for retrofitting.
  • Tips for building enclosure efficiency and commissioning.
  • Local and nationwide retrofit success stories.
  • Knowledgeable exhibitors to help you meet retrofitting goals.
  • CEUs from AIA and GBCI.
  • Relationship-building opportunities.
Opening Keynote

JASON ROBERTS, Keynote Speaker

Build a Better Block How to Make Real Change in Your Community, Today
How can we drive change in our communities and move past unproductive committees, low community engagement and outdated regulation? In this funny, smart, energetic and breathless talk, arts activist Roberts encourages us to stop waiting around—even if that means painting in our own crosswalks, bringing in our own trees, building our own cafés and blackmailing ourselves into action.

Educational Session


Moderator: Nathan M. Gillette


In 2013, Chicago became the ninth U.S. city to pass a building energy transparency and disclosure ordinance. The Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance requires nearly 2,700 properties across every neighborhood in Chicago to participate in ongoing energy reporting. After a three-year phase-in period, all required buildings have now reported and benchmarking data is publicly available. This presentation overviews the initial concerns with the ordinance and where we are today, as well as some valuable lessons learned when designing an energy benchmarking policy. The presentation will also detail interesting findings from the data, including details on how some of the oldest buildings are actually some of the most energy efficient.

AMY JEWEL, Speaker Two

Now in its fourth year of implementation, complying with the Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance is becoming part of routine operations for large buildings (more than 50,000 square feet) across the city of Chicago. With a compliance rate consistently 90 percent or higher in the past three years—and nearly 2,700 reporting buildings—the energy benchmarking information provides a vast resource for buildings and their energy use that was never before available in Chicago. Jewel will share details about the overall energy-efficiency trends in Chicago, based on the past few years of analyzing the reported benchmarking data. She also will provide updates on the tools and approaches that could help you use your benchmarking results to take the next steps on energy efficiency, such as joining the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge, the city’s voluntary energy-efficiency leadership program.


The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is attempting to bring its 166,000-square-foot Chicago Landmark building as close to net-zero energy as possible. Construction on the building began in 1921 and all eight floors were completed in 1927. Currently most of its systems are at the end of their useful life, including but not limited to the boilers and plumbing risers. Instead of replacing system for system, ICA GreenRise has decided to look at the building holistically, starting with what the organization’s representatives have learned from the benchmarking process and using the principles of PHIUS and the Living Building Challenge.

As far as ICA GreenRise’s leaders know, there is not a building of this size nor age attempting net-zero energy. It is proving to be an ambitious undertaking that will require several phases of rehab but, if accomplished, ICA GreenRise will become a more viable and inviting building that serves as a beacon for similar strategies for older buildings.

Lunch Keynote

ASHOK GUPTA, Keynote Speaker

ASHOK GUPTA, Keynote Speaker

Educational Session


Moderator: Christina Koch

AMY JEWEL, Speaker One

Multiple opportunities exist for financing energy retrofit projects in commercial and institutional buildings. Jewel will cover current options, such as tax incentives, energy performance contracting, and utility rebate/incentive programs, as well as changes in the local landscape that may provide new financing options. Some of the examples covered could include recent changes caused by the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Bill of 2016, which included updates to how savings from ComEd’s energy-efficiency rebates and incentives are calculated. These changes may lead to restructured incentives and rebates that encourage larger capital projects with longer-term savings. Another option is green-leasing language, which can be a method to share the costs of certain types of upgrades between building owners and the tenants that may benefit from the retrofits. A third option could include property assessed clean energy—which is not yet available in Illinois—but is starting to be available in more areas across the U.S.


Efforts to mitigate climate change in the U.S. must focus on buildings, which use the most energy and produce the most carbon emissions of any sector, including transportation. In particular, multifamily buildings need attention, as discussed in Elevate Energy’s recently published report, Segmenting Chicago Multifamily Housing to Improve Energy Efficiency Programs. Well over 16 million households pay more to heat and cool their homes than necessary. Given the size of the unsubsidized lower-cost multifamily market in Chicago, this building type requires a specific efficiency program tailored to its particular needs.

This presentation will further discuss the findings in the report, as well as how Elevate Energy’s multifamily program effectively serves this market, retrofitting more than 18,000 multifamily units across the city of Chicago (and more than 25,000 across Illinois) since 2007. Elevate Energy’s comprehensive service model implements the best practices in addressing common barriers building owners face in completing retrofits, which include assembling financing packages and providing construction oversight. Our financial offering includes the Energy Savers Loan through our partner Community Investment Corporation.

JACK CRANE, Speaker Three

In 2008, Community Investment Corporation (CIC) and Elevate Energy pioneered the Energy Savers program, a new “one-stop-shop” multifamily retrofit program for affordable buildings. The program enables building owners in the Chicago metro area to access an array of services, including free comprehensive energy audits, financing for energy improvements, and monitoring of construction and outcomes. Not only does the environment benefit from thousands more retrofitted units, but the program also helps the bottom line: A typical investment of $3,000 per unit saves 25 to 30 percent on energy bills.

Educational Session

Commissioning & Building Envelope.

Moderator: Paul Bertram


Tonielli will provide an overview of ComEd’s retro-commissioning and monitoring-based commissioning programs and their place in ComEd’s energy-efficiency program portfolio. Discussion topics will include the evolution of program design and incentive offerings in response to market demands and strategies used for marketing and customer engagement.


Find out what an enclosure consultant can bring to your retrofit project. After a general discussion of common building envelope problems there will be a presentation of two case studies:

§ The deterioration of a steel curtainwall at a Chicago community college raised the question of repair versus replacement and a study of the payback period based on savings in HVAC system energy use. Study of the original design drawings, destructive inspections, and water and smoke testing under differential pressures delivered vital information to inform the solution.

§ A renovation of an old university building mandated a new HVAC system. Study of three different window replacement options—and in-place testing of their prototypes—allowed more accurate duct sizing of the final HVAC design based on the actual, measured window leakage rates.

BRIAN STROIK, Speaker Three

The majority of our existing buildings were built prior to the mid-1970s when insulation became an important factor in construction. Most of these buildings are still structurally sound today, so how do we improve them to meet our current energy-efficiency standards? The concern: Insulating these buildings without understanding what we are doing to the physics of the exterior walls can be costly and even destroy the existing structures. This presentation will review some basics in building science, potential insulation strategies, current research projects focused on energy upgrades of existing structures and provide a few case studies of successful upgrades on existing buildings.



Cambridge Engineering
Flex Roofing Systems
Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating
Sierra Pacific
Armstrong Ceilings
IEC Environmental International
Roof Hugger

Become a founding sponsor of retrofit’s inaugural conference!

  • Full-page ad in retrofit’s September-October issue.
  • Tabletop display at the conference.
  • Conference ads will include your company’s linked color logo in print and digital editions (May-June, July-August, September-October).
  • All conference e-blasts will include your company’s linked color logo.
  • All leads from the ads, as well as attendee leads, will be emailed to you after the conference and throughout the year following.
  • A 300x250 banner ad on the conference portal, which will remain accessible to conference attendees for six months after the conference (to revisit speaker presentations).

Keynote Speaker Bios.

Meet Our Keynote Speakers


Jason Roberts

Board of Directors Chair, Better Block Foundation


Ashok Gupta

Senior Energy Economist, Programs, NRDC


Speaker Bios.

Meet Our Speakers


Jack Crane

Senior VP and Director of Lending, Community Investment Corporation


Brian Stroik

Expert in Construction of Energy-efficient, Durable Buildings


Amy Jewel

Chicago City Advisor


Lesley Showers

Property Manager, ICA-USA


Kimberly Loewen

Associate Director, Technical Services and Building Technology, Elevate Energy


Aubrey Swift

Director of Design Integration, dbHMS


Benjamin Skelton

President of Cyclone Energy Group


Rick Tonielli

Senior Energy Efficiency Program Manager, ComEd


Moderator Bios.

Meet Our Moderators


Paul Bertram

President of PRB Connect LLC


Christina Koch

Editorial Director for retrofit magazine


Nathan M. Gillette

Director of Natura Architectural Consulting LLC



Please help us thank our sponsors by visiting their websites and learning about their retrofit products and solutions.


Registration questions at


98 Booth Meadow Lane

Durham NC 27713

Mon - Sat

8 am – 8 pm