Ralph Bicknese, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, LEED Fellow

Ralph Bicknese, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, LEED Fellow is a nationally recognized sustainable design leader with over 40 years of experience and is a principal and co-founder of Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects. His expertise has been demonstrated throughout his career starting with sustainable community committee work with the City of Ames, Iowa in 1980 and most recently on several pioneering projects seeking certification to the Living Building Challenge and/or the LEED Green Building Rating System. Mr. Bicknese has significant experience in all phases of the architectural process including as a principal with complete project responsibility. Ralph’s objective is for every act of design and construction to enrich life.

His role as sustainability consultant for The Gateway Arch National Park Arch Visitor Center & Museum is his largest project to date at over $130 million in project cost. It involved a complex international team, and achieved LEED Gold certification in January 2019.

Ralph assisted in the founding of the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter where he served as Chair, Past Chair, Program Chair, Government Advocacy Chair, and as the chapter’s Green School Advocate. He was a juror on the USGBC-Minnesota Chapter’s 2011 Leadership in Sustainability Awards, served on two Greenbuild Session Selection Committees, the Greenbuild 2005 Program Committee, USGBC Advisory Committee on Haiti Recovery, initiated, helped organize and facilitate the Katrina Charrettes at Greenbuild 2005, and was a contributor to The New Orleans Principles. Ralph is a former board member of the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (Washington, DC) and Vice Chairman of the SMART Sustainable Building Product Committee (Washington, DC), served on the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District Sustainable Futures Committee, serves on the Maplewood, MO Sustainability Commission, is 2019 Co-chair and Chair-elect of the AIA Materials Knowledge Working Group, a member of the AIA Sustainable Leadership Group and is a frequent mentor, juror, panelist and lecturer for architectural and sustainability courses. He served on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s Home Building and Residential Energy Efficiency Panel in 2009, served as an Advisor on the State of Missouri MDNR-Department of Energy Missouri Energy Stakeholder Process in 2011, was a peer reviewer for the Public School District’s Adherence to Guidelines For Environmentally Sound Practices in 2010 and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s Missouri’s Energy Efficiency Potential: Opportunities for Economic Growth and Energy Sustainability in 2011, and worked with State Legislators to establish the Missouri Green Schools Legislative Caucus in 2009.

Ralph is an ardent champion and advocate for transformative green building at local, state and federal levels. He has served and continues to serve on several boards and committees dedicated to widespread sustainability, has participated in several publications and is a frequent mentor, juror and panelist for students at K-12 schools, universities and colleges and frequently lectures on numerous facets of green building.

Show Highlights

  • Benefits and support of various trade organizations.
  • Volunteering tips to transform sustainability and your career. 
  • Sneak peek into the AIA and Mindful Materials presentation at the AIA Chicago Conference. 
  • Ralph reflects on some pioneering projects and tackling earlier energy crises. 
  • ??Ames Sustainability action plan is a model for others to follow.
  • AIA’s resources and action committee to “Propel the bell” for practitioners to adopt sustainability.
    • Materials
    • Equity
    • Climate action
    • Framework for design excellence
    • Ten principles
  • Choosing less harmful products to protect “fence line” communities and people within buildings. 
  • Climate Action Equity for a holistic approach and material selection pledge. 
  • EC3 tool and common materials framework to select carbon content products and lifecycle analysis.
  • Ralph’s vision of where buildings, regenerative design, and materials will go using nature as a model. 

Get the episode transcript here!

Ralph Bicknese’s Show Resource and Information

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