Praxis (Building Solutions)

Current Work

Green Building and Sustainability Projects and Programs Still In Process

Cira Centre South – Chestnut Street Tower (EVO tower / The Grove) 

      

renderings by Erdy McHenry Architects

Integrative Design Facilitator, and lead LEED consultant for 450,000 SF private student housing project (the largest in the U.S.) serving primarily Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania students, seeking LEED Gold certification and housing Philadelphia’s Sustainability Education and Collaboration center. Client: Campus Crest Communities and Brandywine Realty Trust.

 

2401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 
PA - Green Office Building

 

image courtesy of Bedrock Group, LLC

We are the LEED consultant for this 8 story, 160,000SF multitenant office building in Center City Philadelphia, seeking LEED Core & Shell Platinum. The environmental performance upgrades to the 1890's B&O railroad building include a green roof, high performance windows, an energy management system, and a 17,500 gallon rainwater cistern that supplies all water for toilet flushing in the building. Additional upgrades will include Photovoltain solar panels, wind turbines, and site water capture. 

 

Ron Rambo Residence

  

Max is facilitating an Integrative Design for an innovative, high accessibility/independence home for an owner with Cerebral Palsy. The project will be intertwined as educational infrastructure with multiple higher education institutions, and is an official Sustainability Demonstration Project for the City of Lancaster. It will produce twice as much energy as it uses, will function as a hyrdologic healing engine (repairing the hyrdologic cycle as human and other living systems' water needs are met on site), will maximize air quality and material environmental performance, and the site will ultimately provide a significant percentage of Mr. Rambo's diet. The project is seeking LEED for Homes Platinum and will persue Living Building Challenge. The Fundraising and Permitting begining in early 2014. Client's own project website.

    

renderings by Kate Greim

Ecoxera - Multi-site Retail Sustainability Consulting

Via Praxis | Building Solutions, LLC we are running a retail Sustainability consulting company/division of a $100M/year Company, Davaco, Inc.

 

Tim Horton’s – Volume Certification Program

 

 

 

 

 

Begining with the certification of the Hamilton, ON location, we are supporting Tim Hortons goal of certifying 30 locations by 2016. We believe we will surpass this goal with the 9 restaurant locations pursuing LEED NC or CI Retail certification currently and by ramping up the company's LEED Volume Certification Program. 

 

PRSM - Professional Retail Store Managers' Association - Sustainability Resource Center

In collaboration with PRSM staff and a council of volunteers from across the retail industry, we are leading development of a broad and valuable set of sustainability planning and implementation tools, process guides, and best-practices. 

 

Sustainability Coworking Center 

            

Max is cofounder of a non-profit start-up called The Sustainability Nexus, dedicated to coalescing the abundant but fragmented energy of the regional sustainability movement, through entrepreneurship and innovation. Through a partnership we have just opened our coworking mothership and headquarters, CityCoHo | Philly NexusThis first major piece of infrastructure for the organization is a 13,000 SF coworking space (targeting LEED CI Platinum) for sustainability professionals, and professionals that give a rip about mankind and other living systems, but also want to have fun while trying to change the world.

 

University of Pennsylvania - AASHE STARS Assessment

   @      

We are supporting data gathering, and facilitating target assessment, goal setting, and implementation of improvements for a majority of operational divisions as part of a university-wide STARS program effort.

 

Weccacoe Flats

 

We are the lead coordinator of LEED for Homes documentation and certification support, for this multi-unit green residential development in Philadelphia, for Developer Bancroft Green. The project is on track for LEED Platinum. (Architect: Re:Vision)

images from Bancroft Green

Past Work

Competed Projects and Programs

 

ConEdison Company of New York, NY

 

We performed evaluation of the sustainability and potential for LEED certifications of standardized renovation approach of the company’s Manhattan headquarters

 

Stitzel Residence

Process Facilitator and Design Advisor for passive solar home in Lancaster, PA

                                                                                                                             

Elwyn Wechsler

 

Integrative Redesign Facilitator for 30,000 SF assisted living facility in Media, PA

LEED-NC certified

 

Owens Residence

Design and documentation for SIPs based, green home in Alexandria, VA

 

“Max has a very thorough understanding of the LEED rating system and submittal process and he is particularly proficient at explaining and providing distinct interpretations to those who are not familiar with the principles of the rating system or with general sustainable design practices. Faced with a particularly challenging situation where he was introduced to a project with LEED certification as a goal late in the design stage, Max effectively stepped in and led our project team in the appropriate direction enabling us to define our sustainable project goals and target the appropriate green design strategies that best met our project objectives.  Max proved to be an invaluable asset to our project team as he guided us through the process of LEED-focused design, construction, and LEED-Online documentation.”                                                   Melissa E. Dzielak, ARA, LEED AP BD+C

Project Architect - RHJ Associates, P.C. / Architects . Planners . Designers

Praxis | Building Solutions, LLC  client

 

Humanscale

Collaborated to create the first LEED credit for Ergonomics, and advised on how additional Human Factors might be included in LEED.       

 

Pentagon

   

Provided educational support and an all day workshop to the core group spearheading the greening of the Pentagon.

“We’ve had several of these workshops over the years, and this one was the best.”    -Joel Stout, Pentagon Green Building Organizer

 

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Director of Sustainability, BSD

 

Comprehensive Sustainability Planning

Overseeing sustainability assessment, goal setting and implementation across residential buildings, dining and hospitality, transportation, purchasing, and administration, and supporting campus wide sustainable initiatives including Penn’s Climate Action Plan, comprehensive waste audit and management plan, STARS certification evaluation and pursuit, and numerous green building projects.

 

Comprehensive Quantified Materials Flow Map

Designing framework and coordinating data collection and input for a system map that will allow analysis and intervention in material input, throughput, and output across campus.

 

Blue Ball Dairy Barn

Supported project technically, raising the project from its predicted LEED Silver, to Gold Certification

 

Charlottesville Transit Center

Similarly to BBDB, involvement led directly to raising the project from its predicted LEED Silver, to Gold Certification

 

Floydd’s Fork Park

Evaluated the project using an eco-system services valuation process, quantifying environmental (and economic) benefit of several possible outcome

 

Trinity Lakes Park

Provided as-needed technical input and guidance directly to principal-in-charge (e.g. wind power technologies, concrete recycled content environmental valuation, etc.) on this 2,200 acre civic and green infrastructure super-project

 

The Bloomington Airport South District Plan and Sustainability Framework

Helped planning team to leverage Criterion Planners’ INDEX tool’s output, and implement decisions informed by this data                                                                                   

 

Green Operations Implementation

Planned and oversaw the implementation of a comprehensive sustainable operations framework across all offices and disciplines

 

USGBC headquarters, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW, DC

LEED and Sustainable Design Guidance        

Supported the project throughout as a technical resource                                                                          

LEED-CI Platinum Certified


Project Chicago - Vaporware Proof of Concept

This vaporware video-demo was the product of a collaboration with two developers at Autodesk; envisioned the future of sustainable design technology.

 

 

 

For other work at USGBC see also Curriculum Development & Teaching

 

Several kidney dialysis centers

 

Sovereign Bank

3 branches

 

High-end residential interior renovation

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

 

First Montessori Charter School in Philadelphia

Initial Design and Proof of Concept

 

University of Pennsylvania - The Rhodebaugh Diabetes Center

Gut Rehab at Penn Tower, Philadelphia

 

University of Pennsylvania - New Bolton Center

New Construction - an equine veterinary facility that included offices, medical rooms, and an indoor riding arena with stalls

 

Merck - West Point Campus, Pennsylvania

Project Designer

Switchgear and Mechanical Building

 

Princeton University - Green Hall

Project Designer and Documentation Producer

Major Renovation to Historic Green Hall

The Department of Psychology

 

Merion Golf Club (a PGA tour golf course)

Designer and Documentation Producer

Clubhouse Renovation and Expansion

 

Several other labs and educational facilities

 

PA Department of Environmental Protection

Cambria office building

CAD and materials research

First LEED Gold certified building in Pennsylvania

Built for 4% less than traditional construction

 

PA Department of Environmental Protection

South-central office building

Proposed sun-controls retro-fit design

First LEED certified building in Pennsylvania

 

BOARDS, AND OTHER COMMITTEES & GROUPS

" As a fellow member of the Theater of the Seventh Sister’s board of directors I have found Max to be incredibly insightful in all discussions and decision-making processes. I particularly appreciate his ability to perceive the deeper implications of any situation, never getting caught in the most obvious aspects that are not necessarily "driving" the deeper levels of the issue.  I have found that his ability to authentically frame the circumstances around a particular decision or issue helps to clarify for the group what is really at hand. This ability leads the group to a deeper level of decision-making that is not reactively, but rather proactively driven, and responds to the actual, and not the perceptual issues. 

Similarly, as a fellow member of the Stahr Center’s Emergence Facilitation Team, I have found Max's commitment to authentic process invaluable.  He is able to not only help identify the underlying foundational values of this emerging organization, but to then move that critical philosophical and value oriented work toward consonant goals and strategies that insure that as the more "concrete" aspects of the process come to the forefront, the essential organizational or project truths are embedded into the actual organization and/or building that emerges." Gary Smith

Founding member, Co-Artistic Director and Board of Directors member of Theater of the Seventh Sister & The Stahr Center

 

The Sustainability NEXUS

Founder, Board Chair

 

Stahr Center for the Arts and Sustainability – Emergence Facilitation Team

An emerging, intentional, regenerative community in downtown Lancaster, PA

 

Theater of the Seventh Sister

Board Member

Lancaster, PA

 

Green Village Philadelphia (GVP)

Board Member, and Co-Chair of the Board

 

Other Committees & Groups

AASHE-STARS Technical Advisory Working Group - Buildings [2011-present]

AASHE-STARS Technical Advisory Working Group – Water [2010-present] 

USGBC LEED Implementation Advisory Committee (IAC) [2010-present]

USGBC-LEED Steering Committee (interim member) [2011]

AASHE-STARS version 2.0 Baseline Working Group [2011] 

USGBC-LEED Integrative Process Working Group [2010-2011]

Architecture For Humanity – Project Reviewer [2008]

Green Wizard – Board of Advisors - vested member [2007-present] 

 Built-Environment Development Working Group [2007-2010]

Green Village Philadelphia (now Good Company) [2007-2011]

LEED for Schools Product Development Committee – Technical Guidance [2005-2007]

LEED for New Construction Core Committee (NCCC) – Technical Guidance [2004-sunset] 

 

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, TEACHING, PUBLIC SPEAKING AND MEDIA EXPERIENCE 

“Once again yesterday was another fantastic seminar.  The topics and philosophies presented are so clear to me that I find myself in awe of your ability to present them so concisely.  I hope to one day be working with you in some capacity, whether with this firm or in some other way.  Both of your visits here have left me inspired and feeling ready to start a full-on revolution.   Anastasios Sioukas

Studio Agoos/Lovera

A workshop/seminar attendee

 

Curriculum Development & Teaching

 

USGBC Subject Matter Expert (SPE) & Instructional Design Advisor

On staff at USGBC: supported the development of several iterations and versions of the LEED workshops

As a consult (Praxis): served as a SPE on both the existing BD&C 100 and 301 level LEED workshops

 

Systems Thinking, Sustainability, Green Building, LEED, and Integrative Process

Have developed an interwoven, yet modular overall sustainability educational curriculum that can be deployed in pieces or in singular sessions, and can be contracted or expanded between 60 minutes and 45 hours

 

Mauritius

Collaborated with a co-teacher and a local point of contact to deploy the country’s first green building workshop, beginning the process of equipping the market to develop sustainably

 

Private LEED Exam Prep Course Webinar

6 hour, 6 part webinar LEED Exam prep course deployed internally for Humanscale sales staff, with a 100% pass rate

 

USGBC LEED Faculty                               

Approved Instructor for 8 USGBC workshops

 

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology                          

Built-Environment Technology (BET) Series

Developed and facilitated (taught) a 45 hour commercial green building course

Adjunct Faculty

 

“Max served as my thesis advisor and mentor while I was pursuing a master’s degree in interior architecture and design at Drexel University in 2010. My research and project focused on an integrative and holistic approach to urban sustainability. Max not only demonstrated an exemplary basis of sustainable knowledge, he also advised me in learning new technologies, processes, and performance documentation methods.

As I explored issues of sustainable construction, aesthetics, and performance, Max advocated for my ideas and motivated me to push them further. He kept me focused on an integrative approach and kept me focused on my goals. Over the course of many months of meetings, Max became more than an advisor for a thesis project; he became a mentor for my career and future.”

Noelle Via

2009-2010 Drexel University Interior Architecture Thesis Competition Winner

 

Drexel University                                      

Graduate Interior Design

Adjunct Faculty / Thesis Advisor

For select students with innovative, sustainability related proposals

(2010 and 2012 advisees won the thesis competition)

 

Design Studios

Frequent guest juror/critic and guest lecturer

 

Drexel Smart House

A student driven, high-tech, green building rehab to an existing historic building on campus

Critic/Advisor

 

General Lecture Series – Ethics

Mandatory course for all architecture students

Guest Lecturer - The Ethics of Sustainability

 

Discovering Architecture

High school level program for students considering architecture as an undergraduate major

Perennial Guest-Lecturer – Introduction to Sustainability

 

B-Corp Consulting Course

Currently planning a course in which undergraduate and graduate students will support companies pursing B-Corp certification (a rating system for triple-bottom line businesses). Students will support data collection to establish baselines and benchmarks, target assessment, goal setting, and implementation of company changes. Course to be implemented in Fall of 2013 term.

 

STARS* Compliance Consulting Course

Currently planning a course in which undergraduate and graduate students will collaborate on data collection to establish baselines and benchmarks in pursuit of STARS* status for Drexel University itself. Course to be implemented in Fall of 2013 term.

* STARS is a comprehensive higher education sustainability rating system.

 

Moore College of Art & Design            

Graduate Interior Design

Developed and facilitate (teach) a 22.5 hour general sustainability and green building elective course, once every 2 years

Adjunct Faculty

 

University of the Arts                              

Industrial Design Program

Guest Juror/Critic

 

Villanova                                                    

MBA Program

Perennial Sustainability Guest Lecturer

 

Green Education Services                     

LEED Exam Prep Workshop Instructor

 

Americorp/Camp HOPE for Kids         

Environmental Education Program for At-risk Youth Camp

Leading development of train-the-trainers and their ultimate education program for campers covering general sustainability, ecology, and Permaculture dedicated sessions and integration with outdoor activities, meals, and other camp educational programs like the conflict resolution program. Will be involved in roll-out even after train-the-trainers. Via Americorp, this program will likely be disseminated across the country.

 

Conference and Seminar Presentations                             

Greenbuild

USGBC’s Federal Summit

Greening the Heartland

REALgreen Sustainability Conference

Construction Managers Association of America Conference (CMAA)

BIFMA’s Conference

IFMA’s Conference

Adhesives and Sealants Council Conference

Numerous other private meetings and trade-association conferences

New York, National Capital and numerous other USGBC Chapters’ events

Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship - Sustainable Start-ups Lecture

  

Media Experience                                   

Officially quoted as an expert on sustainability, green building, LEED, BIM technology and/or Integrative process in:

The New York Times

San Francisco Chronicle

Chicago Tribune

Metropolis

Building Design + Construction Magazine

Contract Magazine

Numerous other building industry trade magazines

The Grays Ferry Project

A solar demonstration project from the last round of the green building movement

By Max Zahniser

My wife and I, independently, have both wanted to live in a green demonstration project for many years. in 2009 we bought our first home together, and we were lucky enough to happen upon 2233 Grays Ferry Avenue during our real estate search. As the article below explains in detail, the project actually has quite a history, having been turned into a residential solar demonstration project by Don Prowler, an innovative, early sustainable design practitioner and educator who taught just across the river at the University of Pennsylvania, where I have served as Director of Sustainability, BSD, and continue to support several sustainability initiatives. Although the systems described in the 4 page article below were hindered by a subsequent renovation before we bought the house, and those systems have deteriorated a bit over the last 30+ years, we still gain substantial heating benefit and thus energy savings in the winter. We've begun planning for, and hope to implement another renovation to the property soon, turning it back into a demonstration project, this time covering sustainable living in a comprehensive way. We feel blessed to have inherited this sustainable design landmark, and hope to return it to its position of prominence and educational service. 

A technical sustainability consulting company with clients and strategic partners including University of Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, B Lab, the U.S. Green Building Council, Autodesk, Con Edison Company of New York, Wallace Roberts & Todd, Humanscale.