Praxis (Building Solutions)

ABOUT - Max Zahniser

LEED® Fellow

LEED®–AP Legacy 2003

USGBC LEED® Faculty™
NCARB | Associate AIA

Max Zahniser is a sustainability, innovation, and integration educator and facilitator. He has a broad background in architecture, and deep roots in green building, having worked on 2 of the first 15 LEED certified buildings in the world, and while on staff at the U.S. Green Building council certified a majority of the first 500 LEED buildings in the world. While at USGBC Max also contributed to the development of nearly every LEED rating system, and managed USGBC’s relationship with Google, Adobe, Autodesk, and others, having developed the precursors to GBIG, LEED Automation, and the LEED Volume Certification Program. He provided high level technical consulting to 100's of LEED project teams and directed LEED® technical staff, spearheading the program's internal process improvement efforts, and provided technical oversight to USGBC's LEED and Education staff in a variety of ways. 

Max has been cited/quoted as an expert on various aspects of sustainability and innovation in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Building Design + Construction, Metropolis, Contract, Environmental Building News, and in live interviews for NPR stations. He also acted as a contributing author for a book titled: The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building - Redefining the Practice of Sustainability, published by Wiley in 2009, as well as a report titled The Social Network of Integrative Design, published by the Institute for the Built Environment in 2015.

Max spent a year as Director of Sustainability at Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT), (a planning, landscape and architecture firm with a rich heritage in sustainable work). He also served as Director of Sustainability, BSD, at University of Pennsylvania, and in 2007 started his own green building and sustainability consulting practice. He also cofounded The Sustainability NEXUS, a non-profit seeking to coalesce the abundant, but fragmented energy already flowing into social and environmental initiatives. 

Max also has standing strategic partnerships with the Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI), B-Lab (developers of the B-Corporation certification system for beneficial companies), and is a Technical Advisor for AASHE's STARS certification system for colleges and universities.  Max teaches design, technology, and sustainability curriculum at Drexel University, Philadelphia University, Moore College of Art & Design, and with the GREEN Program, and as a guest lecturer at many other institutions and industry specific or sustainability conferences alike. He continues to support the development of LEED, AASHE’s STARS program for higher education sustainability, and other national and international sustainability programs


Max is related to the late Howard Zahniser, the primary author of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which to this day protects over a 106 thousand acres of wilderness in the U.S.

See these two articles for current and past project work. 

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.