Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Green Building Matters Podcast with Charlie Cichetti

May 27, 2020

As a licensed architect and LEED Fellow, Susan Heinking has over a decade of experience designing and managing sustainability programs and initiatives. She currently leads all of Pepper Construction's sustainable projects and is also an active advocate for sustainability in the Chicago and other regional markets. Her many initiatives include Chicago's Energy Benchmarking Ordinance, the AIA2030 Chicago Working Group, co-chairing Chicago's AIA COTE knowledge group, participating in RETROFIT Chicago, and working with the Chicago Biomimicry Group. In addition, she leads over $2.4 billion in high-performance projects. Some of my top accomplishments include designing the first biophilic Walgreens flagship store in Northwestern Hospital, managing the Google Chicago headquarters sustainability efforts, designing the first functional Net Zero construction trailer and currently working to make the world's first net-zero zoo in Cincinnati.

Her work at Pepper enables her to put design into action, provide decision-making tools that determine investment paybacks and reduced operating costs, lead Pepper's projects to their sustainability goals, assist clients with their corporate environmental compliance during construction, and put existing buildings on a path to sustainability. Her vision for Pepper includes expanding the high-performance perspective to create greater value through building performance and human performance. This includes enhancing existing efforts with energy modeling, ROI analysis, and local utility incentives as well as building on Pepper's healthy jobsite initiative "Nothing Hits the Floor" program and promoting the use of healthy building materials and construction practices to protect the long-term health of construction workers.

She holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon and is an active presenter at multiple national sustainability conventions. 


Show Highlights 

  • Susan shares how a mentor is an important asset in boosting your career
  • Understand the process of how to sell sustainability to clients
  • How to avoid being a line item in a budget and clarify the green benefits 
  • Learn Susan’s Four Solutions strategy to every building and other valuable programs 
  • The benefits of  shifting the conversation from sustainability to high performance and building functionality


“I really look at architecture and building as just another form of art in the community. The fact that buildings impact so many people, people that you're probably never going to meet, I think that you have a personal tie into everything that you touch, that you design, that you build. Then, you can, drive down the road and just point out to your kids, “You know, mom built that or mom was part of that project. There's that pride factor.”



Susan Heinking Transcript


Susan’s Show Resources and Information


Connect with Charlie Cichetti and GBES

Charlie on LinkedIn

Green Building Educational Services

GBES on Twitter

Connect on LinkedIn

Like on Facebook


GBES Pinterest Pins

GBES on Instagram


GBES is excited our membership community is growing. Consider joining our membership community as members are given access to some of the guests on the podcasts that you can ask project questions. If you are preparing for an exam, there will be more assurance that you will pass your next exam, you will be given cliff notes if you are a member, and so much more. Go to to learn more about the 4 different levels of access to this one-of-a-kind career-advancing green building community!

If you truly enjoyed the show, don't forget to leave a positive rating and review on iTunes.  We have prepared more episodes for the upcoming weeks, so come by again next week! Thank you for tuning in to the Green Building Matters Podcast!

Copyright © 2020 GBES