The Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) provides advice and analysis to assist public and private facilities within the State of Illinois in achieving energy efficiency savings and reducing the Illinois energy footprint.
SEDAC Executive Director
Dr. Brian Deal is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois. He is actively engaged in teaching and research on issues relating to energy systems and sustainable planning. His scholarship includes the study of planning from an energy conservation perspective, urban land use transformation and modeling, planning for climate change, and approaches that enable communities to make better (more sustainable) decisions. He is the Director of the University’s Smart Energy Design Assistance Center; Director of the LEAM laboratory; and active in number of University and community sustainability initiatives; he also collaborates with several international Universities on comparative approaches to planning and urban sustainability. His work has been supported by a host of regional, state, federal, and international agencies. Brian Deal is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois. He is actively engaged in teaching and research on issues relating to energy systems and sustainable planning. His scholarship includes the study of planning from an energy conservation perspective, urban land use transformation and modeling, planning for climate change, and approaches that enable communities to make better (more sustainable) decisions. He is the Director of the University’s Smart Energy Design Assistance Center; Director of the LEAM laboratory; and active in number of University and community sustainability initiatives; he also collaborates with several international Universities on comparative approaches to planning and urban sustainability. His work has been supported by a host of regional, state, federal, and international agencies.
More information on Brian Deal
Assistant Director, Monitoring and Evaluation
Karen Winter-Nelson manages program tracking and reporting for SEDAC. She oversees the design and operation of data collection, management, and analysis for all SEDAC activities.
Karen has over twenty years of experience conducting research and analysis for policy and program use. She has experience in the areas of research design, project management, data management, analysis, planning, survey work, and editing. She started at SEDAC in 2008. Her past work includes research and analysis related to affordable and low-income housing for local, state, and federal governments and organizations.
Karen has a Master of City Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Director of Research
Robert Nemeth is a Building Energy Specialist for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). He consults with Illinois businesses to help them identify cost effective improvements to their planned or existing buildings and equipment to increase energy efficiency. Studies examine insulation levels, the effects of different glazing types, roof characteristics, mechanical system alternatives, lighting systems and controls, and more.
Robert has also worked at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (USACERL) for eight years as a researcher in the Energy Systems Division performing many of the same functions as at SEDAC.
Robert has his own architectural practice and also works for the Building Research Council (BRC) at the University of Illinois. BRC projects include investigating mold in Native American Housing for ONAP/HUD, and energy related work. He has been to approximately 36 Reservations to investigate moisture related housing problems, and provide on-site technical assistance. Robert also was the technical consultant on two videos addressing mold issues and building practices in Native American Housing.
Robert is a licensed Architect in the State of Illinois. He has been involved with the design and construction of buildings since 1975. He has a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, a Masters of Architecture, and Master of Science in Civil Engineering, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has taught building technology courses at the University of Illinois in the School of Architecture and at Parkland College in the Building Sciences Department.
Senior Building Energy Specialist
Todd Rusk is a Senior Building Energy Specialist at the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC), and he manages the Mini-Retro-Commissioning (Mini-RCx) program and conducts energy assessments for public sector, commercial, industrial, institutional and not-for-profit facilities. Two particular areas of energy efficiency specialization include industrial processes and HVAC systems. Todd holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been recognized as a Certified Energy Manager™ by the Association of Energy Engineers since 2002.
For the past 15 years, Todd has served in various roles related to technical assistance, technology development, and applied research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In these roles he developed expertise in sustainability for manufacturing processes, specifically the reduction of energy, water, waste, and chemicals, in diverse settings ranging from heavy industry manufacturing complexes to small fabric dye shops. In his current role at SEDAC managing the Mini-RCx program, Todd works extensively with public sector facilities smaller than 120,000 square feet, helping these facilities realize significant energy cost savings through low-to-no-cost investments in HVAC system control measures.
In addition to his work at UIUC, Todd serves as a commissioner on the City of Urbana Sustainability Advisory Commission, where he helped to develop the City of Urbana Climate Action Plan and the City of Urbana Water Plan.
Assistant Director, Outreach and Communications
Eileen Westervelt is a Building Energy Specialist for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). She performs energy assessments for small businesses and identifies strategies to increase business profitability by enhancing the energy and cost performance of building construction, space conditioning equipment, standard appliances/ equipment, specialized commercial/ industrial processes, and power generation. Recently her work on energy trends and options for Army installations received national and international attention as is was discussed in the US Congress and reviewed by US News and World Report, Energy Bulletin and Global Public Media.
Eileen served as a Research Engineer for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center/Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) for fifteen years. She led the Strategic Energy Planning group, which reviewed and suggested improvement opportunities for Army Energy Programs, including energy management, energy security, and building construction. These comprehensive recommendations were supported with policy, business process, energy, financial and pollution assessments. As program manager of REEP, an energy modeling software, Eileen was responsible for model enhancements, software releases and website design and maintenance. On the Energy Security Plans team, she assessed distributed generation (DG) options for increased electrical security at Army installations. She co-developed a screening tool for assorted DG technologies including renewable energy, fuel cells, micro turbines, and internal/external combustion engines. She managed assorted energy demonstration and verification projects of building envelope upgrades, HVAC equipment and controls, and commissioning efforts. She is a registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Energy Manager and member of AEE (Association of Energy Engineers) and SAME (Society of American Military Engineers). She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois.
Director, Training and Education
Andy Robinson is the Program Director for Training and Education and is responsible for SEDAC’s internal and external education efforts. This includes the new staff and intern training program, public workshops, professional development courses, and development of online training materials. He has performed numerous energy audits and building energy modeling for public and private clients, along with public outreach and consultation for civic and community groups in Illinois.
Previous teaching experience includes five summers teaching environmental science at Boy Scout Camp, teaching LEGO robotics to at-risk youth in Hartford, and lecturing at various university courses. As a course instructor for UP466: Energy and Planning in the Built Environment, Robinson teaches the world energy outlook, building energy analysis, and building energy modeling to students from disciplines across campus, including Urban Planning, Architecture, and Mechanical Engineering.
Robinson attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT as an Illinois Scholar, graduating with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, and a concentration in City Studies. His first career work was with an East-coast marine survey company, where he processed data from side-scan sonar surveys of underwater sites for wind turbines, power cables, and pipelines. After a trip to the 2007 Solar Decathlon on the mall in Washington, Robinson signed up for a LEED certification course with a local green architectural firm. He is a LEED accredited professional, a Certified Energy Manager, and member of AEE (Association of Energy Engineers).
Building Energy Specialist
Building Energy Specialist
Chief Executive of 360 Energy Group
Wael El-Sharif is Chief Executive and founder of 360 Energy Group, an international energy consulting firm. He plays a major role in the strategic development and oversight of the Smart Energy Design Assistance Program. Prior to 360, he was Executive Director at the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium a $100+ million public-private emerging technology market transformation collaborative. He develops, implements, and directs internal and external strategies, policies, operations, business planning and business development activities, technology deployment initiatives, and market mobilization programs for corporate clients, electric utilities, energy services companies, and government agencies (state, federal, international). He is an expert in energy efficiency and renewable energy technology, assessment and commercialization.
Wael is a skilled policy maker and has helped influence public legislation, regulation and rulemakings in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has helped many energy companies and businesses increase profits.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and a Master of Engineering Management in Marketing of Technology from the George Washington University.
Mike Stanch is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN and William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN. Mike has over 19 years of experience in the lighting energy efficiency field and has worked in almost every type of building from hospitals to retail to office space as well as schools and universities. He is a Design Assistance Expert with SEDAC as well as a trade ally to the Com Ed, Ameren and SEDAC energy efficiency programs.
Mike’s role as Energy Solutions Manager is to provide outreach services, technical support and implementation coordination for SEDAC customers looking to implement SEDAC recommendations. He is also involved in helping SEDAC customers access available financial resources like utility and government incentives and financing.
360EG Program Director
Ashley has more than 10 years of experience in environmental management and policy. Most recently, she worked for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago (RHAMC), where she managed the Illinois Campaign to Clean Up Diesel Pollution, a coalition of more than 100 public health, business, labor, and environmental organizations committed to reducing diesel pollution in the state. Previous to her employment at RHAMC, she worked for a national leading environmental organization in Washington DC where she worked to advance clean air, renewable, and energy policy. Ashley received a B.S. in Environmental Science from DePaul University in Chicago and M.A. in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy from George Washington University in Washington DC.
Simon Nowak completed his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over eight years in the sustainability industry, Simon has provided clients with a variety of services including commissioning, retro-commissioning, energy audits, and LEED consulting. Simon has participated and led projects in a diverse set of sectors including residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and government. As a contractor for Com Ed, Simon provided consulting services for the City of Chicago energy reduction program, recommending strategies that could result in an energy savings of over five million kWh.
At 360 Energy Group, Simon provides technical assistance to clients and manages technical aspects of SEDAC design assistance and retro-commissioning projects.
Alex recently received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University. While attending Valparaiso, Alex assisted in various research, including research in ultra-high temperature ceramics for the reentry of spacecraft.
Zydre is the Accountant/Office Manager at 360 Energy Group and has two undergraduate degrees. One is Civil Engineering from Kaunas Technology University in Lithuania and other one in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Zydre has over eight years of experience in the office management, HR, accounting, and finance fields.
At 360 Energy Group, Zydre manages company HR and accounting, as well as, office management duties. Additionally she assists the SEDAC program in program management and issuing and processing contracts.
Amaan Laheri is a Mechanical Engineer with more than 7 years of professional experience in Mechanical and Energy engineering. Amaan has developed and managed energy efficiency programs across the United States and has also worked internationally as a sustainability consultant. At 360 Energy Group, he utilizes his past experience to identify and quantify energy saving measures for his clients. In addition, he provides building retro-commissioning services and comprehensive energy audits to best serve his client’s interests.
Prior to his employment with 360 Energy Group, Amaan had worked as a Lead Engineer with the ComEd Smart Ideas for your Business program for 3 years. He has a strong background in building automation systems, cogeneration plants, LEED building rating systems, new construction commissioning, and industrial processes. Amaan has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialization in New Construction.