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Z Smith, Phd, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Selected as 2015 LEED Fellow


LEED Fellows are best-of-the-best in green building design, engineering and development.

New Orleans, LA – (October 20, 2015) – Eskew+Dumez+Ripple announces that Z Smith, a Principal with the firm and Director of Sustainability & Building Performance, has been named a 2015 LEED Fellow by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). This year’s 35 Fellows are being honored for their outstanding work as LEED Professionals and for the significance of their contributions to the green building community at large. The LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals and it is the most prestigious designation awarded from GBCI.

“Z is a remarkable individual who has emerged a leader in the green building movement,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO, GBCI and CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “His expertise and excitement motivates all of us to continue to look ahead to what’s next and to continue the innovation that has been the hallmark of our movement. Sharing his passion, knowledge and commitment, Z anchors both the past and the future of our movement."

To be selected, LEED Fellows are nominated by their peers, undergo an extensive portfolio review, must have at least 10 years of experience in the green building industry and hold a LEED AP with specialty credential, among other requirements. The evaluation process is carried out by the LEED Fellow evaluation committee.

Upon learning that he had been so honored, Z recalled the words of humorist Art Buchwald, who observed that “If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.”

Z has helped shape a number of signature green buildings, including the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and the New Orleans BioInnoviation Center (NOBIC).  The CIRS project (a classroom and office building on the campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver) earned LEED Platinum certification and was one of the first projects to pursue the Living Building Challenge, and was honored with the 2015 Canada Green Building award.    NOBIC was cited by the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) as one of the 2015 AIA COTE Top Ten, an award that signifies the integration of design excellence, beauty, and exceptional performance.  He also spearheaded a joint effort between Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and the Tulane School of Architecture to win the 2011 NCARB Prize, integrating training in high environmental performance into the Tulane architectural curriculum; the materials developed are now used in programs around the country.   Z has also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the US Green Building Council, which was instrumental in the defeat of anti-green-building legislation in the Louisiana legislature.

The 2015 LEED Fellows will be recognized in Washington, DC at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which is being held Nov.18-20, 2015. The nomination period for the 2016 LEED Fellows class will open in January. For more information about the LEED Fellow, visit

About Z Smith, PhD, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Z Smith has been involved in nationally published sustainability research and design for the past ten years. He has served as a Project Architect for carbon neutral, net-zero energy and net-zero water use buildings, and taught sustainable design courses at universities in the U.S. and Canada. 

With training and experience in the fields of architecture, physics, information technology, and renewable energy, Smith serves as the Director of Sustainability & Building Performance. He integrates his broad range of skills in service of lowering the environmental footprint of each of our buildings, while continuing to help us deliver projects on time and on budget. He brings an approach of scientific rigor to green design in our studio’s wide array of community, educational, and institutional projects, and brings tremendous added value to our clients through the reduction of energy consumption, and subsequently the reduction of energy bills.

In addition to his Directorial role within our practice, Z is also a frequent public speaker on sustainable design issues, Chair of the USGBC Louisiana Chapter, and an adjunct professor at the Tulane School of Architecture.

About Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)
The Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally.

Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems as well as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL building standard, the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) and the GRESB benchmark, which is used by institutional investors to improve the sustainability performance of the global property sector.

About Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Since its founding in 1989 Eskew+Dumez+Ripple has built a nationally recognized practice of distinction with a particular emphasis on projects of lasting cultural and social value. As an architectural, interiors and urban design firm based in New Orleans, LA, the firm recognizes the importance of the unique culture and architectural heritage of its surroundings and generates design that is considerate of historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and sensitivity to the character of place. Its commitment to enhance and protect both the cultural and natural environments of the communities it serves is evident in the beauty and technical craftsmanship of its designs and the enduring sustainable legacy of its projects.

For more information, visit:




TSA faculty at the AIA Resilience Summit

TSA adjunct faculty member Z Smith (Principal at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple) has been invited to present at the AIA Resilience Summit 10/16/15 in Washington DC on the topic of “Learning from New Orleans: Communities and Resilience”.   This gathering will celebrate revolutionary new ideas as experts from across the nation explore emerging platforms of policy and practices in mitigation and resilience. Bringing together a diverse group of building industry representatives, the Resilience Summit will underscore the relationship between Resilience and the Built Environment and look ahead to what’s next.


Learning from New Orleans: Communities and Resilience

Z Smith, AIA


Many people use the term "resilience," but rarely is it fully understood. How is it different from durability, strength, adaptability, sustainability, or emergency preparedness?

New Orleans has a front-row seat to climate change, disappearing coasts, and extreme weather events.  It also is a case study in how community drives resiliency—or (to paraphrase the old saying), how friends will get you through times with inadequate structural protection better than structural protection will get you through times with no friends.  This talk will take a look at how New Orleans actually came back after Katrina and is transforming itself into a 21st century city while preserving its culture, and the role a design firm can play in supporting moves towards a more resilient city.  More specifically, EDR has developed a toolkit we call “A Framework for Resilient Design”, for use in our work at scales from individual buildings to urban resilience plans, and will share what it has learned so far in applying this framework to ongoing projects.


  • Placing architectural resilience in the context of the origins of the term in ecology and social science
  • How community complements structural measures in architectural resilience
  • Strategies appropriate at larger scales, moving beyond individual buildings (n=1)  to synergies available to multi-building (n>1) approaches.
  • Case studies to drive home key themes, including the roles of building design, community planning, site response, operations, and feedback loops


Resilience Summit Event Schedule


TSA alumni and faculty work on project that receives COTE Top Ten Award


The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC)—a four-story, 65,000 SF, LEED Gold Certified, biotechnology laboratory and incubator facility—has been recognized as one of the year’s Top Ten Green Projects by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).

Designed by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the building is the first laboratory in the State of Louisiana to achieve LEED-Gold Certification and balances beauty with function resulting in a facility that consumes less energy than 90% of its peers. Read the story here.

Tulane School of Architecture members who worked on the project:

José Alvarez, TSA '97,  Project Architect
Cynthia Dubberley, TSA '97,  Project Manager
Z Smith, TSA Faculty,  Director of Sustainability 

U.S. Green Building Council Elects Tulane Affiliates to the 2014 Board of Directors

Congratulations to Amber Beezley TSA '04 , Interim Director, University Planning Office / Project Manager for the Richardson Memorial Hall Project, Z Smith, Tulane Adjunct Faculty member and Andrew Liles TSA '09, Tulane Adjunct Faculty member; for recently being elected to the U.S. Green Building Council 2014 Board of Directors. 

Welcome: 2014 Board of Directors
With a big year ahead of us, USGBC Louisiana proudly welcomes our new leadership.

Amber Beezley, Tulane University (Alternate)
Andrew Liles, AM Liles Architect/ Tulane University
Craig Turner, Make It Right
Ed Jenkins, CSRS
Geoff Zawacki, Blue Frog Building Performance
Grasshopper Mendoza, Latter & Blum Inc. (Alternate)
Heather Tank, TLC Engineering
Jason Zuckerman, McDonnel Group
Jay Dlugos, Gallo Mechanical
Jeff Grindstaff, Siemens
Michael Pousson, Reit Management and Research
Matthew Hedrick, Republic Services/Allied Waste
Pete Robinson, Coastal Renovation and Construction
Z Smith, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple