2019 40 Under 40: Tim Zelazny, RA, LEED AP, WELL AP, CPHC, BECxP; 33

Envelope and Healthy Building Specialist, ESD, Chicago BArch and MArch, North Dakota State University, Fargo

By Jack Smith and Amara Rozgus May 16, 2019

Zelazny’s passion for sustainability took him to San Francisco to work for renowned architecture firm Perkins + Will. He worked with some of the nation’s leading experts in net zero energy design and material toxicity research on projects, such as the world’s largest net zero (energy and waste) airport and a mixed-mode ventilation fitness and health center that is pursuing U.S. Green Building Council LEED v4 Gold and WELL v1 Gold certification. In 2016, he moved to Chicago to focus on sustainability at ESD and to be closer to family. With his previous expertise in envelope and material toxicity research, he became ESD’s first envelope and healthy buildings specialist. He now leads the firm’s building envelope commissioning practice and is working on the nation’s first WELL Core and Shell Gold high-rise building. Zelazny is an active volunteer with Illinois Green Alliance, Passive House Alliance Chicago and The Saints Volunteers for the Performing Arts. He serves on the Illinois Green Alliance Code SWAT Committee, where he advises Chicago on local code barriers, code adoptions and incentives to get to net zero energy design. He also has served as a guest sustainable architecture critic for the California College of the Arts. When the weather is above freezing, he bikes to work and to run errands. In 2018, Zelazny biked more than 550 miles, which equates to roughly 375 pounds of reduced carbon emissions (22 gallons of gas saved). It’s not unknown for him to travel more than 10 miles on mass transit for lunch at his favorite farm-to-table café or to bike to a social event instead of taking a cab. Some may call him frugal or crazy, but he calls it eco-friendly. 

Author Bio: Jack Smith is a Content Manager at CFE Media. Amara Rozgus is Editor-in-Chief of Consulting-Specifying Engineer.