Helena is a designer and sustainability consultant specializing in green building renovations. She has worked on sustainable design issues for 18 years, LEED Accredited since 2004. Helena was previously a structural engineer and worked with professional associations to create green standards, product category rules and green structure design guidelines. Most recently Helena completed a Passive House renovation on her own home, started working with private clients and became a parent. Helena is very slowly building her own design firm, ScrapD.Helena began studying sustainable design and environmentally appropriate technology in 1997. Originally an artist, Helena received a second bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2001. As a Switzer Fellow (2006) Helena completed an M.S. in Engineering at UC Berkeley, with a real yet unofficial major in sustainable design and the business case. Her research thesis “Concrete for a Warming World” explores using wastes (rice husk ash, fly ash and limestone flour) to replace a significant portion of the portland cement in concrete, alongside a synergistic integration of cement, power and agriculture facilities. It is available online. Helena is in several leadership roles. As vice-chair of national sustainability committee (ASCE/SEI), she drew upon her Switzer experience and brought in a collaborative, transparent and do-ocracy style of leadership. In 2010 the committee published a comprehensive book: Sustainability Guidelines for the Structural Engineer. Helena was a lead author on three chapters. A leader at Net Impact’s San Francisco Professionals chapter, Helena convenes an annual Climate Update Panel following the UNFCC/COP meetings and helps produce annual The Greenermind Summit. As a Clean Tech Open volunteer, Helena has served several times as a Sustainability Judge, this year as lead in the finals. Helena has an expansive curiosity around systems, impacts and solution finding. She welcomes a great diversity of projects and learning opportunities.
Fellow at a Glance
San Francisco, CA 94110