Cara Carmichael's background in both architecture and engineering has served as the cross disciplinary foundation for her passion of working on strategic energy design and master planning in buildings and portfolios.
"Cara Carmichael is a Principal with RMI’s buildings practice where she leads RMI’s grid interactive buildings work. Cara drives critical research around demand flexibility and the value proposition for building owners to adopt grid interactive buildings and market models for solutions. She is leading several high-impact efforts with NYSERDA on the Carbon Neutral Building Roadmap pathways and impact analysis and has a depth of experience in zero carbon and deep energy retrofits in the federal and commercial building sectors. Highlights of her work include creating best practices to achieve zero over time, negotiating one of the first net zero energy commercial leases in the U.S., leading the design and construction for two of RMI’s net zero energy offices and guiding the GSA to double their historic energy savings using performance contracting. Cara also co-leads the Pathways to Zero initiative at RMI which is catalyzing early movers in the buildings industry on a path to—or beyond—zero carbon buildings, by working with individual buildings, districts, cities and portfolios.
Prior to joining RMI in 2005, Cara worked at ENSAR Group, a sustainable design consulting firm, providing general sustainable design consulting, energy modeling and analysis, daylight modeling and analysis, charrette development and LEED consulting. She consulted on a variety of projects including K-12 schools, universities and national park facilities, and she assisted with the development of sustainable design guidelines locally and internationally. Cara also managed project data for an in-depth laboratory case study evaluated by the Green Building Tool, an international green building rating system. She managed LEED certification efforts for over 15 certified projects including the Spruce Street Offices (first LEED Platinum CI project in Colorado), LSR Preserve (LEED NC v2.1 Platinum), the Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (LEED NC v2.1 Platinum), the University of Denver College of Law (LEED NC v2.1 Gold) and the University of Colorado Memorial Center (LEED EB Silver). Cara holds a Masters of Civil Engineering and a Bachelors of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado. "