About

Carl S. Sterner, LEED AP, ASSOC. AIA, is the owner of Sterner Design, which provides bright green design and consulting. He previously worked as a Product Manager and Director of Product Marketing at Sefaira, where he helped to create game-changing performance analysis software for architects and engineers, and as a Designer at William McDonough + Partners, where he worked on a number of ambitious sustainable projects, including a Net Positive Energy, LEED Platinum residence.

Carl's work is an effort to leverage the built environment to help foster a truly sustainable society — not only ecologically viable, but also more livable, joyous, and humane. This means tackling not only the technical aspects of sustainability (energy efficiency, resource conservation, etc.), but also the structural socio-economic issues that are at the root of un-sustainability. This work is currently progressing along three fronts:

  • Rethinking architectural practice. How can architects produce work that is consistently sustainable and equitable? This involves rethinking design processes, firm culture, and business models.
  • Resilience, broadly defined. Resilience is core to long-term sustainability; but it must be understood as far more than "disaster preparedness." Carl served on the Advisory Committee for the LEED Pilot credits on Resilience, including helping to develop the Passive Habitability credit — and is working to build upon this foundation to broaden the discourse around resilience.
  • Making sustainability affordable. High-performance building must be cost-competitive to address the twin challenges of climate change and inequality. Carl's Iowa Nest Residence is one experiment in affordability, targeting Net Zero on a conventional budget. He also serves on the board of NEST (no relation to the other Nest), a community redevelopment organization dedicated to affordable, sustainable housing.

Carl publishes frequently on sustainability issues. His writing has been featured in ArchDaily, AEC Magazine, and in the peer-reviewed volume New Directions in Sustainable Design (Routledge, 2011).

Carl's other passion is music. He has studied music composition at The Julliard School and Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, and his compositions have been performed in New York and Cincinnati.

He lives in Cincinnati with his wonderful wife, Colleen, and his two children, Theo and Isaac.