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Kyle Ritchie, MDS-SD ’17, Is Helping Bring Sustainability to the Forefront of Design

Kyle Ritchie, MDS-SD ’17

Kyle Ritchie, MDS-SD '17, LEED AP, was an undergraduate at Ball State University in Indiana when he realized he didn't want to be an architect. Originally enrolled in the school's architecture program, Kyle became interested in how the natural world can influence and facilitate high-performance designs and transitioned to an environmental science program. In 2015, Kyle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, with a minor is Sustainable Land Systems.

While completing his undergraduate degree, Kyle had an "a-ha moment" and realized that his scientific studies would serve the architecture and design community well. Through a professor at Ball State, Kyle was in touch with then Boston Architectural College (BAC) Director of Sustainable Design Shawn O'Rourke. After speaking with Shawn, Kyle knew he wanted to study at the BAC because he could continue to work full time while spending time in Boston periodically each semester.

Kyle was struck by how the BAC organized its program. "The BAC really establishes a nice online platform to introduce you to your classmates and professors. The program is arranged in a way where you are introduced to the content of the course, and then, once you have your initial project, you travel to the BAC to work on it with classmates and your professors. The BAC‘s distance programs allows students to create a balance of onsite work and online work which is fantastic. Plus, being able to meet students from all over the world, work with them, and make long-lasting friendships is an added benefit and unique to this kind of program."

While a student at the BAC, Kyle was involved on campus, helping with a Summer Academy workshop with Luis Montalvo, the BAC's director of Media Arts. "When I was in high school, I participated in a program similar to Summer Academy, held at Ball State University. To get to be on the other side of it now, serving as a mentor for students, was a really rewarding experience."

In addition to volunteering at the BAC during his master's program, Kyle, originally from Elkhart, Indiana, worked as a Sustainability Consultant for two firms, first at Kil Architecture Planning in South Bend, Indiana, and then at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf in Indianapolis. At Kil, Kyle was focused on improving the level of performance of low-income, multi-family housing. He was responsible for identifying opportunities and coordinating with engineers to improve on energy and water usage. Here, Kyle also did some design planning and renderings.

At Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, Kyle was mostly involved in the initial schematic design for university projects that were pursuing LEED certification. In addition, he also did renderings and hygrothermal analyses, which analyzed wall moisture and air infiltration for various wall assemblies. Throughout his time at both firms, Kyle found that many things that he was learning about in class he was actively utilizing at work. "My BAC education had a real-world practicality, allowing me to jump right into my work," says Kyle. "Plus, Dan Overbey, the Director of Sustainability at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, is also a Sustainable Design professor at the BAC, so I had the unique opportunity, as an online student, to collaborate with one of my instructors in a real-world, professional setting."

After graduating from the BAC, Kyle's passion for sustainable design led him to start his own company Carbon 6 in June 2017, where he provides LEED support services to architects and designers who are new to the Green building field, or who don't have the capacity or experience to complete LEED Services for their clients.

In early 2018, Kyle was offered a role to be the sustainable design coordinator for Ayers Saint Gross, and now spends his time in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C.

Kyle was immediately drawn to the quality and quantity of projects that Ayers Saint Gross works on and the challenges of Maryland's rigorous energy code. After meeting with Ayers Saint Gross, Kyle was impressed with their commitment to performance-driven design, and last March, he began his role there as Sustainable Design Coordinator. Now Kyle is working on several university projects, including LEED Documentation for Arizona State University's Hayden Library Reinvention, Colby College's Alfond Commons, Ringling College of Art & Design's Bridge Hall and Underclass Housing, Duke University's Physical Therapy Education Building, University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy and Health, Frostburg State University Education & Health Science Center, and Rhode Island Innovation District Building 1. "It's great, I get to exclusively focus on projects that are prioritizing sustainable design decisions, which is something I can only experience in Indiana through Carbon 6. I know I made the right choice working with Ayers Saint Gross."

Now that Kyle is settled at Ayers Saint Gross, he recently passed his LEED AP BD+C (Building Design + Construction) and ultimately wants to earn the highest LEED credential, LEED Fellow. Some major goals of his career include introducing students with a science background to architecture to help grow the Performance-Driven Design in the field, and to return to the BAC and re-invest in the College that facilitated his growth. Kyle is already making good on his goal to return to the BAC; during the Intensive Week this past August, Kyle acted as a guest critic and hosted a Sefaira energy modeling workshop for students within the Masters of Design Studies Program. "The BAC does a great job of keeping alumni involved. With my passion for educating others about sustainable design, my goal is to continue to teach in and help grow the sustainable design program at the BAC."

Kyle Ritchie, MDS-SD ’17, serves on a sustainable design panel discussion at the BAC

Kyle Ritchie, MDS-SD ’17, delivers a special lecture on sustainable design during the BAC's August 2018 Intensives