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Michael Bendewald

Sr. Associate (Buildings)


Michael Bendewald is a Sr. Associate on RMI’s Buildings Team. He provides financial analysis, project management, conceptual design/analysis and workshop facilitation to deliver radically resource-efficient residential and commercial buildings. He has helped to develop Factor Ten Engineering educational material (www.10xe.org) and led the development of Green Footstep, an online carbon analysis and goal-setting tool for buildings (www.greenfootstep.org). Michael joined RMI in June 2007. 

Select RMI Projects 

  • General Services Administration, Sustainability Study (Baltimore)—Provided project management, contributed conceptual design for the retrofit of three federal buildings, and helped shape a replicable retrofit decision-making approach that accounts for life cycle environmental impact, direct cost, and societal cost.
  • Department of Energy, Advance Energy Retrofit Guides —Provided project management and written content for this project to help write retrofit guides for building owners and facility managers.
  • RetroFit Depot—Manages and strategically plans for RMI's RetroFit Depot website (www.retrofitdepot.org), a premier online resource for enabling deep energy retrofits of commercial buildings.


Michael has experience as an educator, presenter, and international researcher. For two consecutive years he wrote and taught weekly lessons in k-12 schools as part of a National Science Foundation Gk-12 engineering outreach fellowship. He has presented at charrettes and green building conferences on the topic of GHG emissions and buildings. In 2008, Michael was a fellow on the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes program where he researched building commissioning protocol and the Japanese green building rating system, CASBEE (Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency).

As a graduate student in the Building Systems Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Michael took coursework in building science and engineering, energy policy, and science, technology, and society (STS) studies. His masters degree thesis was titled "Using Carrying Capacity as a Baseline for Building Sustainability Assessment," and much of this content has been published on the Green Footstep website, www.greenfootstep.org. An article in Habitat International, an Elsevier journal for the study of human settlements, is forthcoming.


  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Building Systems Program, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2009
  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Saint John’s University (MN), 2003

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI)
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • American Society of Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation (ASHRAE)
  • Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE)

Selected Publications & Conference Papers

  • "Deep Energy Savings in Existing Buildings: Using Case Studies in Your Search for Success," a webinar with New Buildings Institute and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, June 2011
  • "Life cycle cost analysis workshop," with Aaron Buys, May 2011, Rocky Mountain Green Conference (Denver, CO)
  • “Finding the ‘Switching Point:’ Cost Optimization for New NZE Commercial Buildings,” ASHRAE 2011 Winter Conference Proceedings
  • "Green Footstep: A Tool for Evaluating a Building's Life-Cycle Carbon Footprint and Informing Carbon Decisions During the Building Design Process," with Victor Olgyay and Ken Yeang, Architectural Design, Vol 80 No 3 (May/June 2010) 126–130