SmithGroup’s Russell Perry Named 2015 LEED Fellow

Russell Perry, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, co-director of Sustainable Design at SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading green design firms, has been named a 2015 LEED Fellow by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).

This year’s 35 Fellows are being honored for their outstanding work as LEED Professionals and for the significance of their contributions to the green building community at large. The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals and is the most prestigious designation awarded from GBCI.

“More than almost any other architect in practice today, Rus Perry has been a driver of change in the green building world,” said Alex Wilson, founder, Building Green, Inc. and Resilient Design Institute.

Perry is widely recognized as one of the most collaborative, knowledgeable and dedicated experts in the sustainable design industry. He is among the industry’s top professionals who advocate moving beyond designing buildings that do less harm and consume less resources to designing buildings that are truly regenerative. Under Perry’s leadership, SmithGroup became one of the first firms to sign on to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) “2030 Commitment,” a mandate that the building industry achieve net zero energy for every building designed by the year 2030.

“Rus Perry has contributed to dozens of SmithGroupJJR’s LEED projects, guiding our teams in the smart and strategic application of LEED,” said Troy Thompson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, managing partner, SmithGroup. “He has truly advanced the practice of sustainable design.”

Most recently, Perry has championed the material transparency movement, which asks manufacturers to openly communicate the material ingredients of a product so smart decisions can be made to avoid those ingredients known to be hazardous to humans. As a visible and vocal proponent for research on hazardous substances and healthier alternatives in building products, he became a founding Board member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative, formed in 2012 to create, support and evolve the Health Product Declaration (HPD), an open standard format for the accurate reporting of material contents and potential health hazards. As Collaborative members worked with manufacturers to facilitate the disclosure of ingredients used in their products, some firms’ legal counsel disagreed and advised against the solicitation of HPDs, fearing that the knowledge of product contents would increase their legal exposure if any of those contents proved hazardous. In response, Perry convened workshops and educational sessions for audiences including legal professionals, insurance providers and designers to share and address such concerns. His efforts have led to the AIA’s new guidelines, now providing guidance on understanding and managing that risk.

In fall 2014, Perry’s material transparency advocacy continued when he created the USGBC National Chapter Region Master Speaker Series, “Materials – the New Landscape,” a seven-part series to provide education and insight into specifying healthier building materials. He also led the development of three Health Product Declaration Manufacturer Forums that brought together building product manufacturers and design professionals in an open discussion about opportunities and concerns with materials transparency.

Perry’s dedication to materials transparency has continued in 2015 with the October launch of the SmithGroup HPD Library, a searchable, public database that owners and designers can access, free of charge, to find Health Product Declarations to assist in their material selection and LEED documentation process.

Perry frequently shares his expertise and passion for sustainable practices through public speaking and publications. Since his 2002 presentation at the inaugural Greenbuild conference – now the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building – Perry has often returned to address audiences hungry for knowledge. He has spoken to collegiate audiences such as those at the University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Oberlin College and the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and organizations including the AIA, the International Living Future Institute and the National Institute of Medicine.

Perry received a Master’s of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan, preceded by a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. In addition to his status as a registered architect and LEED accredited Professional, he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Perry is a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife Jeanette Rosenberg.

More about the LEED Fellow Program, Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI)

The GBCI administers the LEED certification program for the U.S. Green Building Council. To be selected, LEED Fellows are nominated by their peers, undergo an extensive portfolio review, must have at least 10 years of experience in the green building industry and hold a LEED AP with specialty credential, among other requirements. The evaluation process is carried out by the LEED Fellow evaluation committee.

The 2015 LEED Fellows will be recognized in Washington, DC at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which is being held November 18-20. For more information about the LEED Fellow program, visit


For more information about SmithGroup, please visit our Company Fact Sheet.