former RII Technical Director
Resource Innovation Institute (Formerly)
Gretchen is a professional engineer who has spent the past five years optimizing controlled environment agriculture operations for resource efficiency and productivity. Schimelpfenig earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design & Construction with a concentration in energy from Stanford University. Her diverse professional experience includes time spent commissioning commercial buildings, designing utility energy efficiency programs, and helping businesses like the University of Vermont and the City of Burlington benchmark their resource consumption. She specializes in analyzing the operation of building systems for cultivation facilities and helps the members of RII’s Utility Working Group reach cultivators with their financial incentives and technical assistance.
She has consulted across the U.S. on efficiency program design for controlled environment agriculture (CEA), and has published papers on benchmarking and high-performance technologies with ACEEE, ASABE, and USGBC. Gretchen has presented at conferences for industry organizations including ACEEE, AESP, ASHRAE, EUCI, MEEA, and IES.
She works directly with the DesignLights Consortium to increase the adoption of third-party certification of horticultural building systems. Gretchen also represents RII on several industry committees developing standards for CEA including the ASABE PAFS-30 (Plant Systems Group), ES-300 (Electrical Utilization & Energy Group), and ES-310 (Agricultural Lighting Group), ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.2 (Plant and Animal Environments), ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis, IES Horticultural Lighting Subcommittee, and Task Group 1 of the UL 3600 Scorecard for Measuring and Reporting Circular Economy Aspects of Products, Sites and Organizations.
Gretchen raises houseplants and cats in her Vermont farmhouse and enjoys foraging for ramps, fiddleheads, and mushrooms when she isn’t skiing, biking, or knitting.