An Interdisciplinary Team of Experts
The ERC is home to a wide variety of experts who comprise a team of technical specialists with backgrounds in a variety of relevant disciplines including: engineering, economics, architecture, computer science, database development, and public policy analysis.
Cliff Haefke has over 15 years of experience in the energy industry and currently serves as the Director of the Energy Resources Center (ERC), located at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The ERC is an interdisciplinary public service, research, and special projects organization that works to improve energy efficiency and the environment, providing expertise in the areas of energy efficiency, distributed generation, utilities billing management, and biofuels and bioenergy. Cliff joined the ERC in 2000, in 2011 he joined the Center’s executive management team, and since March 2015 serves as the Center’s Director. As Director, Cliff oversees the Center’s business and research efforts and is responsible for the Center’s strategic direction. Cliff also serves as the Director of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, a technical outreach program that promotes combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat-to-power (WHP), and district energy CHP technologies in the industrial, commercial, and institutional market sectors in the 12 State Midwest Region.
Cliff holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA both from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Cliff is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, and the Association of State Energy Research and Technology Transfer Institutions (ASERTTI), an affiliate member of the National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO), and is President of the Midwest Cogeneration Association (MCA).
Steffen Mueller, PhD.
Dr. Steffen Mueller is the Principal Economist directing research in the areas of biofuel and bioenergy at the ERC. The work of this research cluster focuses on resource assessments for biofuel and bioenergy production processes, as well as life cycle analyses of emissions related to different biofuel and bioenergy production pathways.
Along with his colleague, Ken Copenhaver, Dr. Mueller has recently been developing the UIC LandViewrer tool, a geospatial platform to help assess land use change at a field level scale. The LandViewer tool is used by seed companies to assess biofuels feedstocks, by grain buyers to manage risk, and by agricultural certification agencies to explore geospatial land use applications.
Dr. Mueller holds a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Business Administration from Kelly Graduate School of Management, a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Berufsakademie Karlsruhe, Germany, and a Certificate in Financial Markets and Trading, Energy Specialization from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Assistant Director of Research Services
Jennifer Klemundt is the Energy Resources Center’s Business Manager. Jennifer is also the Project Coordinator for the Energy Resources Centers’ Utility Billing Management and Auditing Program and the State Utility Database Management System Program. Ms. Klemundt has ten years of experience in utility management and auditing.
Senior Research Specialist
David Baker is a Senior Research Specialist with the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago. David serves as Assistant Director of the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored Central CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, a technical outreach program that promotes combined heat and power (CHP) technologies in the industrial, commercial, and institutional market sectors in a four state region. As part of ERC’s Energy Efficiency Team, David also supports Illinois utilities with outreach and implementation for their energy efficiency portfolios. David has more than 30 years’ experience managing energy and environmental programs, policy, and research. His work has addressed such issues as energy efficiency, renewable energy, utility integrated resource planning, combined heat and power, low income energy programs, climate change, acid rain, groundwater protection, ecosystem monitoring, solid waste management, and clean coal technologies. Before joining ERC, David was Energy Division Manager at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where he was responsible for development of public sector and low income energy efficiency programs and renewable energy programs and for supervising staff with an annual budget of more than $80 million. He also oversaw development and management of $130 million in economic stimulus projects. David has staffed Climate Change advisory committees under three different Illinois governors and has served on several national advisory groups on climate change and acid rain policy.
Nathan Bohne is an engineer at the Energy Resources Center specializing in energy efficiency. He currently assists leading the effort in reducing energy use in low income and public housing sector in the northern Illinois area through multiple efficiency programs. Previously, he has worked on the State-sponsored Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP) program. Nathan has been the lead engineer since the program’s inception in 2014. The program addressed the energy efficiency gaps in public facilities by providing low cost energy savings products and technical expertise to achieve maximum energy savings. During this time, Nathan has conducted walkthroughs in the excess of 1800 public sector facilities throughout the state of Illinois.
Nathan also has diverse and extensive experience in building energy analysis and assessments. He has authored over 30 ASHRAE Level 2 equivalent energy audit reports. Other activities and interests include renewable energy, battery storage, income-qualified energy efficiency programs, potential studies, combined heat and power screenings, and energy efficiency behavioral studies.
Iris Caldwell, PE
Program Manager – Sustainable Landscapes
Iris Caldwell joined the ERC in November 2014. She works primarily in the Bioenergy and Sustainable Landscapes research cluster at the ERC where she facilitates the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and other efforts to engage industries in pollinator habitat conservation. She also provides technical assistance in the development of greenhouse gas offset projects and protocols, evaluation of renewable fuel production technologies, and mobile combustion emissions modeling. Prior to joining the ERC, Iris worked for more than eight years in industry, both as a manufacturing facility environmental engineer and as an environmental consultant. She has a strong background in environmental regulatory compliance as well as greenhouse gas accounting, carbon offset verification, renewable fuel production under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, and other environmental and sustainability reporting.
Iris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil – Environmental Engineering from Iowa State University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois.
Patrick Brown joined the ERC in 2014 as a research engineer and primarily performs energy assessments of businesses and public entities throughout the northern portion of Illinois for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC).
Patrick graduated in 2007 from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. After discovering a passion for energy and the impacts it has on the world, he began a career in performing energy assessments and studying green technologies. In 2012, he completed a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science in 2012 to better understand the relationship weather and climate can have on regional energy performance.
Salvatore (Sam) Rinaldi
Sam Rinaldi is a Project Coordinator for the ERC. In this role Sam is responsible for a variety of functions such as: locating funding opportunities, analyzing energy costs, energy billing and collection, preparing public relations materials, and organizing professional workshops. Currently Sam is developing and implementing a targeted outreach program to promotoe Energy Efficiency in selected market segments. Sam is also on the membership committe for the Midwest Cogeneration Association.
Prior to joining the ERC, Mr. Rinaldi worked on creating, developing, and promoting a variety of companies in Venezuela. He also previously worked as an accountant for several multinational companies including Magnacraft, Maremont, and John Crane.
Mr. Rinaldi holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Eric C. Friedl
IT Technical Associate
Eric Friedl joined ERC in 2015. An experienced software engineer, Eric specializes in database and user-interface design. A 1992 graduate of UIC with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy, Eric holds masters degrees in Computer and Information Sciences (Knowledge Systems Institute, Skokie, IL) and Elementary Education (National Louis University, Chicago, IL).
Research Energy Policy Associate
Graeme Miller is an Energy Policy Analyst with the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). At the ERC Mr. Miller works as on energy policy issues for the US DOE Midwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership. In his current research Mr. Miller focuses on identifying, quantifying, and addressing barriers to clean distributed generation technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat to power (WHP), district energy (DE), and energy efficiency (EE) installations. Mr. Miller specializes in utility rate policy, focusing on how utility rates affect combined heat and power deployment. Mr. Miller has written research papers on CHP, energy efficiency, energy security and utility rate policy for the US DOE Midwest CHP TAP, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocates, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Mr. Miller has submitted testimony in utility rate cases and efficiency filings before the the Iowa Utility Board, the Missouri Public Service Commission, the Minnesota Public Utility Commission, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Mr. Miller has also presented on CHP topics before the Indiana State Senate.
Mr. Miller is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, and he currently serves on the policy committee of the Midwest Cogeneration Association. Mr. Miller holds a Master’s of Urban Planning and Policy from UIC and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Grinnell College.
Computer Support Specialist
Dragan Nikolovski specializes in Database Design, Development and Management. Dragan joined ERC in 2004 and since has been working as Computer Support Specialist, contributing to various research projects. Dragan has designed and developed a number of databases and supporting applications for the State of Illinois Central Management Services Bulk Energy Procurement Program. Besides performing regular maintenance on existing applications and databases, Dragan generates and provides a variety of data reports and analyses to ERC staff as well as CMS Energy Manager.
Dragan received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Belgrade Serbia, and his Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Computer Support Specialist
Yuriy joined ERC in 2001 and since has been working as Computer Support Specialist.
Yuriy provides systems and network administration.
He holds a Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Oscar Mora-Diaz joined the ERC in October 2013 as an Energy Engineering intern. Upon the completing of his undergraduate degree in December 2014, Oscar relocated to a position as a Research Engineer. He currently works on energy assessments for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) program, and assists the ERC in a variety of ways as needed.
Oscar is currently working towards his Master’s in Energy Engineering for the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ben Campbell is an energy engineer that works in distributed power generation and energy efficiency. Ben has experience in distributed generation performing qualification screenings and feasibility studies for CHP systems through the Department of Energy Midwest Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Program. He has also performed solar photovoltaic feasibility screenings for the University of Illinois at Chicago working with the Chancellors Climate and Sustainable Energy subcommittee.
With the Chancellors Climate and Sustainable Energy subcommittee, Ben has assisted in identifying energy savings and emissions reductions for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Climate Action Plan to achieve a net zero emissions campus by 2050. Ben has extensive experience in building energy assessments through the Smart Energy Design Assistance Program, Public Housing Energy Savings Program, Efficient Living Program, Savings Through Efficient Products, and the 2016 Illinois Energy Efficiency Potential Study.
Prior to working with the Energy Resources Center, Ben has experience working in manufacturing, information technology, management, and customer service.
Marcello Pibiri joined the ERC in June 2016 as an Energy Engineering intern and relocated to a position as a Research Engineer in January 2017. He is the Program Manager for the Public Sector Boiler System Efficiency Program, works on energy assessments for the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) program, and assists the ERC in a variety of ways as needed. Marcello holds a Master’s in Energy Engineering for the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Universita’ di L’Aquila in Italy.
Gabriel graduated from State University of New York in 2009 and entered the world of advertising where his work focused on multicultural branding campaigns for multinational companies in industries such as food, fashion and pharmaceuticals. Later this experience widened in scope to marketing at large which brought him into a New York-based automation firm specializing in industrial, biotech and defense applications. This experience consisted of expansive trade show design, integrated marketing and culminated in the opening of a west coast division of that company in Los Angeles. It was there that Gabriel was exposed to the renewable energy industry, which spurred the objective of weaving a passion for marketing with the future of energy. He currently pursues an M.S. in Marketing at University of Illinois (Chicago) with a focus on International Marketing. His work for the Energy Resources Center consists of managing outreach, ensuring branding cohesion with partners, and coordination with client organizations.
Senior Research Engineer
Avelino De Veyra has over 10 years experience supporting the energy efficiency industry including 6 years supporting the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program offerings for Small Business, Retro-commissioning and currently Combined Heat and Power, 2 years performing building energy assessments under the Illinois DCEO Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, and over 2 years performing industrial energy audits under the US Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Center program. Aside from technical analysis experience, Avelino has also functioned as project coordinator, program liaison for trade allies and service providers, outreach support and most recently as program administrator. Prior to entering energy efficiency, he spent a combined 19 years in the medical industry first as a registered laboratory technologist and later as a system analyst for hospital medical information systems. Avelino received both his Master of Energy Engineering and BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently a Certified Energy Manager and has passed the Certified Energy Auditor exam administered by the Association of Energy Engineers.
John has worked in the energy field for over 30 years in several capacities: he was the Manager of the Consumer Products Research Program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Buildings Research Program, Vice President for the End Use Research Program at the Gas Research Institute, and most recently Director of the ERC, located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While at DOE, John was responsible for the development efforts of such consumer products as the first solid state ballast and single ended fluorescent light bulb (forerunner to today’s CFLs) as well as advanced energy efficient products in the commercial cooking and space conditioning markets. At the Gas Research Institute, John was responsible for the natural gas End Use Research Program including the development and commercialization of products in the space conditioning, on-site power generation, industrial manufacturing, and natural gas vehicle markets.
As the Director of the ERC, John oversaw the Center’s business and research efforts and was responsible for the Center’s strategic direction. John also served as the Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Midwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, a technical outreach program that promotes combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat-to-power (WHP), and district energy CHP technologies in the industrial, commercial, and institutional market sectors.
John Cuttica holds a Master of Engineering Administration from the George Washington University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Catholic University of America, both located in Washington DC.
After finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at Northern Arizona University, Caroline first became interested in sustainable development during her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. She worked with dairy farmers and conservationists in efforts to reduce deforestation and increase milk output for farmers. From these experiences, she went on to complete a dual Master’s degree from American University in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development and International Affairs. She then joined the Energy Resources Center in October to support efforts in the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and with other stakeholders on land conservation and pollinator habitat recovery by increasing common knowledge of pollinator habitat loss and creating tools and resources to better serve habitat conservation on working landscapes.
Joe Levy joined ERC as an Energy Engineer. He conducts energy assessments and prepares energy savings reports for the Income Eligible Multifamily Savings (IEMS) and Public Housing Energy Savings (PHES) programs. He has gained extensive knowledge about energy usage and habits among the various demographics in Illinois. Through individual assessments he strives to inform residences about the importance of energy efficiency. He also acts as a liaison with ERC’s partners for their energy efficiency programs.
Prior to joining ERC, Joe has experiences working in the chemical and oil industries. Joe is currently working towards his Master in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University. His interest includes renewable energy, combined heat and power systems, and battery storage.
Shirley Xiao joined ERC as an Research Engineer. She currently conducts energy assessments and generates energy savings reports for the Income Eligible Multifamily Savings (IEMS) and Public Housing Energy Savings (PHES) programs. She also has experience conducting energy assessments for a Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), schools, and wastewater treatment plants. Previously, she worked on performing combined heat and power (CHP) feasibility assessments for industrial facilities. With experiences in various sectors in the energy efficiency field, Shirley has an innate knowledge about energy usage habits and trends in the Midwest.
Prior to joining ERC, Shirley worked as an environmental engineer focused on air permits and hazardous waste. She also has experiences in lithium ion batteries. Shirley is currently working toward her Master’s in Energy Engineering from UIC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from UIC as well as the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) certification from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Her interest includes self-sustainable buildings and communities, decarbonization, and renewable energy.
Klaudia Kuklinska joined the Energy Resources Center as an intern in October 2016, and moved to role of Program Assistant in August 2018 after graduating with a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Klaudia works within the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group by conducting research of mitigation strategies for pollinators affected by pesticides, mowing practices and habitat loss. She also investigates the best practices to aid in increasing pollinator lifespan. In addition, Klaudia has collaborated with industry experts to develop a scorecard that will be used to assess the suitability of potential pollinator habitat. The development of the scorecard included site visits with land managers and gathering feedback on priorities for best management practices.
Klaudia is also a Program Assistant to the ComEd LIKE program. The LIKE program provides free energy efficiency products to more than 35-thousand income-eligible households. Her primary responsibility is coordinating and collecting data from the Community Action Agencies. Furthermore, Klaudia works with interns to get acclimated with the energy efficiency programs.
Indraneel Bhandari is a Research Engineer with the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is a part of the Energy Efficiency team. Indraneel has experience in building energy assessments through the Smart Energy Design Assistance Program (SEDAC), Public Housing Energy Savings Program (PHES), Income Eligible Multifamily Savings Program (IEMS), Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP), and the 2019 ComEd Baseline Potential Study. These programs would see the engineers conduct energy assessments and preparing energy savings report for the facility surveyed. With involvements in various facets of the energy sector, Indraneel has an innate knowledge about energy usage habits and trends in the Midwest.
Prior to joining ERC, Indraneel worked as an electrical engineer in India focused on utility-scale turnkey PV solar plants. Here he was part of the site engineering team responsible for the construction, testing, commissioning and operation of the PV solar plant. He has experience with power evacuation bays and transmission systems.
Indraneel holds a Master of Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering from India. His interest includes distributed solar systems, battery storage and hybrid renewable energy resources.
Research Specialist ( LEED GA)
Megan’s biggest passion has been sustainability and the focus throughout her career. She has been involved in a variety of aspects of sustainability including conducting research on anaerobic digesters and working on waste diversion solutions. She has over 5 years of experience in energy efficiency including implementing ComEd’s Small Business Energy Efficacy program, the largest in the country.
For the ERC she manages and conducts outreach for the Combined Heat & Power offering. Megan strives to be innovated and look for areas of continuous improvement. She received a BS in Environmental health with a minor in biology in August of 2014. Currently she is pursuing her MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Leonel Diaz joined ERC as a Research Engineer on the Energy Efficiency team. He currently conducts energy assessments and prepares energy savings reports for the Income Eligible Multifamily Savings (IEMS), Public Housing Energy Savings (PHES), and Non-Profit Organization (NPO) programs. He strives to maximize energy savings and promote energy efficiency to residences throughout the state of Illinois.
Prior to joining ERC, Leonel worked as a Process Engineer in the chemical industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Masters in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His interest includes renewable energy, battery storage, and combined heat and power systems.