Resource Professionals Group


    John T. Karakash  
M.F. Registered Forester

    Managing Consultant, 
Professionals Group LLC 


Buildings and energy
  • Evaluating heat and cooling energy sources for industrial process and facility HVAC.
  • Design factors influencing resilience and sustainability in facility design.

Forest Protection and improvement; wood recycling

  • Low-grade timber market development as profitable investment. 
    • Forest owners, chip producers, sawmills, wood products makers, tree service companies.  
  • Biomass fuel logistics 
  • Biomass combustion co-products  
Managed woody biomass fuel buying and ash marketing for non-utility power plants
Managed 9-county
Pennsylvania Energy Center energy conservation/efficiency outreach project.
Forestry consultant
Instructor of forestry, North Carolina public schools

Current Projects:
Organizing small group trip to evaluate world class wood-to-heat and CHP applications in europe, February, 2019. See EBF19

This is a ten-year sequel to 2008 trip,
Wood Energy as a Tool in Austrian Forest Improvement, described below.       
Strategic Energy Design and Development Co. LLC  (SEDDCorp)
A collaboration on start-up of company that will reliably deliver renewable (primarily) heat and cooling energy at competitive prices, for HVAC, service hot water or industrial process loads. The customer host facility gets the benefits of renewable energy without worry, staff labor, or high capital investments.

Under agreement terms, SEDDCorp will design, permit, finance, build, commission and operate the facility required to meet the client's needs.  The energy flow will be delivered as a metered flow, typically of hot water.  Pricing will be set in the long term agreement;   guarantees can be arranged for reliability and performance if needed.     

Accomplishments, explained:

Renewable  Wood  Energy  Options  for  Private  and  Public  Commercial  Buildings: 
Building  Partnerships  to  Expand  Acceptance

Cooperative Agreement with USDA Forest Service for work expanding mutual understanding about barriers to wood heat specification  among building design, biothermal equipment, wood fuel production and public agency professionals.  The concept developed around lessons learned from managers of candidate facilities as they considered biothermal installations.  The projects, which were beyond viable, but quite desirable, were rejected.   

The report integrated beliefs, concerns and experiences related by decision makers in each of these sectors.  Findings describe a stalemate in progress, typical of situations when very intelligent people stop listening to each other. 

Recommendations, developed from the observations and analysis, suggest how, and why, increasing levels of wood heat system specification are likely to result when the groups collaborate on a new response to expressed needs of the customers.  

In plain terms, architects and engineers, with the real estate developers and managers they work,  for already know that woody biomass chips and pellets CAN be a good HVAC solution.  However, they have also explained why the business model needs to change.  First cost, labor involvement, uncertainty about fuel, equipment and regulation are all mentioned.

The wood heating industry growth opportunity lies in merging fuel, equipment and service into local/regional single entities that contract with the right clients to perform the possible with biothermal expertise.  Customers will find it easy to sign up, because energy supply contracting removes from them the burdens of cost, labor, doubt and risk.

Outreach on Market Development for Wood Energy Equipment Companies.

With funding from USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center, developed and presented a series of 3 programs with cooperation of staff from US Department of Energy Buildings program, National Renewable Energy Laboratories, and Environmental Protection Agency. Project was completed in association with the Biomass Thermal Energy Council.

Industrial Energy Source Conversion Assessment 

Pennsylvania pulping and paper making facility was considering steam plant conversion from coal/wastewood to natural gas.  Our review considered alternate outlets for the large flow of displaced bark and wood fiber, economics, environmental effects, and risk.

Site Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan

Client property had been cleared of timber in trespass cutting, with top soil pushed off as stumps were cleared.  Concern was that normal types of regeneration would fail due to the excessive surface disturbance.  Field work included mapped soil conditions assessment, research into local availability and costs for supplies, planting stock and labor provided by planting contractors experienced in restoration projects.  As quarrying activity had been involved, the report also addressed opportunities to vary the approach, to provide greater assurance of satisfaction with final results while also reducing the costs for all parties.

Biothermal energy feasibililty - County facilities in mid-Atlantic state.

Project required three parallel activities.  One was to identify sources of fuel-possible forms of wood, available quantities, and the companies' interest in potentially contracting as a supplier.   The second was to screen county facilities for those having energy profiles matching the character of the most prevalent type(s) of potential wood fuel.  The third step was to request information for county review, from biothermal technology companies, for budget cost estimates of installed and commissioned equipment.

Renewable Energy Source Opportunities for University Campus

We were asked to evaluate how biomass thermal energy system could be incorporated into a modern campus co-generation and district heat and cooling network.  The direction changed during the first meeting; we felt the uncertainty being expressed by the university's design, sustainability and engineering team members. 

The final report characterized campus energy requirements by end purposing and consistency of flow over time.  Considering future requirements, the range of renewable source options was evaluated on the capacity of each type (i.e. solar thermal, pv, wind, high temperature geothermal, geothermal heat pump, biogas and woody biomass) to meet the primary loads, which are heat, service hot water and cooling.  Data was included on renewable energy systems installed on other university campuses.           

Wood Energy as a Tool in Austrian Forest Improvement

Organized and co-led week-long tour of Austrian renewable energy sites including advanced wood combustion systems, and managed forests from which they are affordably fueled, for combined group of 14 American energy and forestry professionals representing three universities, federal and state government, private business and forest landowners.

Published "The Missing Link in Wood Energy: Architects and Energy Professionals" with Dan Richter, 2010.

Report for USDA Forest Service on national survey of building and energy design professionals about specifying wood as a modern HVAC source.

District renewable heat:
Helped school district consider, then implement (1987 decision) the first modern wood fired district heating system, connecting two school buildings  in northeast Pennsylvania.

Partial list on our "Ideas and Insights" page.

Book collaboration:
Lead author of Chapter 2, Sustainability, Cold Climate Buildings Design Guide.  ASHRAE, 2015

Master of Forestry degree from the Duke University School of Forestry, 1977.
Bachelor of Arts, Gettysburg College, 1970.

Professional Registration, Affiliations:
North Carolina Registered Forester, # 408, Society of American Foresters, Forest Guild, PA Council of Professional Foresters, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, North Carolina Forestry Association.