INHABITAT:Do you have any easy tips for New Yorkers who want to make their homes and offices more efficient?
Stephen: The biggest tip is not to move! To start businesses here and live in “Green New York City”. 82% of New Yorkers travel to work on public transit, by bicycle or foot. That’s ten times the rate for the US in general. New Yorkers use the least amount of energy per square foot than any other area in the US. But there’s always room for improvement. Basically, everyone should do these five things. They will save you money in one year. 1) Install efficient lighting. 2) Turn off or shut down computers or flat screens every day. 3) Don’t leave the AC or office HVAC on 24/7. 4) Compost organic waste. It’s easier than you think, plus you can sell it or use it, and 5) Recycle all plastics, metals and glassware. It’s easy, and not doing so is simply littering.
INHABITAT:What is your favorite NYC building that you’ve worked on thus far and why?
INHABITAT:What do you think the future of sustainable buildings in NYC looks like?
Stephen: The Mayor’s 2030 plan is a terrific paradigm for NYC and all cities nationwide though I’d like to see more emphasis given to onsite renewables. Again, the naysayers claim NYC does not have enough roof space. They say NYC is all shadows. I know this is just dead wrong. For starters, efficiencies of each solar panel are climbing as prices for the panels are dropping. However, the price of energy that office buildings have to pay in NYC is sky high. Therefore, we are in a market where solar energy price per kilowatt/hr is very competitive. In addition, you get these great boosters like the fact that solar is most favorable during those high peak hot summer days when “the grid” is most overloaded.
INHABITAT:Unlike some other companies in this economy, the CG team is growing. Do you have any tips for college grads or other professionals hoping to be hired by sustainable companies like yours?
Stephen: Everything you read about the new “Green Economy” is true. It is happening now, and everyone with the right training can enter. Entire industries from real estate to automobile, or even the restaurant industry is changing. We have hybrid cars, Whole Foods, and LEED buildings. So the point is, that we really want to encourage everyone to participate in this progress. If you feel you don’t have the right training, then don’t waste time, and get it. Take classes and begin to participate. I’ll tell you 100% that every retro commissioning professional is employed right now. Every good lighting designer is as well. All of these firms need financing, marketing, legal services, which even further expands this segment. So I guess my advice is “show up” to this exciting field, and you will be rewarded.