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.
CodeGreen’s own LEED Platinum office space in NYC
INHABITAT: Can you tell us a little bit about CodeGreen and what it does?
Stephen: CodeGreen finds solutions for bringing sustainability and efficiency to existing buildings. We essentially review a building’s goals and figure out the best way to implement them. For some owners its lighting upgrades, others its photovoltaic, i.e. solar panels. Whatever the goal is, CodeGreen’s experience is in allowing an existing building to achieve that goal. There is a misconception that only new designed buildings can be efficient.
INHABITAT:CodeGreen is often considered a pioneer in the LEED Existing Buildings game in NYC. What prompted you to focus on that area when so many others were still fixated on new buildings?
Stephen: New buildings get the headlines. But, the numbers speak for themselves. Buildings dominate NYC’s carbon footprint. Approximately 75% of NYC’s carbon emissions stem from energy used in buildings and today’s existing buildings will make up 85% of all real estate in 2030. You’re talking of tens of thousands of buildings that have never had basic energy audits or “tune ups”. The payback on improving these buildings is typically 2 to 3 years. Besides that, I think everyone at CodeGreen is a bit contrarian! You tell us there’s no solution to something or it’s too tough to modify an existing building, and we’ll work and work to prove the naysayers wrong.