The Green Spotlight on BE NYC: Josh Lehman

August 30, 2013

  Countdown to BE NYC! With only47 days until the conference, GreenHomeNYC is shining the spotlight on the experts who will be making the BE NYC an exceptional industry event!   One of the professionals participating in the conference is Josh Lehman.   josh4 Josh Lehman, Program Manager at WinnCompanies, an environmentally-focused real estate development and management firm, is chair of the Building Systems track at BE NYC.   Josh earned a degree in Environmental Science from Brown University, and was an active NESEA member during, and since, his studies.  Having been involved with the real estate industry since 2006, he has witnessed first-hand the recent advancements and progressions that have been made within the green building field.  WinnCompanies continues to promote and enhance the presence of sustainability in the development and management of properties through a multitude of initiatives that are part of their “WinnGreen” program.  While the company is based in Boston, they manage 9,000 units in New York City, providing a great opportunity for impact in a dense urban environment.   How did you become focused on sustainability in property development / management? Initially, I was interested in architecture.  I realized that I was more inclined towards environmental science, and pursued a degree in that direction.  While in school, I interned for Steven Winter Associates, which further enhanced my passion for green development.  I’m a New York City native, so real estate, and dense real estate, has always been familiar to me.  I became aware of the sustainable potential held in buildings.   What are the major initiatives incorporated into WinnGreen, and how do they contribute to the sustainability field (and field’s goals) as a whole? WinnCompanies manages 95,000 units nationwide.  The company is in a prime position to have a positive effect on the environment.  In the past couple of years, WinnCompanies has installed 2 MW of solar PV, completed 12 cogeneration installations, certified 2 LEED Platinum properties (one of which being a deep energy retrofit which achieved over 50% reduction in energy costs), and initiated an innovative energy efficiency financing program with the support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called the Open Market ESCO program.   The Open Market ESCO program was established utilizing a HUD grant received in 2012, and is a tool to fund energy efficiency retrofit projects in affordable housing.  Those properties participating in the program pay nothing upfront for the installation, and then make payments based upon the actual energy savings realized.  It’s a great deal for all parties involved.   In contribution to the overall goals of sustainability, every project makes a difference.  Each green building, each portion of energy saved, also saves carbon emissions.  These efforts over time move the marketplace as lenders become more comfortable with investing in energy efficiency and other sustainable initiatives.  Additionally, throughout the process of building, learning and growing, WinnCompanies (and all other organizations contributing to the movement) is developing institutional knowledge with undeniable value that can be shared to further stimulate the field.   What can a conference member expect to learn by attending the Building Systems Track at BE NYC? The various speakers associated with the Building Systems Track will be providing actionable information about improving buildings – technical and practical knowledge from people who have implemented projects and know buildings inside and out, from the mechanical equipment to the envelope.  The topics covered will address energy retrofits, and important lessons that have been learned regarding the process.   Please reflect on you past involvement with NESEA and speaking engagements. I spoke at the NESEA Building Energy Conference in 2009, have served on the Building Energy Planning Committee, was in charge of the Student Design Competition in 2011, and will be a Multifamily Track chair for the Building Energy Conference in 2014.   What are you most excited to see and learn at BE NYC? “The Next Big Thing? Big Cost-Effective Savings from Demand Response”, a component of the Building Systems track, led by Doug Staker of Demand Energy Networks, and Erik Fisk of CB Richard Ellis, will be discussing battery systems and other building-integrated demand response systems.  I feel that this is especially important in New York City in particular, an area that places a heavy burden on the electrical grid, and could be a safer, more resilient environment if that strain were lessened.  This should be an exciting discussion.   Interested in learning more from Josh Lehman? Look for him at the BUILDING SYSTEMS track at BE NYC.  BENYC-featuredimage CLICK HERE to register for BE NYC.   For more information on workshop sessions, sponsoring and exhibiting at BE NYC, CLICK HERE.   Interview conducted by Caryn Burstein.   To know more about GHNYC’s The Green Spotlight, CLICK HERE!