August 7, 2020
Speaker Profile of EnterSolar’s Zaira Akhmedova
By Pamela Berns
Seven seems to be an auspicious number for Zaira Akhmedova. Her professional journey spanned seven years as she made her way from a degree in finance and accounting to her current position as Financial Strategy Manager at EnterSolar, one of the largest commercial solar developers in the U.S. And it was her trip around the world—a seven-month sabbatical from work—that solidified her commitment to a career in renewable energy. (more…)
August 3, 2020
By Ansh Sandhu
Conventional power plants produce energy by burning fossil fuel to run turbines that produce electricity, which is then distributed via an extensive transmission system into our homes and businesses. Such systems are expensive to lay out, so utilities worldwide prefer to set these up in urban areas where the population density is higher.
For cities already struggling to reduce emissions from buildings and transportation, conventional power systems have exacerbated the problem. In more remote areas, the fossil fuel model has led to a power disparity, particularly in disadvantaged communities (DACs).
November 28, 2017
by Jennifer Urrutia
Residents of the New York City “concrete jungle” are no strangers to construction and development. And while development is booming in New York City, there has never been a project quite like Hudson Yards
, the largest private development in the history of the United States. Hudson Yards is located in Midtown West and will consist of 18 million square feet of office, residential and retail space, three parks, and 14 acres of gardens and plazas. It will be populated by 40,000 workers and residents, and up to 65,000 visitors per day. The vast scale of the project, coupled with building a platform to span active train tracks, posed new levels of complexity for Related Companies, the real estate firm responsible for the project.
The GreenHomeNYC Forum, “Spotlight on Hudson Yards”, was co-hosted with AEE-NY and ASHRAE New York at the New York Institute of Technology, and drew a crowd in excess of 80 attendees. Three senior executives from Related Companies took the stage to discuss Hudson Yards’ operational sustainability initiatives, energy performance tracking, and building commissioning and asset management.
November 27, 2017
by Claire Brown
During GreenHomeNYC’s October Forum, eight women of green led us on a tour of their green building career paths. Through the Pecha Kucha style of presentation, the speakers used timed-slides to guide us through their search for their dream careers in engineering, sustainable design, new construction, and more. In addition to sharing their stories, the speakers offered advice to those seeking green careers. The forum was co-hosted by GreenHomeNYC and the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Women in Energy program
at Columbia University.
Lucie Dupas, Entersolar
Dupas had engineering built into her genetic blueprint, with both of her parents working as IT engineers. She finished her formal education in engineering by completing a Master’s program in France, and was proud that the program was comprised of roughly 42% women. Surrounded by so many women in her field, she felt that being a female engineer was “the normal thing to do.” In search of her dream internship, Dupas moved to New York City and joined a renewable energy consulting startup at the NYU Poly Acre Incubator where she built her first photovoltaic system. The internship ultimately led to a full-time job at Sollega
, a solar equipment manufacturer where she did “all the things that you think an engineer does”. According to Dupas, “I did a 3-D design of a racking part and tested it in a laboratory and I trained some 200 pound electricians.” Next she worked at Bright Power
, where she helped bring solar power to affordable housing and managed the installation of several solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. She is now the Engineering Director at the nationwide solar installer Entersolar
where she works on commercial projects with a specific focus on solar PV technology. Lucie is an avid proponent of training programs. “You know how you think you know something, but then you go through a certification program and you realize there’s so much that you don’t really know. And having the certification on your resume is so useful to show yourself as an expert in the industry.”
June 21, 2017
by Samantha Padreddii
Courtesy: Brooklyn SolarWorks
As business evolves and the solar industry changes, local business owners in New York City face their own set of challenges. In a recent GreenHomeNYC forum, five speakers from different facets of the solar industry explained how they are adapting to changing technology and the needs of city residents.
Gaelen McKee, a former Sunrun employee, noticed an under-served market for solar energy in Brooklyn but was frustrated that potential clients were often disqualified due to the structure of their roof. Obstructions and lack of pitch angles on flat roofs prevented many installations from moving forward. So he collaborated with a few other industry professionals and founded Brooklyn SolarWorks.
does what no other company wanted to do. Working almost exclusively with multistory residential buildings, the company developed a canopy system that elevates the panels above the roof structure to avoid wasted space from chimneys, vents, and raised portions of the roof. But engineering the canopy wasn’t the only obstacle. In order to get supplies to the roof, the company needed to invent a scaffolding system and provide a means of maintaining accessibility for the fire department. Even after these notable achievements, there have still been other hurdles they need to overcome. As solar energy technology advances in the form of high capacity batteries for energy storage, particularly Lithium Ion based batteries, fire departments have voiced concerns about the safety of these products, presenting an implementation challenge across the solar industry.
April 28, 2017
by Sunitha Sarveswaran
Have you ever considered how a flower functions? It lives off the resources available to it, using the sun, water and soil in its immediate surroundings to thrive. It also provides a service to its surrounding environment, in the way of food, shelter and aesthetic beauty. This is what a building following the Living Building Challenge®
certification is designed to emulate.
Living Building Challenge (LBC) was created by the Cascadia Green Building Council in 2006. It was born from the concept that a building should not only be energy efficient, but also have a positive impact on its residents and the community. Buildings that take on the Challenge go above and beyond typical high performance buildings. The aim of LBC is to reduce the energy and water footprint of a building down to the amount it can produce on site. In addition, LBC asks buildings to connect residents and communities with healthy, beautiful and renewing environments. These are very tall orders!
March 28, 2017
by Samantha Yost
Courtesy: Samantha Yost
Attitudes toward cannabis are changing rapidly. There are currently 26 states
and the District of Columbia that allow cannabis cultivation for medical reasons. Seven more have legalized marijuana for recreational use and even Canada recently announced that it will legalize marijuana for recreational use nationwide by July 2018. These figures could soon be outdated; it seems that cannabis restrictions are loosening at a faster and faster rate.
In the New York legislature, two bills
to legalize and regulate marijuana were introduced earlier this year by Democratic Senator Liz Krueger, and are currently in committee. Their fate is uncertain under the Cuomo administration, which has previously been against legalization, although some advocates believe that his position could be evolving due to changing public opinion.
Whether this is a positive or negative development is a subject of hot debate, but these conversations tend to focus on the social, health, and personal freedom issues that are raised by legalization or criminalization. However, one large factor that is often overlooked in these discussions is how legalization changes the energy landscape of a state. Most people don’t realize that cannabis is an incredibly energy-intensive industry. Although information is spotty due to the clandestine nature of many grow facilities, the leading study
by Evan Mills has come up with some shocking findings:
March 1, 2017
by Theresa Baker
If you’re trying to make more sustainable choices in your daily life, the GreenHomeNYC February Forum offered plenty of options. The evening featured four speakers who spoke passionately about ways that “everyday people” in New York City can improve their quality of life, save energy and live more sustainably.
Simple Steps for Everyone
Carmel Pratt, a Sustainability Consultant for Steven Winter Associates, spoke on the top ten ways to save energy in your apartment or home. Pratt pointed out a stunning statistic – the average American uses 140-170 gallons of water per day through choices they make in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. By simply not running water when washing dishes, limiting shower time, and using cold water instead of hot when doing laundry, residents can significantly reduce this usage. (more…)
February 3, 2017
by Thomas Storck
GreenHomeNYC launched another year of monthly forums with the annual Green Catwalk, featuring seven speakers who discussed the latest “green” news. From Saudi Arabia to New York City, challenges remain. But, in New York, in particular, much is being done to overcome them. The speakers offered insight into what needs to happen in order achieve our climate goals, the progress we’ve made already, and the programs and opportunities that are in the works right now.
Development in the Desert
While New York City has its own sustainability goals and initiatives, we can’t forget that the climate crisis is a global one. Duncan Prahl
of IBACOS, began by taking the audience to the opposite end of the earth, to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 2015, Riyadh became home to the first LEED-Platinum building in the Middle East. Designed to achieve a net-zero energy balance, it holds 28 kW of rooftop solar PV and has enough batteries to last 24 hours. After two years of serving as a high-level consultant on the project, Prahl shared his thoughts on the challenges of building to such standards in the desert: “I would never recommend doing that again… to anyone.”
December 1, 2016
by Kimberly Stempien
Photo Courtesy: NESEA
Imagine a city with clean air, solar energy, plenty of pedestrian spaces and no cars. It’s not at all far-off; these are all on the agenda for New York City in coming years. In fact, some of the projects are already in progress. The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
held their annual Building Energy NYC
conference on November 3, bringing together leaders in energy, building maintenance, real estate, policy, product, and new technologies. Many topics were discussed, but three of the main takeaways were long term planning, regional-district planning, and enhanced resiliency for the city of New York.
In a talk by Jenna Tatum, Kate Gouin, Benjamin Mandel and John Lee from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the focus was on 80×50, the de Blasio administration’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050 (80×50). NYC’s Sustainability 80X50 plan states, “It is the level the UN projects is necessary to avert the most disastrous impacts of climate change.” The plan is essentially a roadmap that is broken into four areas of focus: Buildings, Energy Supply, Waste, and Transportation, with comprehensive reporting and modeling done for each category. Following are the four main takeaways of the plan’s goals in each sector.