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…)
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).
As 2019 gets going, we’re starting off the year with our classic Green Catwalk forum, where we bring in speakers to present on new, innovative, unheard of, and just plain interesting topics, technologies, trends and organizations within the sustainability space. This year we will include presentations on solar fabrics, water efficiency and sustainable plumbing, as well as strategies to effectively discuss sustainability and climate change, among other topics. Join us! In addition, our first volunteer orientation of the year will take place right before the event, starting at 6 PM. If you’re interested in joining GreenHomeNYC as a volunteer, please sign up at https://greenhomenyc.org/get-involved
Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2019Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PMPlace: TOTO Showroom, 20 West 22nd Street, 1st floor, New York, NY 10010
We highly encourage attendees to register in advance, as fees increase at the door. If registering at the door, credit/debit card is strongly preferred.
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.”
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.
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.
Year after year, the solar energy industry continues to blaze a trail of record breaking growth in the United States. In 2016, the industry grew by 97%, was the number one source of new electric capacity for the first time, and accounted for 1 out of every 50 new jobs created throughout the year. It is undeniably becoming a major force within the energy sector as well as within the political landscape, with a majority of Americans in favor of expanding its use.
With so much attention going to what solar has recently done, at this month’s GreenHomeNYC Forum, we want to take a look at what the solar industry will be doing next, with a specific focus on trends in technology. From solar shingles and tiles to energy storage to microgrids to solar canopies and more, there is a lot happening and we will have several experts speaking about their involvement in some of the up and coming technologies and processes in the solar energy marketplace happening right in our own backyard.
Join us this month to hear about the next stage of solar!
Date: Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Place: Knoll Showroom, 1330 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10019
by Radhika Sri Paravastu
Many professionals have had an idea of starting their own business, either from an early age or due to dissatisfaction with their current work. Whether you want to bring a new idea or service to the world or offer services in an established field, it can be challenging to strike out on your own. To learn how to put the right foot forward while starting one’s own freelancing or entrepreneurial journey, GreenhomeNYC’s March event focused on “Freelancing and Starting Your Own Business.” It saw speakers who are both established and budding entrepreneurs in building software, engineering, solar, and business consulting. Each speaker gave us a glimpse into their professional lives and how entrepreneurship is different than working in a more traditional setting: (more…)
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…)
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.”
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.