Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – June 2013

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition


Green Builder® Coalition Announces New Membership Tier & Member Benefit

Visions of construction - khunaspix via

The Green Builder® Coalition is pleased to announce the creation of both a new membership tier and member benefit.

The new level, referred to as Sustaining Members, will have a reduced set of benefits, but will also come with a reduced annual dues amount of $50. The existing member levels remain unchanged. Now known as Charter Members, they will continue to enjoy all benefits of the Coalition for $300 per year. Student members will receive a limited suite of benefits for only $25 per year.

The Coalition will also unveil “The Punch List”, a new monthly publication which will keep our members* even more current on the latest news, trends and regulations in the sustainable building industry. E-distribution of this product will start in August 2013.

Here’s the breakdown of member level benefits and dues amounts:

Sustaining Members will receive the following for just $50 annually:

  •       Discounted tuition to Green Builder® College courses
  •       Electronic subscription to The Torch
  •       Use of the “Member of” logo
  •       Electronic subscription to “The Punch List”, our new monthly industry report
  •       Access to technical assistance in the building sciences
  •       Free user account to the Green Building Administrator software
  •       Access to our Advocacy Action Alerts (empowering our members to voice their opinions to decision makers)
  •       Option to subscribe to Green Builder® Magazine at discounted rate (print; additional $29.95/year)

For an annual due of $300, Charter Members will receive all Sustaining Member benefits listed above, plus:

  •       Full member access to the Green Building Administrator software
  •       Subscription to our Quarterly Industry Reports
  •       Complimentary subscription to Green Builder® Magazine (print or electronic)
  •       Access to our national & state Policy Alerts (enables Charter Members to participate in organizational policy development)
  •       Board eligibility

Student Members can join for $25 per year along with proof of current enrollment at a high school, vocational school, college or university. They enjoy:

  •       Electronic subscription to Green Builder® Magazine
  •       Discounted tuition to Green Builder® College courses
  •       Electronic subscription to The Torch
  •       Access to our Advocacy Action Alerts (empowering our members to voice their opinions to decision makers)
  •       Access to technical assistance in the building sciences
  •       Use of the “Member of” logo

To join the Green Builder® Coalition, simply visit our membership page.

The Green Builder® Coalition is a not-for-profit association dedicated to amplifying the voice of green builders and professionals to drive advocacy and education for more sustainable home building practices. We are an action-oriented community of green builders and professionals dedicated to uniting and growing our joint expertise, values and voice to create stronger standards for sustainable, more environmentally responsible home building.

*Membership is restricted to individuals only, and our focus is currently limited to the United States.

Upcoming Industry Events

Students2013 Habitat X Summer National Conference

Scheduled for Tuesday, July 30th through Friday, August 2nd, 2013 in Helena, MT, the Conference will follow three tracks: Leadership and Communication; Business and Market Transformation; and Tools and Techniques. The overarching focus is on sustainable housing. You can pick and choose from among these tracks, or follow a single track the entire week. For more information, please click here.

Excellence in Building Conference

The Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) proudly presents the 31st Excellence in Building Conference in Phoenix, AZ. From September 24 – 26th, 2013 there will be many resources, educational seminars, expert presenters and exhibitors to help you tap into the most up-to-date building science and home performance best practices and profit-building possibilities. For more information, please click here.

2013 ICC Annual Conference, Group B Public Comment Hearing and Expo

Over the course of 2 weeks (Sept. 29 – Oct. 10) in Atlantic City, NJ, attendees will be able to visit with vendors/exhibitors, receive the latest in codes education and participate in the public comment hearings for Group B, which totals 10 different codes. For complete information, please click here.

Solar Power International 2013

The solar energy industry is in high gear from October 21 – 24 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Participants can plug into the technologies, personal connections and professional insights that give rise to new business and learning opportunities. Widely regarded as the can’t-miss industry event of the year, SPI draws nearly 20,000 professionals in solar energy and related fields, from 100+ countries. For more information, please click here.

Greenbuild International Conference & Expo

Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. It brings together industry leaders, experts and frontline professionals dedicated to sustainable building in their everyday work. This year’s conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA during November 20 – 22. For more information, please click here.

Impact Series

The most recent Impact Series webinar occurred yesterday, Thursday June 27th. Dr. Benjamin Ditch, Senior Research Engineer at FM Global, and Gary Keith, Vice President of Engineering Standards at FM Global presented the results of the recent Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition/FM Global report on “The Environmental Impact of Automatic Fire Sprinklers.” While the life safety and property protection requirements are well-established, this is the first report to focus on the environmental benefits of installing fire sprinklers, particularly in the construction of new homes.

Margaret Davidson

The next edition of the Impact Series will take place on July 31st. Margaret Davidson, acting director of the National Ocean Service’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), will join us. She’ll discuss the information needed by communities, local governments and stakeholders to plan for adequate resilience, what should be accomplished toward proactive planning and investment in vulnerable communities; and identify the best practices that can be recommended to the rapidly growing coastal cities of developing countries. Starting at 1pm CT, this is sure to be a thought-provoking and highly interactive webinar. To register for free, please click here.

For past webinars, you can visit the archives at:

As I Am…

Kim Shanahan

Kim ShanahanEach issue, we’ll sit down with a green building professional to gain a personal insight into their motivations, inspirations and experiences. This issue, we feature Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association.

The Torch: What motivated you to enter the sustainability industry?

Kim Shanahan: I started becoming aware of this instinct as a 14 year-old in 1970. But the event that solidified my commitment to help change the built environment was hearing Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, deliver a keynote address at a Land Use Law Conference in Albuquerque in 2006.

As a builder and prospective developer of a 100 unit affordable housing project in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I knew, after hearing Ed scare the bejeezus out of me on the impacts of climate change and the direct blame the built environment must bear, that our project would be a model of what the market could produce and absorb. The homes would be green, sustainable, energy efficient, and proven so by RESNET HERS raters. The project was a great success until the crash in the Fall of 2008.

TT: Describe your first green project. Did you encounter any hurdles on that first project? (If yes, how did you overcome them?)

KS: My first green and sustainable home was one I designed and built as a young struggling carpenter with no money. Built with dirt from the site using re-cycled shipping pallets for interior walls, green, from my perspective in 1991, was about resource efficiency and making do with virtually nothing.

The first significant commercial project was the affordable housing subdivision described above. The homes achieved HERS ratings in the mid-50s and featured a heating and hot water system using a 4×10 solar thermal panel that provided all domestic hot water and backed up a hydronic forced air furnace with built-in HRV.

The hurdle on the project was convincing city inspectors the system would work as designed (it did), and convincing solar radiant heating experts that a forced air system utilizing hot water backed up by a solar thermal panel was a viable system (it is). The hurdle that could not be overcome, however, was closing the spigot on home financing that occurred nationwide in October of 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

TT: What building product or technique do you think will be the next “game changer”?

KS: The rise of a completely new trade in residential construction is a game changer. Thermal Bypass/Air Barrier installation subcontractors did not exist 10 years ago. This new trade is as much consultant as practitioner and almost always necessary for Energy Star and HERS rated homes.

If they are hired when all mechanical trades are completed after the framing stage, but before insulation goes in, the cost can be very high, especially in complex custom homes. If, however, the trade consultant is in at the design stage, the specification stage, and the pre-construction trades meeting, then much of the expensive installation can be mitigated.

As for products, I fantasize about a stucco additive that turns exterior walls into solar PV receptacles during sunlight with battery storage for night time use.

TT: Who inspires you the most?

KS: In sustainability consciousness, many have. In a timeline, it would probably start with reading about John Muir as a kid, wanting to be a back to nature hippy (too young), Al Gore’s movie, Ed Mazria’s keynote address, and of course Ron Jones and his evolving interaction with the National Association of Home Builders.

TT: If you had it to do over again, what profession would you choose?

KS: Roving foreign correspondent dodging bullets to observe and report on strife and mayhem. Watching the Vietnam War on television as an adolescent had a huge influence on my life’s perspective.

TT: What do you enjoy the most when you’re not at work?

KS: Puttering around the cabin I built ten years ago on Cow Creek, a headwater tributary of the Pecos River in the Santa Fe National Forest. Actually owning land adjacent to flowing water in New Mexico almost seems sacrilegious because it is such a precious and holy public resource in the driest state in the nation. I absolve my guilt with sensitive stewardship.

TT: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d like to pass along to others?

KS: Never stop believing you can make a difference.

Job Opportunities

Below you will find job postings for green collar jobs around the country.

If you have a job opening you’d like to list here, please contact the Green Builder® Coalition at

CLEAResult (, an energy-optimization firm that designs and implements programs to help utilities manage load growth by helping customers identify energy-savings opportunities and implement energy-efficiency improvements, is currently hiring energy-efficiency engineers, consultants, analysts and coordinators. All but four of these positions are full-time with full benefits. Candidates should have experience conducting energy audits, identifying energy-efficiency opportunities, using energy-modeling tools, performing energy-savings calculations, and/or developing measurement & verification (M&V) plans.  P.E. and/or C.E.M. certification is preferred but not required. To view these listings, please click here.

At press time, they had 34 jobs in the following cities:

Austin, TX (9)

Chicago, IL (4)

Tulsa, OK (1)

Little Rock, AR (5)

Okemos, MI (5)

Lancaster, PA (1)

Indianapolis, IN (3)

Houston, TX (1)

Saginaw, MI (1)

Half Moon Bay, CA (3)

Oklahoma City, OK (1)

CLEAResult is an energy-optimization firm that develops and implements energy-efficiency programs on behalf of utility companies across the country.  Our programs are designed to help utilities manage load growth and meet legislative requirements by identifying energy-savings opportunities and implementing energy-efficiency improvements.  CLEAResult is ranked on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

If you are interested in any of the above job openings, please contact:

James Hatheway
(512) 259-2383

Or apply via this website:

The Institute for Market Transformation is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. The prevailing focus of IMT’s work is energy efficiency in buildings. Our activities include technical and market research, policy and program development, and promotion of best practices and knowledge exchange.  All our work involves many collaborators and targets a broad range of stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.

They are looking for a new part-time Development Director to join our team of experts and dedicated professionals promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. The Development Director will design and implement a multifaceted development program that robustly supports our mission to promote energy efficiency in buildings. The Development Director’s primary responsibilities include: crafting the organization’s development agenda and materials; forging and strengthening relationships with the foundation community; researching and writing grant proposals and reports; building an effective major donor campaign; and expanding IMT’s donor base to increase our visibility, impact, and financial resources.

The successful candidate will be an experienced development professional with 5-7 years of fundraising experience in a nonprofit organization and a demonstrated record of success growing revenues from both foundations and individual donors. Exceptional writing and oral communication skills are essential, as is the ability to manage and meet multiple deadlines simultaneously. The ideal candidate will have a strong knowledge of environmental and/or energy efficiency issues and their associated funding communities. Experience with fundraising in an international context is also preferred.

The salary is commensurate with qualifications. To apply, please email a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to Please write “Development Director” in the subject line. IMT is an equal opportunity employer.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) currently has 52 jobs listed on their site. Please note the closing date on the position prior to applying. Most are located in their home state of Washington, though 3 of the posted positions are based in College Park, MD and one opening is listed for Washington, DC.  If you have any interest in these highly scientific roles, please visit their career site by clicking here.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA; is a collaborative network advancing energy efficiency in the Midwest to support sustainable economic development and environmental preservation. They have 4 job openings:

#1: Program Manager – Lighting & Education: The Program Manager will report directly to the Director of Programs and engage in oversight for a variety of MEEA programming including but not limited to: Lights for Learning (L4L) K-12 education and fundraiser program, Direct Install Program, regional Solid-State Lighting initiatives and other programs as assigned. The Manager will also develop and deliver the annual Midwest SSL Perceptions Survey and compile the final report.  In addition to program delivery, the Manager will be responsible for new program development and expansion of existing programs throughout the Midwest.

Candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree with at least 4-6 years’ experience in direct program development/management. To view the full listing, please click here.

The compensation for this position will be commensurate with experience. MEEA is an equal opportunity employer. MEEA’s office is in Chicago, in a LEED Gold space in the Civic Opera Building in the Loop.

Submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to with the subject line: 2013 Program Manager – Lighting & Education. Applicants must submit all three items by close of business on Monday, July 8th. Search Candidates considered for interviews will be asked to provide writing samples and references.

#2: Program Associate – Commercial & Residential Programs: The Program Associate will work under the supervision of the Commercial and Residential Program Managers and appropriate staff in cooperation with MEEA’s Director of Programs to administratively support MEEA commercial building programming including the Building Operator Certification® (BOC) and Practical Energy Management® programs and MEEA residential programming including Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® and HVAC SAVE. In particular, the Program Associate will assist in administrative duties for 25-30 BOC training series in 8-9 Midwest states, residential building science classes, and help issue state certificates for energy efficient homes.

Applicants must have a B.A. or B.S. in the fields of environmental science/studies, architecture, natural resource management, public administration, or a related field with at least one to two years related work experience in a professional environment. Experience in administrative or professional support capacity, as well as website updating and content management, preferred. Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office software suite desired. To view the full listing, please click here.

The compensation for this position will be commensurate with experience. MEEA is an equal opportunity employer. MEEA’s office is in Chicago, in a LEED Gold space in the Civic Opera Building in the Loop.

Submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to with the subject line: 2013 Program Associate – Commercial & Residential Programs. Applicants must submit all three items by close of business on Friday, July 12th. Search Candidates considered for interviews will be asked to provide writing samples and three references.

#3: Commercial Program Manager: The Commercial Program Manager will manage MEEA’s local, state and regional commercial building energy efficiency initiatives while expanding program offerings, increasing program success and serving under the direction of the Director of Programs.  The focus of the Program Manager’s work will be management and expansion of Building Operator Certification® (BOC) and Practical Energy Management® (PEM), as well as other programs as assigned.

MEEA is seeking candidates with a B.A. or B.S. in the fields of environmental science, natural resource management, engineering or related field/experience with at least 4-6 years’ experience in direct program development/management. CEM, PE, LEED AP or related certification is considered a plus. To view the full listing, please click here.

The compensation for this position will be commensurate with experience. MEEA is an equal opportunity employer. MEEA’s office is in Chicago, in a LEED Gold space in the Civic Opera Building in the Loop.

Submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to with the subject line: 2013 Commercial Program Manager. Applicants must submit all three items by close of business on Monday, July 1st. Search Candidates considered for interviews will be asked to provide writing samples and three references.

#4: Energy Efficiency Interns: MEEA seeks interns on an ongoing, as-needed basis to support a variety of energy efficiency policy and communication initiatives. Internships are unpaid but offer a meaningful opportunity to develop your skills and ideas in a collegial, small-office environment. Length of internship can vary. Hours are flexible but require a commitment of at least 10 hours per week.

If you are interested in interning at MEEA please email, including a cover letter letting us know what area(s) of our policy or program work you are interested in, and an up to date resume. We are currently considering interns for the summer of 2013.

The Alliance to Save Energy is seeking a Senior Communications Associate to help its Communications Team promote energy efficiency to the public and policymakers. The Senior Communications Associate’s time will be divided between strengthening media relations and writing original content for our print and online publications. Under the direction of the VP of Communications, the Associate will be responsible for assisting with media outreach and responding to media inquiries.  The Associate also will write and edit news articles, resources and marketing material for our websites.  The Associate also will undertake a variety of additional communications tasks, including those associated with consumer education campaigns and Alliance events. The Associate must be able to juggle multiple tasks requiring diverse skills under tight deadlines.

This position has a salary range of Salary $45,000 – $55,000, depending on skills and experience. Writing test required. To see the complete job listing, please click here.

The Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. To apply, please send a cover letter detailing experience and qualifications, resume and writing samples to

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE; is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. They currently seek a qualified Research Analyst for their Policy Program.

This full-time position will focus on local policy as a member of its Policy Team. The position provides a balance of research, analysis, and outreach on energy efficiency policy in the United States as it relates to policy and program implementation by local governments and in cities and metropolitan regions. The Analyst will research various efficiency policy issues including those related to local government operations, water and wastewater service provision, building and development policies, land use/transportation decisions, and multifamily housing. ACEEE’s local policy work also emphasizes local job creation, economic development, and the environmental health benefits of energy efficiency.  Focusing on energy issues across economic sectors at the local level, the Research Analyst will have a variety of research opportunities in one of ACEEE’s most multi-disciplinary programs.

The successful candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree or rigorous coursework in policy analysis, urban planning, economics, engineering, and/or science. ACEEE is looking for someone with 1-3 years of work experience, preferably with demonstrated project coordination experience. Also, experience in policy analysis or planning, preferably including work on local government issues including housing or transportation, and energy, environmental, and/or utility policy is desired.

The compensation for this position will be commensurate with experience. ACEEE is an equal opportunity employer. Their office is in Washington, DC.  Please send a resume with cover letter and brief (1-2 pages) writing sample to Please use “Local Policy Research Analyst” in the subject line. We do not accept phone calls. For full information, please click here.

Southern Energy Management (SEM), the Southeast’s leading provider of sustainable energy solutions, is seeking a full-time Marketing Manager, a part-time Building Performance Technician and a temporary Solar PV Technician to join their Building Performance team.

The Marketing Manager will be responsible for planning and executing marketing initiatives to support the growth and profitability of our energy efficiency and solar energy company. The ideal team member will be a marketing “jack of all trades” and be able to manage marketing campaigns from print and online, advertising, brochures, direct mail, and sales displays to social media, community events and public relations. SEM offers competitive salaries and an outstanding benefits package to full-time regular team members including health insurance and 401(k). To view the listing, please click here.

The part-time Building Performance Technician will be based out of Charlotte with the majority of the Technician’s work days beginning from the Building Performance Technician’s home address. The Building Performance Technician supports the day-to-day goals of the company through efficient fulfillment of contracted work via effective team coordination and streamlined communication of actionable information. A Building Performance Technician is expected to assist and lead in the collection of field data for residential new and existing single family and multifamily housing. Included in the collection of field data are visual inspections and performance testing. Visual inspections include the inspection in new housing for HERS Ratings, ENERGY STAR compliance, and inspection in new housing for various Green Building certifications programs including: NAHB Green Building Certification Program, LEED for Homes, Water Sense, and Earth Craft. Performance Testing includes but is not limited to the testing of whole building leakage, HVAC duct system leakage, exhaust fan flows, room pressures, and HVAC flow testing. Having the HERS Rater and/or BPI Building Analyst Professional designation is definitely preferred, but is not required. To view the full listing, please click here.

The Solar PV Technician position is project-based and temporary. The Solar PV Technician will work with SEM’s fast-growing Solar Operations team. This job does not include any benefits. To view the listing, please click here.

Any listing above does not constitute an endorsement by the Green Builder® Coalition. We do not have any professional or financial stake in the preceding information. Rather, we provide this solely for the benefit of those seeking employment.


Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought

Calling All Creative Minds

Recently, President Obama unveiled his national climate action plan to address climate change. He would like to see the EPA issue stricter carbon emission regulations for power plants. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), they emit 40% of the U.S.’ total carbon, so they’re a big culprit. Obama also wants to expand solar and wind power on public land. Another large goal is to stimulate innovation, through $8 billion in federal loan guarantees, on carbon capture systems that can be used by power plants. Finally, he offered guidance to the State Department in regards to their upcoming decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. In effect, Obama is looking for a net-zero effect from the proposed pipeline.

His words were pretty specific for a politician, yet not completely surprising, either. During his State of the Union address back in February (which I also wrote about), he warned Congress he would act if they couldn’t or wouldn’t. Frankly, this situation has needed urgency for quite some time. It seems lip service is all the U.S. government has been able to generate on the topic of increased environmental responsibility. Look, rhetoric is great around a campfire, but it doesn’t feed the horses.

I’m sure there is already hand-wringing going on, and many lawyers salivating at the chance to challenge some of these edicts in court. I’m not saying the road ahead is going to be easy. Hardly! We face some tough decisions, both as a nation and globally. Which direction will we take? There’s the ideal path. Then, there’s the path that deeply entrenched special interests would choose to maintain the status quo. Finally, there’s the land of compromise, also known as Washington, DC. That brings me back to the U.S. government and the President’s most recent comments.

The GAO recently released this report which reviews the steps “taken since 2007 to address adaptation and how these agencies have collaborated at the national level on adaptation since 2007.” However, it’s a retrospective, and the “GAO is not making any recommendations”.[1] Thankfully, the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management are in the process of developing climate change adaptation plans.

To truly combat these issues, and make real progress, I feel we need as many creative minds involved as possible. It would be fantastic if those involved were politically independent, meaning they had no funding ties to Big (fill in the blank). More simply, they give their time and talents for the betterment of their country and planet, not their bank account or ego.

Sure, it may be altruistic to think that way. But I recall shortly after September 11th, all the federal security agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, the newly created TSA and DHS, etc.) were ordered to work more closely together. One of the exercises they undertook was to invite writers from Hollywood (and elsewhere) to collaborate with security analysts[2]. The goal was to brainstorm about all the different vulnerabilities our country could possibly face from terrorists, domestic or foreign.

While those writers were probably compensated for their time, I couldn’t name a single one of them, and I doubt many people could. But in that dire time of need, our government realized we needed more creativity than was present in our politicians and bureaucrats.

I see a parallel between that story and our current situation. We cannot allow this topic to get stuck in the political muck. The scientific community has spoken on this, and we should have been listening to them years ago. Now is the time to move past listening, and on to creative solutions. It’s time to empower the big thinkers and the innovators, because while a solution might not currently be reality, I’m betting there’s one creative and innovative mind out there that simply needs the inspiration to make it so.

UPDATE: Here are six global examples of cities that have developed climate adaptation plans. While only two are U.S. cities, this is a global issue and I’m glad to see countries like Ecuador and South Africa taking a leadership role, too. I think it also further proves the point that if Ecuador can address this issue, then the U.S. should be able to.

[1]  GAO study; Climate Change: Various Adaptation Efforts Are Under Way at Key Natural Resource Management Agencies. May 31, 2013.

[2] Emerging Threats and Security Planning: How Should We Decide What Hypothetical Threats to Worry About? by Brian Anthony Jackson and David R. Frelinger; page 3. Copyright 2009.

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