Green Builder Coalition

The Torch – August 2011

The Torch Offical Publication of Green Builder Coalition


Green Builder® Coalition to Participate in Panel on Sustainable RecoveryGreen Building Focus Conference & Expo

Four months ago, we were asked to create a new, national initiative to provide assistance to communities affected by natural disasters. The goal is to guide recovery efforts in a more sustainable direction.

From that moment forward, the Green Builder® Coalition, Greensburg GreenTown™ and Green Builder® Media have been formulating the Sustainable Recovery Initiative (SRI). It is both ambitious in scope and significant in its potential. We are almost to the point where we can start promoting it to the building and policy-making communities.

The three principal figures of the aforementioned organizations have been invited to conduct a panel discussion on the SRI at the Green Building Focus Conference and Expo in Birmingham, AL. With its theme of “Rebuilding Sustainable Communities”, this event is an ideal setting to unveil such an endeavor. The presenters are:

  • Ron Jones, President of Green Builder® Media
  • Daniel Wallach, Founder of Greensburg GreenTown
  • Mike Collignon, Executive Director of Green Builder® Coalition

On September 15th from 1:30-2:30pm, we will present the two major components of this initiative. We will also have a small booth presence, where attendees can gather more information. Listed as Sustainable Recovery Initiative, our booth number will be 340 and will be found just outside the doors to the Breakout Pavilion.

We hope to see you there.

Green Builder® Coalition to “Attend” CEDIA and EEBA

CEDIA Expo 2011The Green Builder® Coalition will share a booth with Green Builder® Media at both the CEDIA Expo and EEBA Conference. Hosted in Indianapolis, IN, CEDIA Expo’s trade show occurs on September 8-10. The Coalition will have our banner stand and promotional material available in booth #2351. Information on the expo can be found here.

EEBA Conference 2011
One week later, we will do the same thing at EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference and Expo. The expo starts on the evening of September 14th, and runs through the 15th. You can find our small presence in booth #16 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, NV. Information on this conference is located here.



Please Vote for the Coalition’s Proposed Sessions for RESNET 20122012 RESNET Building Performance Conference

The RESNET 2012 conference is scheduled for February 27-29, 2012 in Austin, TX. The theme is, “Let’s Get Down to Business.” Through September 26th, you can submit your vote for your ten favorite core conference sessions at the upcoming conference. Amongst many quality proposals, the Green Builder® Coalition has 3 nominations on the ballot. They are:

  • 2012-45: Three Essential Components of a Successful Green Business
  • 2012-100: Building Codes from the 30,000 foot level
  • 2012-193: The Sustainable Recovery Initiative

To view the full list of nominations (PDF), click here. To vote for your top 10, please click here.

Impact Series Features Former EPA Administrator

William RuckelshausWilliam D. Ruckelshaus, the very first Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, will be the next presenter in the Impact Series on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 1:00pm CT.

Ruckelshaus began his distinguished career as an attorney in 1960 in Indianapolis, and he went on to hold many prestigious positions in law firms throughout the country. Mr. Ruckelshaus became the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s first Administrator when the agency was formed in December 1970, where he served until April 1973. In April 1973, he was appointed acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and in the same year was appointed Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice. In 1983, Mr. Ruckelshaus was appointed by President Reagan as the fifth EPA Administrator until 1985.

He currently is the Strategic Director in the Madrona Venture Group and serves on the Board of numerous profit and non for profit organizations, including The Energy Foundation, Center for Global Development and founding Director of the Initiative for Global Development.

To register for this webinar, please click here.

To view past webinars, they are archived here.

As I Am…

Ray TonjesRay Tonjes

Each 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 Ray Tonjes.

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

Ray Tonjes: I can’t say there was any “defining moment”. My interest evolved over a relatively long period of time. I had been adversely affected in my previous profession (as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and Braniff Airlines) by the oil shortages in the mid 70’s and early 80’s. I was keenly aware of the effects oil shortages had on our overall national security and economy. When I started my homebuilding career in 1983, well before the term “green building” was coined, it “just happened” to be the same time that the City of Austin started to organize its first energy conversation program. I attended the first organizational meetings and started to learn about better ways to build more energy efficient houses. Interestingly, Austin’s first energy conservation program (in 1985) was called “Energy Star” and eventually evolved into the nation’s first Green Building Program in 1991.

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

RT:  I guess it was the first home I built for my family in 1984. I was able to incorporate what I was learning at that first energy conservation meeting into my home. Things like solar shades, cellulose insulation, and the first generation of radiant barriers (which the city was giving away just to get builders to try it!)

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

RT:  I’m not “holding my breath” for any one building product or technique to revolutionize our industry, but I do think over time we will see more factory built, modular type components that are site assembled.

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

RT:  I think architecture. I came very close to switching majors in my sophomore year in college. The fact that I had already made a commitment to the Air Force with an established graduation date didn’t make it possible to at the time.)

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

RT:  I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have much of a life outside of my chosen profession. I do enjoy advocating for Green Building and have been fortunate to have had the opportunities to do so on a local, state and national level

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

RT:  PATIENCE!!  Homebuilding is still a relatively “low tech” process (sometimes with “high tech” expectations) and meaningful change takes time. For example, Austin has one of the most aggressive energy conservation/green building programs in the country but it has taken 25 years to get there. With that said, we all need to continue to “push the bar” in our sustainability efforts.

Benefit Spotlight

The Green Builder® Coalition staff produces a quarterly building industry report. This document reviews codes and regulations on a state and national level. In each issue, one state gets the spotlight treatment. The report also takes an in-depth look into other noteworthy programs that shape the sustainable building industry. Past topics have included the Green MLS, CalGreen and the International Green Construction Code. This quality publication is published and distributed to the members at no additional cost.

To join the Green Builder® Coalition, please click here.

Job Opportunities

This is the debut of what we hope will be a recurring feature in The Torch. Below you will find 3 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-efficiency company that designs, implements, and evaluates energy-optimization programs on behalf of utilities, is currently hiring energy engineers who have experience doing commercial, industrial, and/or institutional energy audits.

Candidates for these positions should have experience conducting building energy audits, identifying energy-efficiency opportunities, using energy-modeling tools such as DOE-2/eQuest, performing energy-savings calculations, and/or developing measurement and verification (M&V) plans.  P.E. and/or C.E.M. certification is preferred but not required.

Current energy-engineer openings are in Indianapolis (IN) and Little Rock (AR).  The following are direct links to the job descriptions of those two openings:


Little Rock:

If you are interested, please contact:

James Hatheway
(512) 259-2383 direct
(512) 586-1573 mobile

SEEA ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit active in 13 states, with the mission of promoting and achieving energy efficiency through networking, program activities, and education. They are looking for a Better Buildings Program Associate to assist the Director of Municipal Energy Efficiency Programs with all tasks related to the effective administration of the Better Buildings Program grant and management of all sub grantee cities. The Associate will also work closely with the entire SEEA team.

The position requires strong project management skills, coupled with the ability to absorb and analyze large amounts of information quickly. There will be considerable exposure to subject matter in a wide variety of fields related to energy efficiency, e.g. finance, marketing, calculations of emissions reductions, workforce development. While the successful candidate may not be an expert in any of these areas, they must find such topics both intellectually interesting and professionally fulfilling.

This position requires sound organizational and communications skills, a demonstrated ability to work independently, to contribute effectively as a member of a team, and to collaborate with other SEEA teams and outside organizations.

Salary is competitive based upon experience. SEEA offers a generous benefits package and a stimulating work environment in Midtown Atlanta convenient to public transit (MARTA) rail and bus routes. Consideration of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. SEEA is an equal opportunity employer.

To view the full job description, please click here.

To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to:

Mandy Mahoney
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
999 Peachtree Street
Atlanta GA 30309
No phone calls please.

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

By now, you might be one of the many who’s tired of hearing and reading about the debt debacle in DC. Of course, if you like political theater, this epic is right up your alley. As much as two years in the making, it appears the two sides of the aisle have reluctantly and begrudgingly agreed to a deal that would simply put off this debate for another 16 months or so. So that means a sequel is coming to a newspaper, TV or computer screen near all of us? Splendid! But in the meantime, a handcuffed 12-member committee gets to decide where a boat-load of cuts will be found, thus extending this saga? Even better!

All sarcasm aside, it’s one thing for politicians to haggle and wail and gnash their teeth in DC. As long as they keep it contained to the interior of the beltway, the damage is limited. But when it spills outside of their little world, then it becomes a real problem, and one that justifiably garners our attention.

Yes, just when you thought it wasn’t possible, our elected officials have sunk to new lows. On August 5th, Standard & Poor’s made an unprecedented decision to drop the United States government’s credit rating. Why? Daniel Gross, economics editor of Yahoo! Finance, wrote, “Recent events have sapped the agency’s confidence that the government can and will do what is necessary to align revenues with spending commitments.”[1] While the financial markets were already anticipating this downgrade, the actual decision is no less important. Yes, the S&P’s process has been called into question, but I wonder if some of that isn’t a character assault meant to publicly punish the agency for taking such a bold step.

Predictably, the blame game was in full force immediately after the downgrade. Of course, the two parties pointed their fingers at each other. The Tea Party tried to steal some spotlight by jumping into the post-mortem. The very intelligent Gregg Easterbrook blamed the de facto leaders of both political parties, calling the Barack Obama-John Boehner national-debt deal “as phony as a three-dollar-bill”[2]. Mark Cuban, as he is wont to do, used a more pointed and blatant approach and called our country “absolutely insane” for thinking that politicians will change their behaviors[3]. Say what you want about his persona, but he puts forth a fairly civilized and historical review of the matter.

I have felt for some time now that our country will soon have to make many tough decisions. Debt, trade deficits, taxes, spending, health care, energy sourcing, resource management, immigration… the list goes on and on. (The longer we push them off, the more they pile up.) Other than the negative impacts of procrastination, I don’t necessarily worry about the outcome of those debates as much as who will be debating those complex topics. Will it be someone who only cares about their political future? Their political party’s interests? Personal gain? Or will we have someone in a position of authority who can weigh both sides of the argument and use common sense to make a decision that inflicts the least amount of harm? Even better, will we have someone who can look beyond the end of their term and consider the future ramifications of his/her decision? Will we have someone willing to disregard their political future and do what is truly in the best interest of the nation? Or maybe, to be more succinct, will someone think of their grandchildren when contemplating these complex issues?

We can only hope. Like the defeat of the “BULB Act”, politicians can give us an occasional ray of hope. In my opinion, it’s time to start basking in a brighter future.

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