Most of us try in both our personal and professional lives to do what we can to reduce the impact of climate change but rarely do our actions go beyond the local level.
|Back row L to R: Brian Swett, Geoff Chapin, Gary Cohen; Front: Berl Hartman|
On September 30th the E2 New England chapter heard from three unusual leaders whose work at the local level is truly having a national or even global influence.
Making an Impact with Energy Efficiency
Our first speaker, Geoff Chapin, founded Next Step Living in 2008. Since then it has grown to over 850 employees and is the leading provider of whole-home energy solutions. It is moving the dial on innovation in the region and across the nation. In 2014, he was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in New England and the company was named No. 84 on the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing companies. In a mere seven years, Next Step Living has served over 80,000 homes and created the savings equivalent of a coal train ~40 miles long. It has expanded from Massachusetts to Connecticut and will soon enter the New York market. The company uses innovative data driven methods to identify homes that will benefit the most from energy efficiency. And Geoff personally is carrying that message to states across the country, as part of E2’s “More Jobs, Less Carbon” campaign.
Boston programs set examples nationwide
Next up was Brian Swett, Chief of Environment & Energy at City of Boston.
The city used pioneering community involvement techniques such as the Green Ribbon Commission and Greenovate Boston to bring many of the City’s local leaders and neighborhoods to the table to implement nation-leading policies.Last year the city passed a Building Energy Reporting & Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) that will require all large and medium buildings to report annual energy and water use. The Ordinance encompasses about 2,100 buildings, representing only 2.5% of total number of buildings but nearly 40% of total square footage of building space in Boston. Clearly these policies are working! Greenhouse gas emissions are down 16% since 2005 and Boston was ranked #1 in the country in energy efficiency in 2013.
Climate Change: The biggest Global health threat of the 21st Century
Finally, Gary Cohen, President & Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm
described how his organization works locally & globally not only to prepare for the health impacts related to climate change, but to lead society in addressing them. They are working to assist hospitals in kicking their addiction to fossil fuels and become early adopters of renewable energy, which both saves them money and aligns with their mission to choose energy that is also healthier for the planet. They are helping Doctors become messengers for environmental health.
Many thanks to our host, the law firm of Nixon Peabody.