At Greenbuild: Leading Southern Cities Ramp Up on Energy Efficiency

Are you heading to the Greenbuild International Conference in New Orleans next week? If so, be sure to check out the panel, Leading Southern Cities Ramp Up on Energy Efficiency, on October 22 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. The panel members will discuss the ways Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando are increasing energy efficiency in existing large buildings.

In order for cities to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions, they must address their building stock. Large public and private buildings make up about half of the built square footage in cities and are the cause of a significant portion of carbon emissions. Since buildings are concentrated in cities, and an estimated 80 percent of buildings in 2030 will be buildings that already exist today, focusing on existing buildings is key to drive down a city's energy use.

And cities are doing just that. From Houston's Green Office Challenge that just launched its third year, to Atlanta's Better Buildings Challenge program with 70 million square feet of buildings committed to reducing energy use, to Orlando Mayor Dyer's Climate and Energy Summit that jumpstarted the mayor's commitment to craft efficiency and green building policy, it is clear these southern cities are taking great strides to reduce their city's energy use.

By partnering with the City Energy Project, a national effort to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings, Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando have spent the last several months scoping strategies to further advance the cities' sustainability goals. At Greenbuild, each city will discuss what energy efficiency measures they've taken to date and some of the challenges they face.

So if you're in New Orleans next week, join these great panelists:

• Laurie Kerr, Senior Policy Advisor for Urban Solutions at the Natural Resource Defense Council. Prior to this role, Laurie was the Director of the City Energy Project, where she assisted ten U.S. cities develop and implement energy efficiency programs. Laurie has also served as the Deputy Director for Green Building and Energy Efficiency in the New York City Mayor's Office, where she helped develop PlaNYC, New York's influential plan for sustainable growth through 2030, and led the development of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan and the NYC Green Codes Task Force. Laurie has a Master's in Architecture from Harvard, and has over 15 years' experience working as a licensed architect. Laurie also has a degree in engineering from Yale and a degree in applied physics from Cornell.

• Lisa Lin, Sustainability Manager for the City of Houston. Lisa oversees various environmental programs in Houston, such as the Green Office Challenge, DOE's Better Buildings Challenge, Houston's bike share program, the City's benchmarking initiative, and climate action planning for the City, to name a few. Prior to joining the Mayor's office, Lisa was a program associate and the South Central Regional Associate for ICLEI USA's Climate Programs Division. She has experience working for a commercial architecture firm and has served on the USGBC Emerging Professionals National Committee and is a current board member of the USGBC-Texas Gulf Coast chapter. Lisa has a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University.

• Jonathan Ippel, Sustainability Director and Special Assistant to the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Orlando. In his current position, Jon is a chair in Mayor Dyer's Green Works Orlando committee, where he oversees policy and project implementation for all of Orlando's environmental programs. Some of these programs cover municipal and community energy programs, electric vehicle deployment, renewables, recycling, management of the city's sustainability grants, sustainable landscaping policies, and green building programs. Previously, Jon helped successfully pass Orlando's first two sustainability plans -- the 2012 Sustainable Municipal Operations Plan and the 2013 Green Works Community Action Plan. Jon holds a Master's in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.

Ruthie Norton, Senior Project Manager for the City of Atlanta. Ruthie has worked in the Mayor's Office of Sustainability since 2011, first as an Environmental Defense Fund Fellow, where she conducted energy audits on the City's fire stations, and currently in her role helping the City build its sustainability policies. She also manages projects related to urban agriculture, energy, and waste. Previously, Ruthie became a LEED Green Associate while completing a masters' degree for Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech. Her Master's thesis was based on extensive research she conducted on renewable energy technologies in the Southeast. Ruthie holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Georgia, where she focused her studies on ecological systems and supported graduate research projects in a biogeochemistry lab on campus.

About the Authors

Melissa Wright

Director, City Energy Project, and Senior Adviser, Urban Solutions

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