I worked in environmental sustainability for more than a decade in Austin, Texas. I got my start as a senior research analyst at Austin Energy Green Building, the country’s oldest green building program, housed at the municipal electric utility. I worked on new technologies like electric vehicles, as well as nitty-gritty local policy stuff like zoning requirements. I got to tell green building stories in the annual report I produced every year.
As the Director of Sustainability for Foundation Communities, an Austin-based affordable housing non-profit, my proudest accomplishment was leading the installation of a megawatt of solar on the rooftops of our buildings. I built the economic value of sustainability to $1 million a year: energy we didn’t use, water we didn’t waste, and more. I trained dozens of staff members in green operations and maintenance. The City of Austin named me a Net Zero Hero for this work in 2018. It was a dream job that still reverberates through my work.