We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.
Meet Bright Power team member Sarah Spencer, Manager of Analysis, National.
What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
It’s great to work at a company with sustainability truly at the core of its values. There are not many companies out there that come close to Bright Power in how we “walk the talk”—not only in terms of our services offered but also our involvement in shaping policy and creating a community of like-minded professionals in NYC. Not to mention my amazing team who keeps me smiling every day!
What brought you to Bright Power?
I have been involved in the green building industry for several years since I graduated from college. Prior to joining Bright Power, I worked as a building science consultant, and then as a green building educator, teaching courses on building standards such as LEED and WELL. My current role at Bright Power pulls together the things I love most about this industry—interacting with people to help them make data-driven decisions on energy efficiency investments for their assets.
What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
Some of the most rewarding projects I have worked on are in the affordable housing space. One that I found most interesting was working with NYCHA and RDC Development (MDG Design + Construction and Wavecrest Management, a private developer, to form the energy baselines necessary to rehabilitate a large cluster of affordable housing in the Bronx through the RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) program, helping the building undergo much needed major renovations.
Last year, I worked with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and HPD to inform policy related to tenant utility allowances for high-efficiency buildings using heat pumps. It’s great to witness high-performance measures becoming commonplace in the affordable arena.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I track and manage the energy of many Passive House properties across the United States. One of my clients, Riseboro Community Partnership, has two Passive House buildings in the NYC area, one of which was the first multifamily affordable Passive House to be completed in the country. It’s exciting to be involved in these cutting-edge developments, especially when they also have a positive impact on the community. People also might not realize that I come from an engineering background and recently got approved for my CEM (Certified Energy Manager) credential.
You’re one of our compliance experts. What are some of the municipalities and jurisdictions you’ve worked with?
The analysis team at Bright Power performs energy benchmarking and reporting all around the country, from Seattle and Los Angeles to Boston and Orlando. It’s inspiring to see so many jurisdictions taking the initiative on setting carbon emissions reduction goals.
New York City, in order to keep its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, has implemented Local Law 84/133, which requires properties 25,000 square feet and above to report their energy usage data to the City on an annual basis. In 2019 alone, my team and I submitted over 1,300 of these energy benchmarks. By the numbers, Bright Power reports for over 5% of NYC’s eligible buildings. Considering the number of buildings in NYC, it means a lot to take such an active role in coming closer to that 80% reduction goal.
This year, another big player in the compliance benchmarking arena was the State of California, who became the first state to require all building types (public, commercial, and residential) over 50,000 square feet to report energy usage data.
What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
While we’re talking about compliance, Bright Power has been selected by Fannie Mae to provide energy and water measurement and verification for Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Green Financing programs. We are providing services to Borrowers and Lenders to make it easy for them to gather, analyze, and report on energy and water usage and savings.
Bright Power also performs this service for green loans from Freddie Mac. It’s an easy way to be sure the energy and water efficiency measures installed at our client’s properties are performing as they should be while also helping our clients comply with their loan requirements.