Ellen Honigstock at our Neighborhood Energy Forum

We are very excited to be quickly approaching our major event of the spring, the Neighborhood Energy Forum on March 20th. The goal of this event is to hook you up with information and resources to make your home more energy efficient. Leading up to the Forum we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts about different programs and people you can look into for more information.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Ellen Honigstock, who will be leading the 1-4 family breakout session during the Energy Forum on Saturday.

To tell you a little bit about her, Ellen is the owner of Ellen Honigstock Architect PC since 1999, where she has focused the work of the firm on energy efficient retrofits for existing residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. She has also been the Residential Green Building Advocate for the Urban Green Council since 2007, working to increase the level of green building and the penetration of the LEED for Homes certification in the residential marketplace in NYC. She is also the Chair of the Homes Subcommittee for NYC’s Greening the Codes Task Force, where she has been heavily involved in recommending new green policy in NYC as related to updating NYC’s codes, rules and regulations.

I asked Ellen a few questions about what we should all be thinking about as we attempt to make energy efficiency changes in our homes.

MB: What do you think is important for people to know as they try to make their homes more energy efficient?

EH: That a building is like a living organism, if you change one thing it affects the others. Although it is easy to do, you really need to be careful to make sure you are thinking about the building as a whole, you need the whole picture.

MB: What is the message you are sending to homeowners now when there are so many different messages and programs being talked about?

EH: I am a very New York City-centric person, I do all my work here. Buildings account for 87% of our energy currently (according to PlaNYC). We need to reduce it. In 2030 we are going to have a million more people in the city but the same buildings will still be standing. We need to make changes to those buildings now. Another message is that it’s not that hard. We need to have an “oh my god!” moment where we realize how serious these energy inefficiencies are and start changing them today. I also believe community is important, and that pressure from our peers will have a positive effect. We need the community standard to be one of reduced waste. There is such colossal energy waste in our buildings, we need to get that under control.

Before we ended the interview, Ellen said, “The whole thing is so doable. The fact is little changes will save you so much money and energy usage, that’s the incentive! It’s just these small measures but everyone has to buy in.”

Come learn more about all this at our event on Saturday!

See you there!

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