Did you know that less than a quarter of all workers employed in energy-efficiency fields are women? Solar companies, utilities, and other facets of the energy industry also report uninspiringly low numbers of female participation.

Today we are celebrating boundary-pushing women who are bucking the trend. Below are five energy warriors who are creating change that matters and generating new possibilities. These female architects, energy-efficiency specialists, and contractors remind us to get up and do something!


AMANDA POINDEXTER
Owner of Full Circle Construction Services; Chair of the USGBC Roaring Fork Branch

What role has gender played in your life? And what do women uniquely bring to the table?
I grew up on the construction jobsite and at the motocross track with my dad, totally unaware of the gender inequalities in those fields because my dad didn’t care if I was a girl or a boy and I never questioned it… until I got into college and realized that women only accounted for 3% of those pursuing a degree in Construction Management. Women bring a different perspective to the table; an ability to see the big picture, as well as the tiny details and taking logical.

What is something about your industry you would like to draw more attention to? Or an upcoming project that excited you?
Building with nature in mind; building buildings that work with the landscape, buildings that utilize passive means to heat and cool itself while while providing healthy interiors for the inhabitants. The Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center is the most efficient building in the world in its climate zone and it’s right here in our backyard!


ANGELA LOUGHRY
Architect, Sustainability Consultant, Vice President of Confluence Architecture

What role has gender played in your life? And what do women uniquely bring to the table?
Due to societal expectations, I have learned to empathize, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Due to the realities of being a working mom, I have excelled at time management. Any project can use more of both!

What is something about your industry you would like to draw more attention to? Or an upcoming project or plan that excites you?
Two things I champion are net-zero buildings and healthy building materials. I am excited that net-zero buildings are within reach of most projects given the will (and those increasingly affordable PV panels). I am challenged the building industry still struggles get clear information about the health impacts of the materials we use. I am working to change this.


BEATRIZ SOTO 
Arquitecta

What role has gender played in your life? And what do women uniquely bring to the table?
9% of architecture students are women, 39% of architecture interns are women, 17% of principals or partners are women, pretty sad decline. Now put a nice cherry on top, most architects in this country are white. So gender has a huge roll in my profession, with an extra bit of race to make it harder.

What is something about your industry you would like to draw more attention to? Or an upcoming project that excited you?
I’m helping CORE develop a workforce training program in Spanish, so we can share with our Latino construction workforce the knowledge of basic building science, codes and standards and best practices; this way we can achieve better, healthier, long lasting and environmentally friendly  buildings.


MARY WIENER 
Commercial Program Administrator at Holy Cross Energy

What role has gender played in your life? And what do women uniquely bring to the table?
I grew up in a household that stressed women didn’t need to settle for traditional careers and that my sister and I needed to be independent and work hard to achieve our goals. It also helped that Mother Jones and Ms. Magazine graced our coffee table showcasing women in strong, successful roles. I started a very non-traditional career for women in 1981 as a computer programmer and worked mainly with men. I transitioned to energy-efficiency work 10 years ago as I need a career that offers diversity, challenges, and innovation. Working at Holy Cross has given me the opportunity to develop a successful energy-efficiency program. Women bring a unique blend of creative problem solving, resourcefulness, attention to detail, and dignity to the work environment.

What is something about your industry you would like to draw more attention to? Or an upcoming project that excited you?
The energy-efficiency field is changing rapidly with the evolving electric grid from fossil fuels to renewables. The field will need women innovators that enjoy the challenges the new energy-efficiency era will bring.

ERICA STAHL GOLDEN
Principal at 2757 design + build co

What role has gender played in your life? And what do women uniquely bring to the table?
I have always struggled on whether to draw attention to or even acknowledge any differences between genders or to just put my head down and prove I can do anything I set my mind to. With more experience in life and during the process of design, I have seen that women, in particular, have an innate ability to find common ground in complex situations.

What is something about your industry you would like to draw more attention to? Or an upcoming project or plan that excited you?  
Offering design-build services for select projects has allowed me to gain confidence, knowledge and respect on job sites. Adding the construction scope ensures that our clients are more educated and engaged and our subcontractors are successfully executing our simple and affordable sustainable design measures. Due to CORE’s affordable home energy assessments, we are armed with the payback data to convince our clients that they are making the right sustainable investments. We look forward to highlighting some of these projects with CORE in the near future to share all we have learned!