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Meet Our Bloggers

Bruce Sullivan

Bruce has engaged with energy efficiency from several viewpoints. He has worked for an electric utility, a university, and a non-profit. He consulted on some of the first zero energy homes in Oregon and designed Earth Advantage’s Zero Energy Certification. These were all great organizations, but he most enjoys small business. He owned Iris Communications, Inc. and produced videos, publications and websites — all targeted for contractors, utility reps, and other building practitioners. His current company, BASE zero, LLC, makes use of his background in building efficiency to deliver writing, consulting, and training services. He is currently consults for Earth Advantage, conducts training for EEBA, and is the technical consultant and blogger at Zero Energy Project. He has been helping people improve home energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact for more than three decades. Beginning in the early 1980s, he served on utility programs where he helped to write technical manuals and newsletters focused on energy efficiency, as well as deliver training to builders, code officials, and others around the Northwest. Through the years, his own homes have allowed him to apply the current state of the art. A good illustration of the trend is the air tightness achieved in each home as the methods improved. In 1992, his Super Good Cents certified home in Eugene, Oregon tested at 3.5 ACH50. (Hey, that was good back then!) Twelve years later, his first home in Bend, Oregon achieved an Earth Advantage Platinum certification with an air leakage rate of 1.8 ACH50. He and his wife, Robin, recently completed a positive energy home in central Bend. With 10-inch walls, heat pump water heater, mini-split heat pump, air leakage of 1.0 ACH50 and a 4.3 KW photovoltaic system, the home produces more energy than it uses and fully powers their electric vehicle. By his calculations, the monthly return from all the energy enhancements is $8 MORE than the monthly payments. This home proves that investment in energy efficiency we immediate financial returns that exceed the financing cost. Over the arc of his career as a building efficiency consultant, he has seen some drastic changes and some issues that have remained stubbornly stuck in the past. There is still much to do to make sustainable building the norm for new construction. Let’s go!

Joe Emerson

Joe was a Peace Corps Volunteer in India and served as a Peace Corps trainer and program director from 1966 to 1972. He then taught middle school social studies for 4 years, including teaching a course on energy and the environment. He started his own business selling energy efficient wood stoves during the first energy crisis, heated his home with a wood stove, installed hot water solar collectors and insulated his home in 1979. He then received his masters degree in nutrition and practiced as a clinical nutritionist for over a decade. Also in 1979, he and his brother started a small business, Emerson Ecologics, Inc, which supplies dietary supplements to doctors nationwide. After retirement, Joe and his wife, Ann, built a zero energy home for themselves in Bend, Oregon. Then to show that zero energy was cost effective, they contracted to build several zero energy homes on spec and sold them for a quick profit. Then they then worked with local builders and encouraged them to build more than a dozen zero energy homes in the Bend area. They also successfully renovated two existing homes to zero energy homes. Their current home is a positive energy home that powers their two electric vehicles that take them on their many trips to Portland and Ashland Oregon without needing charging on the way. In 2012, Joe and Ann started the Zero Energy Project to share what they have learned and to encourage others to reap the many benefits of building zero energy and positive energy homes.

Robin Sullivan

Before Zero Energy Project, Robin Sims-Sullivan was involved with environmental causes in Oregon and Alaska for 30 years. While teaching, she was an active board member, curriculum writer, and trainer with Alaska Natural Resources and Outdoor Education Association and others conservation associations. Robin’s involvement and studies in Education, Resource Management, and Technology led her to a full career as a successful teacher and grant writer in support of student, school, and community resource issues. Today, Robin through her volunteer engagements, works to promote conservation and environmental causes, helping to bring awareness through education.