5 Questions with Tabetha McCartney, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 03, 2015

Tabetha McCartney, director of development, finance and sustainability for Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly chose five questions to answer during the Summit. Here are her thoughts on energy efficiency:

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainable development is concerned with meeting the needs of people today without compromising their needs, it’s about striking the balance between conservation of resources, physical comfort and personal choice.

How does energy efficiency fit in with your mission and brand?

Historically there’s been little attention in HUD financed properties. Now that HUD resources are more constrained, we’re finding that if we can save operating money by saving energy, we can use that money to better support our tenants throughout their lives. Having that extra money to support them makes a big difference. We coordinate home health care and health aids, these are the ways we can support our tenants when we have more resources.

What has surprised you most in your work?

I was shocked by how quickly we got to a 10% reduction. For us, it was just a matter of changing out lightbulbs. We are fortunate that Massachusetts has a program where we got LED lightbulbs for our tenants and common areas for free through a utility incentive. They gave our tenants four LED light bulbs, and replaced the ones in our common areas, and reduced maintenance costs tremendously.

What superhero would you want on your energy efficiency team?

The Flash just so he could go around and shut everyone’s windows.

If you could invent one energy-saving solution, what would it be?

I think we should develop a paint that gives you a huge insulation value. When you see astronauts doing a spacewalk, they’re in relatively pliable suits, so why can’t we have something that we could paint onto a building that would insulate it instantly, with an R-value of 40?