Name: Lauren Brust Moss
Title: Director, New York City at NORESCO
Educational Background: MUP, Urban Planning at NYU; BA, Urban Studies at Columbia
Urban Green Member Since: 2007
What’s going on at your organization around urban sustainability that you’re most excited about?
NORESCO is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. The work being done as part of the COGFx research is amazing and I think it could change the way we think about buildings. We have all been trying to find the silver bullet that will lead people to adopt sustainable building practices, including financing, saving trees and reducing carbon, but looking at the actual impact of a building on the productivity of its inhabitants is the next frontier in operations.
What’s one element of urban sustainability or green building in NYC that matters to you?
One element is hard – I live here, work here and am raising my kids here. At work, we are trying to figure out how to develop adoptable, large-scale programs for our clients, as well as create impactful change in the city. At home, I am always trying to teach my kids how to live sustainably, how what we do impacts so many others and how “be kind” is a phrase that can and should be applied to everything that we do.
What’s something you like to do that’s not related to your work?
I love to go biking around New York with my kids, teaching them about the ever-evolving city. We play a lot of soccer on anything close to resembling a field. I also volunteer with the Sister District Project, a non-profit dedicated to supporting strategically important political races and working to ensure that everyone has equal representation.
When did you become a member of Urban Green and why? I became a member of Urban Green around 8 years ago. I have always been really interested in the work that Urban Green does for the entire community, especially the research and educational components.
Describe a memorable experience from your Urban Green membership.
I have always enjoyed the Local Law training sessions. Every time I have presented (as part of the Urban Green Speakers Bureau, on behalf of NORESCO) on LL84, LL87 or LL88, I get questions that stretch my understanding and appreciation for the owner and practitioner communities in New York City.
What’s something you still want to learn?
I would love to learn to be a professional baker, but that may not come for a long time, so in the meantime I practice on friends and family.
Otherwise, I always want to learn how to be a better manager, whether it’s through financial planning for the group, client development and management or staff development and management. I love the challenge of being successful, growing our business and team and constantly taking on new projects and clients.
Describe what you do for work and a little bit about your career path leading up to this position.
My current role is to manage the New York City office of NORESCO’s Sustainability Services group. We provide consulting services to owners with a focus on energy auditing, commissioning, TAB, LEED and WELL certification. We also offer general sustainability and technical consulting around buildings, campuses, planning and transportation.
I am an Urban Planner by training, having received both undergraduate and master’s degrees in planning. My first job was at the Alliance for Downtown New York managing the Plug’n’Go Program, a real estate program providing built out, wired space to IT companies in Class B and C buildings in Lower Manhattan. It was a pre-cursor to the communal office spaces of today.
I left there to go and work at CUNY, where I managed an institute that worked across all campuses to create large-scale internship programs for computer science students, matched faculty research with private companies and supported faculty research through federal grant applications. I stayed there until I went back to school to NYU, and got my Masters in Urban Planning. At that point, my capstone project was to evaluate a set of buildings on campus for LEED EB certification.
The person who trained my group in LEED was the director of sustainability at Steven Winter Associates (SWA) and when I finished my degree, I sent him my resume. They hired me to help with LEED EB certification and then from there I went on to become the Director of Commercial Building Energy Services. I am currently on the Board of NESEA, helped to Co-Chair the 2016 Building Energy Conference, and have been a part of the Program Working Group at Greenbuild for the past 3 years. Along the way, I have always stayed involved in my kids’ schools as PA Treasurer and class mom, as well as run various half-marathons as an excuse to take vacations with friends.
Describe one or two projects you’ve worked on (at your current place of work or elsewhere) that were meaningful or interesting to you. Maybe a project that changed your perspective on something or made you think differently about your work.
Some of the projects that have been most meaningful to me: at CUNY it was always about the internship programs. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone start their career.
I really enjoyed participating in a federal project at SWA, where we worked with two other organizations to look at deep-energy retrofit options. I learned about an entirely new world within the building sector, including ways to calculate the opportunities of sustainability in completely different terms.
And in my time here at NORESCO, we’ve worked with a variety of public agencies on many different projects, that will change the face of this city. We will be able to take our kids to these new stations or buildings and show them the work that we did to make NYC better.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I have been lucky to be mentored by so many amazing people along the way. I still count my bosses from the Downtown Alliance and CUNY amongst my closest friends. They have always encouraged me to take risks, keep learning, challenge myself and trust my decisions. But the advice that my kids have been given, as students at the United Nations International School, is to be an active force in shaping a better world: peaceful, compassionate and sustainable. This is how we try to live and what I try to focus on each day.