Our company was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as the 2013 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. Even more significant, we were the only new winner in the Service & Product Provider Category. Our Burton team is honored to receive this award. While there was extensive work carried out by my colleagues to achieve POY, the true champions are our clients, who had the belief in Burton and ENERGY STAR to implement our recommendations.

The foundation for the award began almost a year ago when we met with the EPA at their D.C. office. Michael Zatz and Andrea Schnitzer helped educate us on the criteria that applicants would be judged on. We used their guidance as a template over the course of the past year, implementing client projects across a number of sectors – retail, distribution, real estate, hospitality and restaurants. The EPA Portfolio Manager tool and their benchmarking process were an integral part of our delivery on these client engagements. Burton benchmarked over 1,700 buildings that received an energy performance score, and over 400 earned ENERGY STAR certification. As the year progressed and the successes mounted with clients achieving significant energy savings and environmental benefits, we decided to add a new service offering leveraging our ENERGY STAR awareness and experience. Promising conversations are underway with multiple large portfolio prospects regarding this offering.

As I look back on the previous year, the POY award is what I am most proud of. And the reason is simple – because we had such a profound effect on improving the environment, educating our clients with employee awareness programs, reducing energy consumption and impacting the bottom line of our customers, and being proactive in our community with projects that improved our schools and taught students from Boston to Atlanta the consequences of being environmentally conscious.

When the POY was publicly announced on March 5th, we celebrated at our office with a beautiful cake that could have fed twice our employee count (so of course we had to go back for seconds… and thirds). We toasted with a bottle of champagne, but made sure no one went back to the bottle for seconds and thirds! After work we congregated at a local pub to revel in our hard work and accomplishments. And, as the energy gods would have it, there was a power outage about two seconds before we entered the bar. Now we love what we do and are passionate about energy consulting, but this was taking energy conservation just a bit too far. Still we carried on – by candlelight – for a couple of hours, cognizant of the irony that we were celebrating while the dials on the electric meter were motionless.

We will put a bow on our year to remember on March 26th at the annual EPA ENERGY STAR Awards Dinner. I will be joined by my colleagues Mark Breuker, George Plattenburg and Doug Latulippe, who were all instrumental in helping us win POY. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends at EPA who helped with their counsel along the way, and meeting other award winners to hear their ideas and successes.  And we’re really looking forward to 2014, and doing everything we can this year to improve our ENERGY STAR program so we celebrate again this time next year… by candlelight of course!