Launch Slideshow

Image

Rashkin’s Work

Rashkin’s Work

  • Sam Rashkin is the recipient of The 2012 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD99D%2Etmp_tcm131-1235981.jpg

    true

    Sam Rashkin is the recipient of The 2012 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.

    600

    Eli Meir Kaplan

    Sam Rashkin is the recipient of The 2012 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.

  • With a small staff and shallow budget, Rashkin presided over the growth and technical development of Energy Star for Homes that to date has reached more than 1.3 million qualified homes.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD99F%2Etmp_tcm131-1235987.jpg

    true

    With a small staff and shallow budget, Rashkin presided over the growth and technical development of Energy Star for Homes that to date has reached more than 1.3 million qualified homes.

    600

    Eli Meir Kaplan

    With a small staff and shallow budget, Rashkin presided over the growth and technical development of Energy Star for Homes that to date has reached more than 1.3 million qualified homes.

  • While working for the California Energy Commission in the 1980s, Rashkin continued designing passive solar energy-efficient homes.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A0%2Etmp_tcm131-1235993.jpg

    true

    While working for the California Energy Commission in the 1980s, Rashkin continued designing passive solar energy-efficient homes.

    600

    Courtesy Sam Rashkin

    While working for the California Energy Commission in the 1980s, Rashkin continued designing passive solar energy-efficient homes.

  • Rashkin completed a degree in architecture in 1974 from Syracuse University, where he "got the bug" for energy efficiency.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A1%2Etmp_tcm131-1235999.jpg

    true

    Rashkin completed a degree in architecture in 1974 from Syracuse University, where he "got the bug" for energy efficiency.

    600

    Courtesy Sam Rashkin

    Rashkin completed a degree in architecture in 1974 from Syracuse University, where he "got the bug" for energy efficiency.

  • From his first day of work at Energy Star in 1994 (pictured with his father-in-law, Marvin Burstein) to his last day in 2011, Rashkin was a tireless advocate and educator.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A2%2Etmp_tcm131-1236003.jpg?width=388

    true

    From his first day of work at Energy Star in 1994 (pictured with his father-in-law, Marvin Burstein) to his last day in 2011, Rashkin was a tireless advocate and educator.

    388

    Courtesy Sam Rashkin

    From his first day of work at Energy Star in 1994 (pictured with his father-in-law, Marvin Burstein) to his last day in 2011, Rashkin was a tireless advocate and educator.

  • Rashkin has written hundreds of technical papers and articles and last year published "Retooling the U. S. Housing Industry."

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A3%2Etmp_tcm131-1236005.jpg?width=324

    true

    Rashkin has written hundreds of technical papers and articles and last year published "Retooling the U. S. Housing Industry."

    324

    Rashkin has written hundreds of technical papers and articles and last year published "Retooling the U. S. Housing Industry."

  • Rashkin has crisscrossed the nation pitching the advantages of Energy Star-qualified homes.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A4%2Etmp_tcm131-1236008.jpg

    true

    Rashkin has crisscrossed the nation pitching the advantages of Energy Star-qualified homes.

    600

    Jeff Kowalsky

    Rashkin has crisscrossed the nation pitching the advantages of Energy Star-qualified homes.

  • Energy Star projects like the one pictured proliferated during Rashkin's tenure.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpD9A5%2Etmp_tcm131-1236014.jpg

    true

    Energy Star projects like the one pictured proliferated during Rashkin's tenure.

    600

    Eli Meir Kaplan

    Energy Star projects like the one pictured proliferated during Rashkin's tenure.

 

As the founding director of the EPA’s Energy Star for Homes program, the industry’s oldest and largest national residential rating system, Sam Rashkin—an unassuming fellow with a brilliant mind and passionate energy—almost single-handedly changed the way America builds houses.

Logging more than 100,000 air miles annually as the program grew, he crisscrossed the country for 17 years enthusiastically pitching the advantages of Energy Star-qualified homes to builders, product manufacturers, consumers, and anyone else who would listen. Meanwhile, inside the EPA, he steadily built a low-budget, high-impact program that few well-funded for-profit corporations could match.

Rashkin’s unwavering mission has paid off handsomely for builders and their buyers, as well as the environment. Energy Star for Homes, which Rashkin led until a year ago, has qualified more than 1.3 million dwellings since its inception in 1995. The EPA, which administers the program, says those homes have saved nearly $350 million on utility bills while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those produced by more than 450,000 vehicles. These significant numbers were accomplished with very few resources. The driven Rashkin, his tiny six-person staff, and a meager $1.5 million annual budget returned energy savings and increased revenues to local governments that he estimates add up to $4 billion over 17 years.

His laudable accomplishments and tireless focus and dedication have led Rashkin to be named the winner of The 2012 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing—the industry’s premier award for extraordinary, lasting, and far-reaching contributions to the advancement of sustainable housing in the United States.

“Sam Rashkin has changed the face of our industry,” says Michael J. Hanley, founder of The Hanley Foundation and creator of the award. “Given the magnitude of his impact on housing, he has earned his place as one of our industry’s pioneers, and we are proud to name him as this year’s Hanley Award recipient.”

The Hanley Award is sponsored by The Hanley Foundation, EcoHome and Builder magazines, and their parent company Hanley Wood, LLC. Rashkin, the program’s third recipient, will receive the award and its $50,000 prize at a dinner during the American Institute of Architects national convention in Washington, D.C., in May.

Before Rashkin, a licensed architect, moved to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program last June, the EPA began phasing in more rigorous Energy Star for Homes Version 3 guidelines. Once fully implemented this year, these new guidelines will result in houses at least 15% more efficient than those built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), along with additional energy savings and improved performance from a comprehensive approach to building science.

Alex Wilson, founder of Environmental Building News, called Rashkin the ideal recipient of The Hanley Award. “I think Sam has done more to transform mainstream home building, making homes more energy efficient and more environmentally responsible than anyone else,” says Wilson, the 2010 recipient of The Hanley Award and a judge in this year’s program. “He was the champion from the start, and he’s made tremendous progress.”

Rashkin’s supporters say that his unequivocal success not only can be pegged to his tireless marketing campaign but to his innate understanding of how to get things done in a behemoth federal bureaucracy and in the profit-driven home building industry. They add that few people have been so effective in both the public and private sectors.

“I don’t think it is any exaggeration that the million homes built and the billions of dollars and carbon emissions avoided would not have been achieved without Sam’s leadership and passion for improving the functioning of buildings,” says C.R. Herro, vice president of environmental affairs for Meritage Homes, one of the nation’s largest companies building to Energy Star standards.

His supporters also point to his deep-felt commitment to making homes more energy wise and comfortable to live in. “It’s not a 9-to-5 job for Sam,” says David Lee, Rashkin’s boss both at the EPA and now at the DOE. “He just really loves it. He has passion for it.”

In his usual modest fashion, Rashkin, who says he’s an introvert who recharges by being alone, is quick to say he had a lot of help.

“We did it with a cadre of supporters and groups. It’s an amazing story. It took so little money to see that kind of impact.”