The Green Engineer: Chris Shaffner

Chris Shaffner, Founder and Principal with The Green Engineer, Inc., a sustainable design consulting firm providing LEED Project Management, Building Performance Analysis, and Sustainable Design Consulting.  Chris grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio but went to MIT in Boston where he earned his mechanical engineering degree.

If I was going to do it again, I would’ve gone to architecture school instead of engineering.  But the nice thing about being an engineer is you’ve got a lot of tools that you can apply to a lot of different problems and a lot of different ways. – Chris Shaffner

Energy and Sustainability Minded

Chris worked in the Boston area as a mechanical engineer then got married and moved to California.  He worked for a couple different firms in California and that is where he started to make the connection between the stuff he was doing and the environmental impact of buildings. Chris was energy minded and then became sustainability minded.  He moved back to Boston 10 years later and started working in a firm where they saw him as the green guy because he had been in California.

“At some point I made the connection that, well, that’s just not right.  I started speaking up and saying, look, you know, if you do it this way, not only will it work better, but it’ll be better energy.  And actually it was a really critical point because then I really felt like I was fully engaged in the work I was doing. And I would say that was an inflection point in my career that if I hadn’t figured that out,  I wouldn’t have moved into the green building world in the way that I did.” – Chris Shaffner


“One of the great things was getting involved with the US Green Building Council in the late nineties and early two thousands and I was part of the original group of lead faculty. And there’s some people there that I definitely see as mentors and three specifically who are unfortunately no longer with us.  And I always remember Greg Franta and Gail Lindsey and Muska Martin, all great people that really set a tone and an attitude about the way we do things in the green building world, that it was about people and it was about fun and it was about all of the things together that they’d make it not just about ducts and energy.  ” – Chris Shaffner

Proudest Achievement

Chris’s proudest achievement is the company they have built, The Green Engineer.  They have 20 people with the company and they are organized as a social benefit organization and they are a benefit organization legally in the state of Massachusetts. They are a B Corporation certified through B Lab and have been recognized as best in the world for the past few years.

Then along the way we’ve switched from a company that was started and owned by me too.  Now we have a fully distributed ownership, 14 of the 20 employees here are owners. And, you know, so that sort of whole challenge of creating an organization that works and the projects that we do I’m very proud of.” – Chris Shaffner

Book Recommendations

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Draw Down by Paul Hawken

Seth Godin’s Blog

Tune into this podcast to listen to the rest of Chris Shaffner’s amazing journey in this podcast hosted by Charlie.

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Announcement:  Starting on January 1, 2019, GBMS will begin rolling out it’s new membership community.  Members will be given access to some of the guests on the podcasts that you can ask project questions to, if you are preparing for an exam there will be more insurances that you will pass your next exam, you will be given cliff notes if you are a member and so much more.

If you truly enjoyed the show, don’t forget to leave a positive rating and review on iTunes.  We have prepared more episodes for the upcoming weeks, so come by again next week! Thank you for tuning in to the Green Building Matters Podcast!

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