August 29, 2019

Interview with Rachel Greenspan & Jennifer Taranto, Structure Tone

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Today, Green Badger is featuring green building superheroes Rachel Greenspan and Jennifer Taranto from Structure Tone who we have had the pleasure of working with over the past few years!

Rachel Greenspan is the sustainability coordinator within the rotational project engineering program at Structure Tone. She works to make sure that every project that is seeking LEED certification can meet their goals as well as any other sustainability goals a client might have set. She works specifically with the submittal process to ensure that the products used on each project are LEED approved and/or have sustainability attributes.

Jennifer Taranto is the Director of Sustainability for Structure Tone. She ensures that best practices are followed throughout the STO Building Group to incorporate sustainability, health and wellness into the built environment for their client’s projects as well as the constant improvement of their own internal processes.

What was your first green building or LEED project? 

Rachel Greenspan: My first LEED project was Warner Media. This project is still one of largest LEED projects I have seen to date — the space is over 1 Million sq ft!

Jennifer Taranto: My first LEED project was the Allsteel showroom in Boston in 2005 which was certified LEED Gold.

What’s been the coolest green feature or project you’ve been involved with? 

Rachel Greenspan: Material transparency is some of the most exciting work I’m doing. I am working on one of Google’s new office spaces in New York City and I have found it very interesting working with the manufacturers to make sure that products the design team wants to use can be changed to meet LEED requirements and to meet our client’s sustainability, health and wellness goals.

Jennifer Taranto: Hands down I love geothermal. I get super excited for energy efficiency measures and especially ways to reduce fossil fuel usage — I will take more of those building projects please! Oh yeah, and rainwater capture is another personal favorite.          

What’s one way (or your favorite feature) that Green Badger has simplified LEED for your team at Structure Tone? 

Rachel Greenspan: It allows everyone on the team to have access to the materials that have been approved in real time rather than having to send out the tracking logs. This ensures that there is transparency among all team members.

Jennifer Taranto: For me, Green Badger provides a snapshot of all our LEED projects across the organization. This allows me, and our teams, to respond to clients requests more quickly and make sure that projects are progressing as they should — it helps us better meet the needs and expectations of our clients through making LEED documentation easier and allowing our teams to get back to work building!

Can you give us a local beer recommendation from your neck of the woods?

Jennifer Taranto: Trillium Brewing in Boston is one of my favorites – they have a pop-up beer garden on the Rose Kennedy Greenway just a few blocks from our office. #SummerFridays

Rachel Greenspan: Montauk Brewing Company Summer Ale

What is the best sustainability-related book that you’ve read?

Rachel Greenspan: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. It was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.

Jennifer Taranto: Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, L. Hunter Lovins, and Amory B. Lovins. It provides a healthy dose of optimism which we all need in the fight against climate change.

What is one thing you wish USGBC did differently? 

Rachel Greenspan: Look to what is available in the current building materials marketplace and the changing economic environments when creating the credits. It is important that they notice the credits people are going for so that they can adapt the ones projects tend to “skip”. For example, finding 100% of adhesive and sealants that have a general emissions evaluation is difficult.

Jennifer Taranto: I wish that there was a way that LEED could be more flexible and consistent – in terms of documentation requirements and in meeting the market’s needs – without losing its accountability standards.

Stayed tuned for the next in our series of interviews with green buildings professionals, and while you’re waiting be sure to check out last months interview with Dave Hubka and Jing Hong from Rivion.

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