Meet a Southfacer: Ingrid Irby

How did you first hear about Southface and what attracted you to the organization?

After my sociology training in the 1990s, I had planned on a career in the nonprofit sector. Life took me on a slight detour for various reasons, but I’m finally here, and I don’t plan on leaving. In the spring of 2015, my heart was doing the searching for me on the Georgia Center for Nonprofits’ job board, and that’s where I saw a position at Southface. I was ecstatic and certainly still feel right at home. While housing and child welfare are also important to me, being able to apply my skills to an environmental organization means the world to me.

Why are equity, sustainability and resilience important to you?

Equity, sustainability and resilience are three of the most urgent needs of the Atlanta metro area and the Southeast, and I’m proud that our workplace mission is focused on improving each of those facets. I want my daughter to grow up in a region and a world that embraces these values rather than viewing progress with cynicism.

How is the work you’re doing contributing to a better world?

As an EarthCraft Administrator, I am helping ensure green building best practices like those below. Since buildings make up at least a third of our country’s energy consumption, these are crucial to a better Southeast and a better planet:
• Advanced energy-efficient design and construction to reduce utility bills
• Water-efficient features to conserve water
• Efficient lighting and appliance to save on energy use
• Resource-efficient construction techniques that divert waste from landfills
• Healthy indoor air quality for daily comfort

What’s one thing you’ve learned at Southface that you weren’t aware of before?

I came here knowing nothing about the built environment, nor even some of the latest details on the environment in general. I had seen Al Gore speak and bought his books, and I had watched a number of documentaries and voted environmentally. But I wasn’t aware of much about Southface, including the name and why it’s good to face south in a warm climate.

What project are you working on right now, and what excites you most about it?

If I may say first, I am most excited to be working very closely with two brilliant recent college grads on everything EarthCraft: Adam Ferrer and David Bailey. They are simply remarkable and I am impressed by both every day! Also, it is an honor to be part of housing projects which benefit the community and the environment. For example, I am thrilled about the affordable and sustainable single family homes we are certifying in Mechanicsville.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

I love being on water. I grew up enjoying Minnesota lakes, rivers, waterfalls and creeks, and I have happy memories of my first white-water rafting experience on the Colorado River when I was 12.

What do you enjoy most about working at Southface?

I absolutely love how we’re all in this together, working for a collective cause. I grew a little tired of some of the things that come with large, for-profit work environments. While I have a competitive nature in my personal life and background in sports, I do not care for it at work. I prefer building up my colleagues by reducing workplace competition and increasing workplace cooperation.

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