Meet a Southfacer: Jenna Grygier

BPI_exam_Jenna_Grygier-proctor_01Jenna is a Residential Green Building Services project manager at Southface. As a RESNET Quality Assurance Designee (QAD), Jenna manages the Southface Energy Rated Homes (SERH) providership and serves as a mentor and technical advisor for new and existing independent HERS and Southface staff. She is involved with overseeing the ENERGY STAR, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense programs and ensuring that all third-party quality assurance responsibilities are performed and reported. Jenna also provides training support for a variety of Southface trainings such as HERS and ENERGY STAR, and offers technical support to the residential and commercial teams in general.

How did you end up working at Southface? Throughout my time in the environmental engineering program at the University of Georgia, I developed a passion for sustainability. I took many electives and focused my attention on sustainable building design, since I was drawn to how complex the green building design process was. As I’m sure many soon-to-be graduates can relate, I then found myself madly applying to jobs, unsatisfied with what seemed a blind search. Then one day, a complete stranger casually recommended that I look into Southface, and I couldn’t believe how perfectly my interests aligned with the organization’s vision. I was very excited to accept an internship at Southface shortly following graduation and start my journey as an EarthCraft intern, which then led to many other great opportunities within the organization.

What drives your interest in sustainability and the built environment? We are in an exciting transition right now, where designing to live with your environment rather than against it, is not only a growing concept, but also a means of simultaneously preserving the past, sustaining the present, and opening up opportunities for the future. According to the Energy Information Administration, nearly 40% of U.S. energy consumption was in residential and commercial buildings in 2012; this alone motivates me to wake up every day, work hard, and be part of the change through my professional career. I see this as an opportunity for us to all start working together, in order to discover the necessary balance between ecological, financial, social, and human health issues. Also, when you work in this field you have the option to get your hands dirty, dive into research, educate others, brainstorm on design teams, and more; this dynamic is what will keep me interested in sustainable design for the long-term.

What do you like most about your job here? As a multifaceted organization, Southface is always evolving and taking on new challenges and opportunities. This requires everyone’s strengths to be creatively blended in order to achieve the desired outcome; I find this very rewarding. I never fail to be inspired by my coworkers, from whom I continually learn, and it is a privilege to be part of such a collaborative work environment. I also love how technical questions are answered through research and data analysis, and how the knowledge gained is then used to build on the many Southface success stories. It’s fulfilling knowing that I am helping to contribute to these moments of growth, large or small.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I find any and every excuse to be active outdoors. This is accomplished in many forms, mostly consisting of tackling, rucking, mauling, and scrumming, also known as rugby practice. I play for a Women’s Premier League rugby team here in Atlanta (go Harlequins!). I started playing in college and am in love with the challenge and intensity of the game. When I am not on the pitch, I love riding my bicycle, singing, napping in my hammock, hiking, paddling, fishing, and knocking new adventures off of the list. My go-to activity is riding my bike around Atlanta and touring all of the unique neighborhoods the city has to offer.

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Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance.


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