Meet a Southfacer: Maria Quiñones

Maria-smAs a project engineer, Maria conducts energy and water assessments for commercial facilities. She provides technical assistance to the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge program for large commercial facilities that have publicly pledged to reduce energy and water use by 20% by 2020. Maria also works with the Grants to Green program for metro Atlanta nonprofits by identifying energy and water conservation projects and providing technical support for implementing resource-saving strategies.

How did you end up working at Southface? Mike Barcik, director of technical services, was a guest speaker for one of my green building graduate courses at Georgia Tech. That’s when I learned about Southface and was immediately hooked. At that point, I was in my first semester of the Ph.D. program with a focus on sustainability and was also working at a large construction firm. I realize now that I was looking for the right mix of sustainability practice and applied commercial building engineering work – and that is exactly what I found in Southface. The rest is history!

What drives your interest in sustainability and the built environment? Sustainability, and specifically as it relates to the built environment, is simply the right thing to do. It’s my moral responsibility to work towards a healthier, more socially responsible world. Personally, it’s humbling being part of such a powerful global cause!

What can people do to save energy and water right now? Whether at home or at work, saving energy and water can be easy and, many argue, healthier. To save energy, turn things off, replace incandescent lamps with LED, and use free sunlight whenever possible. To save water immediately, and for just a few dollars, install half gallon per minute aerators and 1.5 gallon per minute showerheads.

What do you like most about your job here? It’s definitely the people and their admirable dedication to making a more Maria Quinones field audit 2014sustainable future. The opportunities that knock on our doors as a result of being such an established institution in the Atlanta and national community are also invaluable.

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I really enjoy mentoring Latino youth, especially when it comes to promoting college and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. I also advocate for sustainability wherever/whenever possible. On most days, however, you can find me eating, generally in the Buford Highway area.


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


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