Anita Ledbetter: The woman who's Building San Antonio Green

Muggin' at a recent Council meeting... and talkin' serious sustainability.

Greg Harman

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It'd been one of those days designed special for the sustainability curious and transformational technology buffs alike. We'd all gathered in the Pearl stables (not as lowly as it sounds) to honor San Antonio's living legend, Mr. Bill Sinkin. Keynoting was SunEdison founder and solar megaman Jigar Shah.

Sinkin, celebrating his 96th, was a no-show thanks to complications from a dental procedure. And Shah was, well, perhaps less than effective as he sought to navigate near, but a safe distance from, the subject of San Antonio's particular solar needs and challenges.

Barring the name of Sinkin â?? and perhaps that of Shah â?? the name I heard most uttered from the dais was that of Anita Ledbetter.

I've had the pleasure of speaking with Ledbetter on numerous occasions, but our sit-down that afternoon outside Ciao Lavanderia in Olmos Park was our first professional squat in too many months.

Here was the ED fresh from receiving state and national recognitions for her program, Build San Antonio Green.

She had finally captured the city's attention.

Seems, all it takes is being named the best green building program in the nation by the National Association of Home Builders. That and successfully juggling the varied hopes and expectations of partners in the Greater San Antonio Builders Association, City of San Antonio, Bexar County, CPS Energy, San Antonio Water System, Via Metropolitan Transit, AACOG, the Greater Bexar County Council of Cities, and Solar San Antonio.

No problem, right?

“This award is a clear indicator that Build San Antonio Green has become a leader in this field," said Mayor Phil Hardberger in a prepared release. “Build San Antonio Green was a consultant to the city as we developed a green building code, and I believe it will continue to be a strong partner as we advance the goals of Mission Verde, the city's sustainability plan for the future.”

Oh, and the Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that came in weeks earlier was nice, too.

Listen to our interview here:

To date, BSAG has certified 252 homes, saving 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy and preventing 1.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year.

Anita was first recruited by Sinkin to be a part of Solar San Antonio, but her background in building technologies make her a natural fit for the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy, from which BSAG sprang (sprung?).

“Bill told me one time, â??It's not about what's happening right now. It's about what's next,'” she tells me. “I look at all these programs, and they're all obsolete.

“People want to move into a green home that's fully integrated with smart grid technologies, where I can sit at work and on my computer or my Blackberry monitor my energy use, put my dishes to wash, to start washing my clothes â?¦ That's where the future is. It's in the fully automated, smart home.”

Until the Jetson's beam into SA, you'll have to make do with net-zero-energy homes and solar-ready roofs that BSAG is ready to certify now.


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