Greg Hopkins, a 2017 graduate of the Master in Design Studies program with a concentration in Energy and Environments, has been named one of ten inaugural 1 Hotels Fellows at E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), an affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The fellowship aims to provide early and mid-career entrepreneurs support to develop projects designed to advance smart environmental and clean energy issues across the United States. Along with a $25,000 award, winners receive membership to E2’s Emerging Leaders program, as well as access to benefits of an E2 membership.

Hopkins’ proposal for an online cleantech marketplace for small commercial buildings grew out of work he completed for his GSD thesis, “Energizing Retrofits in an Inefficient Market: A Scalable Model for Small Commercial Buildings.” As part of his thesis, Hopkins investigated market barriers that have historically made it difficult for small commercial buildings to adopt energy efficient upgrades. He also made suggestions for how to combat these limitations based on what has worked for other industries and new trends. Holly Samuelson MDes ’09, DDes ’13, assistant professor of architecture and area head for the Energy and Environments MDes concentration, served as his Faculty Advisor.

“I came to the GSD to study energy and environmental issues in buildings, and will always be grateful for the opportunity to develop a business idea for my master’s thesis that could help make the built environment smarter, more efficient, and lower carbon,” said Hopkins. “Now with support from the 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2 and the NRDC, I’m really excited to start bringing that idea to life.”

Hokins plans to pilot his online cleantech marketplace–a streamlined way to connect qualified service contractors and crowd-sourced investment capital with eligible energy efficiency and distributed solar projects–in Boulder, CO.

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Photo courtesy of E2.