WINNER: Jean Pullen for
the Boys & Girls Club (multiple locations)

Categories: All Together Now

Who led the charge

Jean Pullen
Principal Engineer for Resource Efficiency
Southface Energy Institute

Jean Pullen's background in mechanical engineering and 30 years of experience analyzing and implementing energy and water efficiency projects made her an asset to the Boys & Girls Club project.


Cutting energy expenses by over 20% meant this NONPROFIT could spend more on its mission: helping children across the country.

Southface, where Jean Pullen works as part of the Commercial Sustainability Team, has long had a commitment to the nonprofit sector. They partnered with a local foundation to provide financing to organizations seeking to improve their environmental performance via their Grants to Green program in 2008. The Boys & Girls Club project was their first attempt at taking retrofits portfolio-wide to the clubs in the southeast region.

The project used surveys to identify 14 clubs in which to award $800,000 worth of funding for retrofits. These surveys were key as one of the primary challenges facing the clubs was “a lack of understanding of how facilities perform relative to their peers.” From here Pullen and her team implemented energy, water, and resource efficiency projects that resulted in roughly $175,000 saved in annual utility costs in 2015.

The money saved can now be put toward the Boys & Girls Clubs' core mission—allowing more kids to experience the clubs, at no cost to them. The project is so successful that additional funding is being provided to take this model nationwide, and even to another nonprofit.


  • Started small—a pilot with two nearby clubs helped establish the parameters for the portfolio-wide project
  • Benchmark, benchmark, benchmark—two surveys and Portfolio Manager data were required to decide which clubs would get $800,000 of grant money dedicated to the retrofits
  • Involve everyone—stakeholders from local facility managers to the kids they serve were involved in the Boys & Girls Club retrofit, which ensured enthusiasm and continued success over time