Building blocks

GreenPro founder David Mattocks says to save energy, see the light

David Mattocks, founder of GreenPro, says buildings and lighting are keys to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

David Mattocks, founder of GreenPro, says buildings and lighting are keys to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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Before the word “sustainability” was in the dictionary or the phrase “triple bottom line” was coined, Dr. David Mattocks was pioneering projects that looked at benefiting the economy, environment and community at the same time.

“The idea of the triple bottom line was you can’t develop a healthy community unless you really grow your economic capital, environmental assets and natural resource assets,” he says.

To that end, the former program director with the Ford and Rockefeller foundations is now focused on buildings, which use more than 40 percent of the energy produced in the United States. As founder and president of GreenPro, Mattocks helps companies save between 30 to 60 percent on their energy bills, mainly through changing to LED (light emitting diode) lighting.

“A lot of people think it’s trains, planes and automobiles that produce our biggest CO2 emissions, but in reality, it’s where we go to work, live, get healed—it’s our buildings,” he says. “It’s our schools, our hospitals, our businesses. Every time we flip on a light switch, turn on the water, we’re using fuel to fuel that, and the great majority of that power is produced by coal.”

Truckee-based GreenPro has improved the energy efficiency of large buildings across the country, from warehouses and IMAX cinemas to schools and banks. For instance, they recently replaced 20 metal halo light bulbs at Alder Creek Middle School in Truckee with LED technology, saving the school $90,000. GreenPro is also helping Plumas Bank in Truckee with its goal to become the first 100 percent LED building on the West Coast.

LED technology has yet to prove itself in some circles, and GreenPro was also wary of it, especially considering so much of what they tried turned out to have junky components. “It’s one thing to have a Ferrari,” says Mattocks. “But if you put on really bad tires, it won’t perform as well. So the same thing with these light engines.” GreenPro decided to create its own LED system. They developed commercial-grade LED, which Mattocks says has a high lumen output, the ability to withstand surges and lightning strikes, and are made with quality components.

People often ask Mattocks why GreenPro doesn’t focus on solar or wind technologies. “The reality is if you’re going to invest in green technology, lighting is where you want to invest in it.” He says lighting provides the highest return on investment. He claims the kilowatt offset for $10,000 worth of solar and $20 worth of CFL light bulbs are exactly the same. Though when working with a client to make their building energy efficient, they look at operations and maintenance, lighting, heating and cooling, and may top it off with a renewable energy system. The focus is on low-cost or no-cost fixes. He mentions companies that still use incandescent lighting as an example.

“The casinos running these 40 watt, 10 watt decorative bulbs, a lot of them don’t realize they can reduce that load by a significant amount. We have a bulb that’s 0.8 watts—a bulb that’s less than a watt. If you replaced 10,000 of your 40 watt bulbs with this, you’d save over a million dollars a year.”

The 0.8-watt LED bulb costs more than the 40-watt incandescent (about $4.50 each compared to $1.25 each). However, Mattocks’ savings calculation is based not only on the cost of the bulb, but also the fact that the LED bulb will last about 30,000 hours and require fewer replacements than the incandescent, which last 500-750 hours.