Today’s conversation is a deep and wonderful exploration of both the entrepreneurial journey and the built environment  — specifically, how we control it and how it controls us. My guest, Tanya Barham, is the CEO and founder of Community Energy Labs, which aims to make smart energy management and decarbonization accessible and affordable for public building (think schools, municipalities, etc).

Tanya is an innovator, serial entrepreneur and self-described utility nerd, skilled in the execution of all aspects of technical service, product development, operations and commercialization from ideation through funding and growth while integrating systems and people. She has 20 years of experience developing programs and software to improve the built environment.

In the early 2000s, when solar photovoltaic (PV) was still considered a largely fringe technology, she started a first-of-its-kind solar program called Solar 4R Schools for a Portland, Oregon-based foundation. More recently, she’s focused on helping building managers use predictive controls to manage their carbon footprint in places like schools.

In today’s podcast, she shares fascinating stories about business building, her hard-knock upbringing and even the common ground between choirs and companies. Anyone building a business, climate tech or otherwise, will enjoy the lessons we unpack here today. And yes, we also talk about things like solar, proptech — property technology — and even touch on the artificial intelligence convergences driving climate tech investment. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges the built environment touches all aspects of our lives. It encompasses the buildings we live in, the distribution systems that provide us with water and electricity, and the roads, bridges, and transportation systems we use to get from place to place. These human-made or modified structures provide people with living, working, and recreational spaces — and creating all these spaces and systems requires enormous quantities of materials.

Did you know 40% of greenhouse gas comes from the built environment, and 70% is from the electric grid? Even so, most (87%) commercial buildings need more controls to manage the complex solutions and software now available. Today, we’re going to unpack that and more. Join us for usable insights and ideas.