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Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA)

 50 Miles Street
 Greenfield, MA 01301
[P] (413) 774-6051 x 14
[F] (413) 774-6053
[email protected]
Miriam Aylward
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 23-7437161

LAST UPDATED: 06/07/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names Northeast Solar Energy Association (1989)
New England Solar Energy Association (1985)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

NESEA advances the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by cultivating a community where practitioners share, collaborate and learn.

Mission Statement

NESEA advances the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by cultivating a community where practitioners share, collaborate and learn.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $1,431,770.00
Projected Expense $1,431,770.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • BuildingEnergy Conference & Trade Show
  • BuildingEnergy Pro Tours
  • Zero Net Energy Homes Database

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

NESEA advances the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by cultivating a community where practitioners share, collaborate and learn.

Background Statement

In 1974, the US was in the midst of an energy crisis. Oil was in short supply, and fuel prices skyrocketed. A group of builders, architects, engineers, and homeowners banded together to design and construct solar buildings that needed little or no oil, or other fossil fuels for that matter. They called themselves the New England Solar Energy Association (NESEA).

These NESEA pioneers met monthly over lunch at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and held workshops for builders and home owners on such topics as solar water heaters. Even in the early years, NESEA organized major regional conferences and published a newsletter that served as a networking medium for people interested in technological developments, market trends, and government policies related to energy consumption.

Our early members also recognized that the community they had developed was valuable in itself.

In 1985, NESEA joined with similar groups that had started in metro New York and elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic. The new organization became the Northeast Solar Energy Association (still NESEA), and embraced the entire region from Maine to Delaware.

NESEA’s agenda expanded beyond solar to include transportation and energy-efficient building construction. In 1989, the first annual American Tour de Sol, a solar car demonstration and championship, traveled from Montpelier, VT, to Boston, MA. To reflect the broadened agenda, NESEA changed names again, to the current Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Still NESEA.

In 1994, we moved to our present headquarters in Greenfield, MA, a small city that lies between the Connecticut River and the Berkshires. We committed to creating a community park and educational green space on the adjacent land, and the resulting Greenfield Energy Park opened in 1999.

In 2004 and 2005, the board of directors decided to narrow the organizational focus to supporting practitioners in the field of energy sustainability or teaching about sustainability. This meant eliminating programs designed to educate consumers.

In 2011, we narrowed our mission further, eliminating our K-12 education programs. This freed up resources to do more of what we do best, which is to support our member-practitioners. Today, our mission is to promote the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment by supplying the infrastructure for the collaboration that we as members want and need.

Impact Statement



  • · Over 170 member-volunteers engaged in over 1,000 hours of planning and staffing NESEA conferences.
  • · Drafting and adoption of a family leave policy.
  • · 495 practitioners learned firsthand about the successes and challenges of various high-performance building projects by attending 14 BuildingEnergy Pro Tours.



The Board acknowledged the Staff’s excellent work over the past two years to strengthen existing programs. The Board adopted the following strategic goals to build on that progress and to offer Staff guidance for growth without compromising organizational stability.

1. Review all existing and developing programs through the lens of a clear and transparent content curation process, giving priority to developing an online platform as a place to share and discuss generated content.

2. Continue to deepen NESEA’s programmatic focus to include Commercial and Institutional.

3. With an initial focus on Emerging Professionals, broaden the demographic diversity of NESEA membership to better reflect the constituency NESEA serves.

4. Provide an outstanding volunteer program by developing onboarding, engagement and recognition processes to attract new members, and keep current members working toward NESEA’s mission.

5. Identify ways to offer NESEA programming in underserved portions of the Northeast.

Needs Statement

  1. Online platform for member collaboration: NESEA members are dispersed throughout 10 states, with only a handful of opportunities to meet face-to-face each year. NESEA needs staff and infrastructure to develop online communities of practice for networking and sharing of best practices. Cost: $100K in seed money to launch effectively
  2. Leadership development:  As a member-driven organization, we need to build leadership capacity within our membership such that they can curate content and help run new/expanding programs. Cost:  $60K per year for a staff person plus $25K for web development
  3. Retain staff: NESEA has a highly qualified but undercompensated staff. We need to bring staff salaries and benefits to market rate to ensure retention. Cost: an additional $50K per year
  4. Upgrades to NESEA building: NESEA is blessed to own its building, but during the past several years, we've had insufficient funds for reinvestment. Our building committee is developing a plan to preserve and enhance the value of the building through routine maintenance, upgrades to attract good tenants, and investments in energy efficiency. Investing in the energy efficiency of our building would make an important statement, in alignment with our mission. Cost: TBD

CEO Statement

What makes NESEA unique? There are a number of things that characterize our community, and distinguish us from the many other organizations that are involved with making the built environment more sustainable.

First, NESEA is a member-driven and staff-supported organization. One of the places this is most evident is in our BuildingEnergy Conference and Trade Show. A planning committee of NESEA members curates the conference content in a very interactive and democratic process, and the staff facilitates with logistical support. The member-driven nature of NESEA allows us to accomplish a lot with a very small staff, but also requires our staff to ensure engagement with and follow-through by our very committed (and often very busy) volunteer/members.

Second, the NESEA community is unique in its willingness to share not just what works in energy efficiency/renewable energy, but maybe more importantly, what doesn’t. Our community members are unashamed to share their biggest mistakes, and are focused on learning from them so that we can avoid making the same mistakes on a widespread basis.

Related to this is the NESEA community’s insistence upon actual data to back up building performance claims. Many other nonprofit organizations in the “green building” arena rely upon energy modeling to predict the results of their work rather than actual performance. But NESEA insists that its presenters/members present at least a full year’s worth of data before they are allowed to share a project as a case study.

Another thing that makes NESEA unique is the fact that we are a multidisciplinary community. We consider ourselves to be the professional membership organization of choice. Unlike the professional certifying organizations for architects, engineers and homebuilders, nobody joins NESEA because they are required to join. Rather, they join for the quality of the network and the information they can access through our diverse community.

The NESEA community is also a venue for mentoring individuals and small businesses through the development of informal peer networks. Many of our members report that every single important business connection they have made or job they have landed has been as a result of a NESEA interaction.

Finally, NESEA embraces a whole systems approach. We recognize the connections among different systems within a building (HVAC, envelope, lighting, appliances) and between the building and its setting, its users, the community in which it exists. And through our work we try to optimize these connections.

Board Chair Statement

Dear NESEA Members,

Ok, I’m not an Old Timer but I’m no spring chicken either: I’ve been an active NESEA member and BuildingEnergy Conference goer for 11 years, and a Board Member for 5. I’ve seen the best of Rosenbaum and the worst of Lstiburek. I’ve seen amazing Board Members come and go. And I’ve seen a most excellent Executive Director over the last several years really find her groove. And this year feels different.

I’ve never seen a staff like this one: engaged, affable, skilled and invested.

I’ve never seen a Board like this one: enthusiastic, collaborative, creative, diverse and all in.

The new Strategic Plan is a testament to the current strength of the organization. And the next steps are its execution, and making sure all of this excitement touches NESEA members in a very palpable way. You ready?

Ok, to start, we are tightening up the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show and giving you more of what you’ve asked for: NESEA Night included in your ticket, sessions filmed, food for exhibitors. We've listened.

Also, bye bye Seaport...Hello, Westin Hotel! This is a serious venue upgrade and although it involved some creativity, lots of hard work by NESEA staff and a little luck, we get to be in our new digs in ‘18. We’ll get a more concentrated, higher-quality trade show floor, fantastic session rooms and a great place to stay all without even needing to open the door and let all that sweet, sweet energy flow out.

We are less BuildingEnergy Boston-centric than ever before. Our current mix has made room for other relatively new programs to expand each year, including BuildingEnergy NYC, and our Bottom Lines, Pro Tours, and Emerging Professionals programs. This means more people, in more regions, in wider swaths of each active profession are getting involved in furthering our mission of advancing the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment.

And in order to make the significant impact we all dream about, we are aiming for true financial stability that a mature organization deserves. This year, we will launch NESEA’s first Capacity Campaign, with a goal of raising $100,000 per year over the next three years. Board Development Chair and cheerleader extraordinaire, South Mountain Company's Rob Meyers, NESEA’s new Communications & Development Director Devan Folts, and their elves will be knocking on your door. Be ready to answer and give your support. The organization you know and love is taking flight into new territory at a time that’s never needed us more. Let’s do this!

Warm regards,

Phil Kaplan

Geographic Area Served

NESEA serves the entire state of Massachusetts plus the nine most northeastern states:  Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The vast majority of our members live and work in the greater Boston metro area.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Professional Societies & Associations
  2. Environment - Professional Societies & Associations
  3. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Small Business Development

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



BuildingEnergy Conference & Trade Show

Over 2,500 renewable energy and green building practitioners bring their cutting edge thinking to Boston each March for the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference & Tradeshow. Now more than 40 years old, BuildingEnergy Boston is the largest, longest running regional sustainable energy event in the country. Sessions range from emerging trends in renewable energy to healthy alternatives to traditional building materials to deep energy retrofits of commercial and residential buildings. BuildingEnergy requires its case studies to present a full year of energy data. The conference includes 60 accredited sessions and the trade show features 60+ exhibitors showcasing the latest sustainable technologies, products, and services. We also host a career forum for emerging professionals.
Budget  $420,337.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Sustainable Design
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success 
  • More than 90 percent of respondents to our post conference survey report that the BE Conference met or exceeded their expectations, and that they would recommend it to a friend.

  • More than 50 percent of respondents to our post conference survey report that attending BE they have changed their practice and/or improved their green building techniques as a result of what they have learned at the BE Conference.

  • More than 50 percent of respondents to our post conference survey report having made at least one valuable business connection at the BE Conference.

  • More than 25 percent of respondents to our post conference survey report that attending the conference helped them generate new business in the field of sustainable energy.
Program Long-Term Success 

For practitioners having attended the BuildingEnergy Conference, 80% of survey respondents will report having actually deployed the techniques and/or incorporated the information learned in their practice.

20% of these respondents will be willing to report actual results from the buildings in which they deployed these techniques.
Program Success Monitored By  We use a variety of tools, including post conference surveys of attendees, exhibitors, presenters, and sponsors, and interviews with conference attendees.
Examples of Program Success  In a recent post-conference survey we asked, “Did the conference fulfill your main reason for attending?” 96% of respondents said the conference fulfilled their main reason for attending. 100% of respondents said that they would recommend the conference to others. Respondents were also asked to tell us how they felt this conference would change their practice. One attendee responded, “It will encourage me to be more thoughtful about my decision-making; and encourage creative problem-solving and evaluation rather than going with the norm.”  Reasons that attendees liked the conference and would return next year included: great networking opportunities, in depth and strong discussions about green building, educational opportunities and continuing education credits offerings, and the quantity, quality, and diversity of information presented.

BuildingEnergy Pro Tours

BuildingEnergy Pro Tours, launched in 2012, give high-level practitioners already in the energy efficiency field an opportunity to see some of the best examples of net zero buildings and Passive Houses. Pro Tours give professionals a chance to speak with project teams and learn what other professionals in their field think works well and what doesn’t work well in high performance buildings. BuildingEnergy Pro Tours also allow professionals to receive continuing education units. We currently offer 13-15 Pro Tours per year, and include all types of buildings - new construction and retrofits, single-family, multifamily, commercial and institutional - throughout our 10-state territory.
Budget  $58,700.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Energy Resources
Population Served Adults Families Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success  Short-term, our goal is that 100% of attendees will learn best practices and "what not to do" in undertaking high performance building projects.
Program Long-Term Success  Ultimately, attendees of BuildingEnergy Pro Tours will implement energy efficiency practices, tools, and high performance systems into their own homes or buildings. 
Program Success Monitored By  The success of BuildingEnergy Pro Tours is monitored by post tour surveys, administered online, after each tour.
Examples of Program Success  Several Pro Tour attendees have subsequently submitted projects of their own to feature on Pro Tours.

Zero Net Energy Homes Database

In 2013, NESEA received a grant from the Barr Foundation to transform the market for zero net energy (ZNE) homes -- homes that produce at least as much energy as they consume. In order to do so, NESEA created a database of ZNE homes and small commercial buildings in the Northeastern United States. We have populated this database with hundreds of case studies that we’ve collected through our members and targeted outreach. We also published a resource guide on best practices and lessons learned in building and retrofitting Zero Net Energy Homes. We also incentivized practitioners to take Marc Rosenbaum’s Zero Net Energy Homes course, and to use what they learn in the course by offering tuition reimbursement to students who, for the first time ever, successfully complete ZNE or ZNE capable projects.
Budget  --
Category  Environment, General/Other Architectural & Landscape Design
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success 

NESEA created a searchable database of ZN- and ZNE-capable homes, and populated it with at least 100 entries, all with a year’s worth of energy data. We reviewed performance metrics and major systems of each database entry and developed a report listing the best/most common practices. This report was circulated broadly on, through our email lists (>40,000), in BuildingEnergy Magazine, and via a workshop. NESEA incented up to 20 practitioners to complete ZNE projects. Anybody who took NESEA’s 10-week BE Masters Series course on ZNE homes (cost $1,000) was eligible to receive a full rebate: 30% upon evidence participant has been contracted for building/designing a ZNEB, 50%  upon submitting an “entry” for NESEA’s ZNEB award, and 20% if the submitter is a first-time ZNEB builder /designer.

Program Long-Term Success  By sharing case studies and best practices in building/retrofitting zero net energy homes, NESEA will help to transform the market such that these types of projects become the norm. More than 50% of newly constructed homes in Massachusetts will be ZNE homes or ZNE capable homes. More than 5% of existing homes in Massachusetts will be deep-energy-retrofitted such that they will be ZNE homes or ZNE capable.
Program Success Monitored By 

We’ll know what is working and what isn’t by monitoring things such as:

  • # of buildings submitted into NESEA’s ZNE database with at least one year’s worth of energy data

  • # of hits to ZNE database, # of clickthroughs to practitioners involved with the projects in the database, # of clickthroughs to products used in these projects

  • # of requests for additional information from database visitors

  • results of surveys of visitors to database and/or readers of our best practices white paper

  • # of BE Masters Series students undertaking a ZNE home project and requesting tuition reimbursement
Examples of Program Success  We currently have 80 examples of ZNE or near-ZNE-homes in the database and publicly accessible. Several of these buildings have been featured as tour sites for our BuildingEnergy Pro Tours program.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

For almost 40 years NESEA has been a membership organization that has appealed to a relatively small audience of professionals and consumers interested in promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency through varying means – advocacy, consumer education, professional development, and networking chief among them.

Over time, as the sustainable energy field has become more saturated, we have narrowed our mission and our focus. Our mission is to advance the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment, and we meet it primarily by connecting professionals to each other, to ideas and to consumers.

Our signature program, the BuildingEnergy Conference, is widely recognized as “best in class” as a regional, multidisciplinary, whole-systems oriented gathering whose purpose is to engage, inform, and  connect professionals whose work is involved with the sustainable use of energy in the built environment.

Each year, BE attracts 3,000 practitioners from a broad spectrum of fields, with diverse interests, levels of experience, and technical knowledge. They have in common a desire to think clearly, and then act. During the conference, they experience the diversity of the content, connect with each other, and expand their capacity to act effectively. People leave BE with a sense of connection and a shared identity. But as time passes, that sense of connection and identity begins to fade.

Many who attend BuildingEnergy have expressed interest in creating BE-quality connection and information-sharing year-round, or “BE365.” We believe this is the next frontier in NESEA’s development. Creating BE365 will allow us to engage the 900 or so members we currently have more fully. It will allow us to bring new community members into the fold through a variety of activities that suit their interest and schedule, but that all serve to engage, inform, and connect this community and allow them to experience diverse content, connect with one another, and expand their capacity to act effectively.

We are working with a committee of members to help us determine how best to roll this out, and what resources will be required.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Jennifer J Marrapese
CEO Term Start Oct 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Before joining NESEA, Jennifer served as vice president of regulatory affairs for Cox Communications and as executive director of Social Venture Partners of Rhode Island. She earned her BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, her JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MA in organizational management and development from Fielding University.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mr. David H. Barclay Mar 2006 Sept 2009
Ms. Nancy Hazard Jan 2006 Mar 2006

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Miriam Aylward Director of Program Development Miriam joined NESEA in August of 2014 after completing an M.B.A. in Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Prior to joining NESEA, she worked as a project manager on a health teleservices delivery project, ran an event planning business in Montana, and led backpacking trips in Wyoming and Utah. While in Montana, she served on the board of the Sustainable Business Council, an organization that is to business what NESEA is to buildings. She's thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the pioneering individuals and businesses that comprise NESEA's membership.
Devan Folts Director of Communications --
Jennifer Marrapese Executive Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Healthy Air Award American Lung Association 2010


Affiliation Year
U.S. Green Building Council 2010
Chamber of Commerce 1994
American Solar Energy Society Chapter 1975
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


NESEA embraces a philosophy of “coopetition.”  Wherever possible, we collaborate with individuals and even competing organizations to further our mutual missions.  Examples of such collaborations include our work with:

  • Yestermorrow Design-Build School to plan high performance building tours in Vermont

  • Various promotional and media partnerships with NESEA’s sponsors, with Taunton Press, ACI, BuildingGreen, and others.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Fundraising and Development Plan -- Unlike many nonprofits, NESEA does not rely heavily on individual donations for our revenues. Historically, 3-5% of our revenues come from individual fundraising. The remainder come from membership dues (5-7%) and earned income (conference registrations, sponsorships, exhibit space, product and advertising sales - approximately 90%). However, over the past few years we have been trying to build our capacity to cultivate and steward individual donors. We are addressing our development capacity at the board level first -- holding one-on-one meetings with each board member to hear their stories of how NESEA has benefited their career and their practice, and asking them to share these stories with others in their networks who might benefit similarly. This is a new effort, and we don’t know yet how effective it will be. We are also considering hiring a consultant in 2014-2015 to help us build our fundraising and development capacity.

Business Continuity Plan and Risk Management Provisions -- Although we haven’t adopted such provisions, we have recently taken steps to secure our more than 70% of our annual revenues by purchasing event insurance policies for our BuildingEnergy Conference and Trade Show and our BuildingEnergy NYC Conference.

Organizational Policies and Procedures - We do not have a single, unified document that addresses all of our organizational policies and procedures. We do, however, have documents that outline the procedures used to run various NESEA programs such as BuildingEnergy, membership, and Green Buildings Open House, as well as an employee handbook, which outlines general workplace policies and benefits offered.

Whistleblower and Document Destruction Policies -- Our Governance Committee is reviewing various drafts of whistleblower and document destruction policies. We anticipate board approval of such policies by the end of 2013.

Management Succession/Training Plan -- Succession planning is always a challenge, especially for a nonprofit with a small staff whose jobs, by necessity, are specialized. We are dealing with this issue, in part, by ensuring that we are compensating at market rates, offering competitive benefits and a flexible, casual work environment so that we can position ourselves as an employer of choice in the event that we do lose staff. In addition, we have budgeted funding for appropriate professional development for each staff member, and have incorporated completion of professional development into their annual performance metrics.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 11
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 80%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 9
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. Lauren Brust Moss
Board Chair Company Affiliation NORESCO
Board Chair Term Jan 2017 - Dec 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Saheel Chandrani Johnson Controls, Inc. Voting
Elizabeth Glynn BlueWave Solar Voting
Phil Kaplan Kaplan Thompson Architects Voting
Jennifer Kearney Gotham 360, LLC Voting
Nancy Ludwig ICON Architecture, Inc. Voting
Rob Meyers South Mountain Co Voting
Lauren Moss NORESCO Voting
Fortunat Mueller ReVision Energy Voting
John Skipper Con Edison Voting
Ben Southworth Garland Mill Timber Frames Voting
Andrew Webster studioWEBSTER Voting
Rachel White Byggmeister Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 81%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Board Governance
  • Building
  • By-laws
  • Compensation
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Nominating
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In 2008, NESEA adopted a Board Governance Policy aligned with the policy governance model developed by Dr. John Carver. This new policy was motivated by a review of 18 years of Board meeting minutes in search of policy decisions. This review revealed that overwhelmingly the Board spent its time reviewing programs and instructing the Executive Director in regard to program development.  The Board concluded that this was clearly disempowering to an Executive Director, who was essentially not an executive at all and, possibly, explained why NESEA had a history of weak Executive Directors or those who decided to leave prematurely.

With the guidance of organizations such as that led by John Carver (author of “Boards that Make A Difference”), the Board drafted and adopted a series of governance policies that recognized the primary obligation of the Board as one of governance. These policies are intended to clarify the relationship between the Board, the Executive Director and staff – essentially recognizing the Executive Director as a true and full functioning executive, responsible for program development and business management while establishing the Board as the responsible entity for formulating a strategic vision and evaluating the Director’s capacity to implement and manage programs to realize that vision and policy objectives.

In the words of Bruce Coldham, FAIA, Board Chair when this policy was adopted, “To those of you that have not served on Boards, this may sound a little dry.  But it is really rather like an engine replacement.  We now have an engine that runs more efficiently, burns cleaner and develops a lot more power.  NESEA now drives and handles better on the steeper and more challenging road in which it is required to drive into the twenty-first century.  Without this engine replacement, NESEA almost certainly would have been left behind.  Indeed, we almost were in January of 2003 – when, what I termed at the time a “crisis of absent leadership” emerged.  The reformulation in the three years since of NESEA’s governance structure, the reduction in the Board size, the recruitment of a thoroughly professional business managing Executive Director, the focus on clarification of our place in the world have given new life to the organization.”

Over time, as this new structure has become part of the organizational culture at NESEA, there has emerged a widespread consensus that the power is appropriately balanced, and there is a healthy relationship among the “three legs of the stool” -- membership, board, and staff.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $1,280,262 $1,432,822 $1,350,878
Total Expenses $1,399,599 $1,580,561 $1,385,513

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $0 -- --
Individual Contributions $74,535 $189,759 $112,725
Indirect Public Support $0 -- --
Earned Revenue $935,384 $981,239 $1,010,597
Investment Income, Net of Losses $3,119 $157 $-1,948
Membership Dues $255,258 $221,400 $160,430
Special Events $0 -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $11,966 $40,267 $69,074

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $910,679 $1,050,931 $922,648
Administration Expense $466,287 $471,247 $426,976
Fundraising Expense $22,633 $58,383 $35,889
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.91 0.91 0.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses 65% 66% 67%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 30% 31% 32%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $576,794 $665,410 $709,787
Current Assets $220,679 $366,773 $449,942
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $203,999 $95,541
Current Liabilities $432,216 $200,091 $205,187
Total Net Assets $144,578 $261,320 $409,059

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $105,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates June 2016 - May 2019
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 0.51 1.83 2.19

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 31% 13%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In 2016, we made a conscious decision to stop “just getting by.” Instead of relying upon interns and temporary employees to fulfill key programmatic functions with respect to our conferences and membership, we invested in attracting and retaining a top-notch full-time, professional staff committed to our mission and to the wonderful culture we’ve created. A few highlights of these “people” investments:

  • Miriam Aylward, Director of Program Development, and Beth Fraser, Director of Operations, were appointed to serve as NESEA’s “People Management Team,” charged with improving employee retention and satisfaction.

  • We created three new full-time positions: Conference Coordinator, Membership and Program Coordinator, and Development Coordinator, and filled them with people eager to make a career at NESEA (Susan Farber, Florence MacGregor, and Zach Bitzer, respectively). This meant increasing our salaries to living wage levels, and offering benefits (rather than limping along with interns who receive no benefits, and who turn over every semester). But already we’ve seen the efficiencies associated with a consistent, professional staff.

  • We have rewritten and clarified all staff job descriptions to ensure that they reflect reality and the needs of the organization. Each staffer has “signed off” on his/her job description, and we have a plan to revisit the job descriptions every six months, and to tweak them as appropriate based on the needs of the organizations and the emerging skills and interests of individual staffers.

  • We have established salary ranges for each position. All staffers are currently being paid within their salary ranges, but some are at the very low end of their ranges. Next step is to ensure that each employee is at least the mid-point of the range. This may take a few years, but we’re on our way.

  • We have established consistent hiring, on-boarding, and exit interview processes for all NESEA staff and interns. These processes include both substantive training and orientation into the “NESEA culture,” which we believe is unique and pretty special.

  • We have adopted our first family and medical leave policy, and have had the opportunity to test it out with the birth of our first “NESEA baby,” Iris Magnolia Aylward. Iris’ mom, Miriam, has been out on leave for almost two months, and several employees, including Florence MacGregor, Katie Schendel, and Beth Fraser, have stepped up to fill in in her absence.

  • Our headquarters, 50 Miles Street, has been renovated to better serve the needs of our employees and tenants, with new bathrooms on both the first and second floors, and a kitchen upstairs, closer to the conference room where we hold most of our events. And we have a long-term plan to make the building accessible and more energy efficient.

  • We continue to hold our daily “stand-up staff meeting,” a 10-minute huddle so that every NESEA staffer knows what others in the office will be working on each day. The meeting brings cohesion to our work, and ensures that we’re not duplicating efforts.

  • We now celebrate each staffer’s “NESEA-versary” with a personal gift at stand-up staff meeting. The gifts increase in value (and thoughtfulness) with each year of service in an effort to celebrate longevity with the organization.

And we’re not finished yet. In the coming year we hope to establish annual professional development goals and plans for all NESEA staff (including professional development on sustainable energy in addition to supporting employees in developing their job-related skills), among other things.

Our “investing in people” strategy can be likened to a manufacturing facility operating at a deficit after making capital improvements that will allow them to increase production. We found that greater staff retention allowed us to grow all of our programs over the course of FY17, and project that it will allow us to operating in the black again in FY18.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's 990 for FY17 and per the audited financials for FY16 and FY15. Please note, the net assets for FY15 reflects the calculated amount based on the total assets and total liability amounts listed. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

NESEA aims to advance the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment. We accomplish this by connecting practitioners to ideas and each other at annual NESEA events and meetups. We provide a community in which professionals are willing to share their experiences and learn from each other. 

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We organize events that allow sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees to learn from and with each other. Our events are filled with high-level content and case studies. The presenters at all of our events are highly trained and respected in their fields.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

With the help of our member volunteers, NESEA staff coordinate events and meetups for our members and others wishing to participate. We invite members to suggest and help coordinate events that they would like to be a part of.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

One way we measure the progress of our programs is to track the number of participants at our events, and their involvement in previous NESEA events. We are then able to see if our supporters become more or less involved in future events. Another way we are able to track progress is by the donations that our members make to our organization. We also administer attendee surveys after our conferences.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to an organization’s performance with respect to People, Planet, and Profit –“the pillars of sustainability."  We use a TBL lens to measure our performance.


· Over 2,000 individuals and organizations engaged through NESEA membership.

· 9 interns gained experience in the sustainable energy sector at NESEA through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center internship program.

· 4 interns received permanent jobs in the sustainable energy sector through the NESEA network.

· 100% of full time NESEA staff members received health insurance or a healthcare stipend.

· Over 170 member-volunteers engaged in over 1,000 hours of planning and staffing NESEA conferences.

· 1,126 individuals participated in the NESEA community through NESEA business memberships.

· 41 businesses improved their Triple Bottom Line through NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines peer-network program.

· 24 emerging professionals and students received scholarships to NESEA conferences, Pro Tours, and Masters Series Courses through the Kate Goldstein Fund and BE the Future scholarship programs.

· 15 individuals showed their commitment to NESEA by becoming Lifetime Members - a record number! • Emerging professional, Christina McPike, received a scholarship to travel to Copenhagen to participate in the Boston-Copenhagen Learning Exchange, led by Women Leading Change, a group of 20 leaders in sustainable energy.

· NESEA created its own, internal People Management Team (PMT). The PMT oversees the development and implementation of policies that support a positive work culture, making NESEA an employer of choice. Examples of PMT achievements include the drafting and adoption of a family leave policy, the use of MBTI exercises for staff team-building, clarifying roles through examination of job descriptions, celebrating staff NESEA-versaries.

· Commitment to providing the staff resources to pursue the diversification of NESEA programs.


· 3,500 individuals increased their knowledge of the sustainable building and energy industries by attending a NESEA conference or workshop.

· 495 practitioners learned firsthand about the successes and challenges of various high-performance building projects by attending 14 BuildingEnergy Pro Tours.

· 5,144 kWh were generated by NESEA’s solar panels.

· 170 students trained through NESEA’s BuildingEnergy Masters Series program in Zero Net Energy Homes, Building Energy Analytics, and Passive House Design.

· NESEA purchases were made with local vendors and sources as much as possible.

· 60 new high performance building case studies added to BuildingEnergy Case Study database, each demonstrating at least a year’s worth energy data.


· 100% of NESEA programs realized net profit before overhead.

· 150 businesses in the sustainable building and energy sector exhibited at BuildingEnergy conferences. • 92 sponsors supported NESEA conferences and events.

· 115 donors contributed to NESEA’s annual appeal

· 256 businesses purchased NESEA memberships - a record number.

· $13,000 raised for student and emerging professional scholarships through the Kate Goldstein Fund for Emerging Professionals.

· $3,750 contributed to support student scholarships for the BE the Future program.

· Commitment to the diversification of income streams over the next three years to strengthen NESEA’s financial outlook.

· First annual BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Business Summit a financial success.

· New BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines peer group launched, expanding the total number of groups to four.