BIG Award Brings a Smile and a Career Boost

Filed in Awards, Environment by on July 26, 2018 0 Comments

Karen Benner

Applications continue to roll in for the NAHB Best in Green Awards, the annual program honoring outstanding sustainable and energy-efficient projects.

As in previous years, in addition to new and remodeled homes and developments, NAHB will honor the Young Green Professional of the Year as part of the awards ceremony, which takes place during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas next February.

The young professional award can be key in helping to advance careers, says the 2015 honoree.

Karen Benner, then director of architecture at The Neighborhoods of EYA in Bethesda, Md., which builds communities in the close-in suburbs of Washington, D.C., didn’t even know she was being nominated until the list of finalists was announced. “My boss said, ‘Surprise! We nominated you,’” she remembered.

The entry her colleagues wrote was glowing in its praise: “Karen manages to deliver a green home within budget by employing creative strategies, products and solutions in green construction. Few production builders are achieving this level of green success,” the application stated.

Though Benner enjoyed her job at EYA, the Rockies beckoned and she moved West. She still needed to find a job, but having the Young Green Professional of the Year on her resume helped her stand out.

Now, Benner loves her new position as director of product development at Thrive Home Builders in Denver.

“Winning the award was definitely helpful for my transition when I decided to leave D.C. and move to Colorado,” she said. “When someone had no idea who I was, at least they knew I had a credential they admired and respected.”

The award also piqued her interest in helping NAHB achieve the association’s sustainability goals and advocacy work, and Benner now serves on the NAHB Sustainability and Green Building Subcommittee of the Environmental Issues Committee. “My whole NAHB connection has definitely been helpful in my transition across the country,” she said.

Applications for the NAHB Best in Green awards will be accepted through Aug. 24. Show your stuff: Apply here. For more information about the awards program, contact Megan Carroll.

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