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About Brightworks

First-Mover Advantage + Continuous Innovation

Proven Partners For Every Step of Your Sustainability Journey

From our origins in corporate sustainability to our diverse offerings today, we have built on early first-mover advantage to maintain a position today of leadership and innovation in sustainability & ESG

Origins in Corporate Sustainability

Brightworks Sustainability was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2001 by Scott Lewis, a former environmental policy advisor to Michael Dukakis, Governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee. Trained in natural resource economics and environmental law, and experienced in NGO work, Scott was subsequently serving on the board of directors of Schnitzer Steel (now Radius Recycling) when he founded Brightworks. At Schnitzer Steel, he had led implementation of an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) for the steel giant.

While implementing this EMS as part of Schnitzer Steel’s pioneering sustainability program, Scott came into contact with other business leaders in the progressive Pacific Northwest eager to imbue their businesses with a stewardship ethic. To serve such business leaders, Scott founded Brightworks as one of the first-ever corporate sustainability advisory firms in the United States to serve what would later become a global market for services related to sustainability transition in enterprises – a space at the time served largely by pioneering non-profit organizations like Ceres and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Using tools like ISO 14001 and conceptual frameworks like The Natural Step, significant early work by Brightworks included the first-ever campus sustainability plan for the University of California, Santa Barbara, still the highest-ranking UC campus on sustainability measures tracked by the UC Office of the President. Other early clients included Alexandria Real Estate and Sun Valley Company.

Expanding Into Green Building

The same year that Brightworks was founded, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which engaged stakeholders from across the real estate, design, and construction industries to establish a comprehensive definition of green buildings reflecting consensus thinking at the time. In LEED, enterprises seeking to understand and manage their adverse impacts found a helpful tool for identifying specific measures to take within the context of a building project to help address the impacts of the built environment overall. To meet this need for organizations to reduce the adverse impacts of their real estate assets, Brightworks added architects, engineers, and energy experts to its existing team of consultants focused on enterprise operations. Brightworks thus diversified into two practice areas: corporate sustainability and green building.

Rather than limiting their purview to real estate, however, Brightworks’ green building practice team members instead connected its green building work to its corporate sustainability work, developing services for clients seeking to take action at the program level, the portfolio level, or the enterprise level, in addition to the building or asset level. This constant striving for maximal outcomes for clients offered customers a superior customer experience and established Brightworks as a practice leader in both corporate sustainability and green building.

Brightworks Sustainability Now

In 2015, Scott Lewis sold Brightworks to the firm’s leadership team at the time — Heath Blount, Christopher Forney, Joshua Hatch, and Brandon G. Sprague — who formally acquired Brightworks on July 1, 2015. With ESG was in rapid ascendance at the time, Brightworks’ new owners invested in the establishment of additional practice areas to serve the expanding needs of its customers. Today, our team members offer expertise in the following areas:

ESG + Corporate Sustainability
  • Decarbonization & GHG Emissions Reduction
  • Biodiversity
  • ESG & Sustainability Strategy & Planning
  • ESG & Sustainability Program Design
  • ESG & Sustainability Program Implementation
  • ESG & Sustainability Reporting & Disclosure
  • ESG & Sustainability Outsourcing
Government Sector Sustainability

Brightworks is Small Business Self-Certified for NAICS, 541330, 541611, 541618, 541620, 541690 & 541990

  • Decarbonization & GHG Emissions Reduction
  • Climate Action Planning & Implementation
  • Public Agency Sustainable Operations Programs
  • High-Performance Public Buildings
  • Public Infrastructure
  • Renewable & Clean Energy Consulting
Sustainable Built Environments
  • Green Building Certifications
  • Green & Sustainable Building Consulting
  • Zero Carbon Buildings
  • Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Energy Analysis & Energy Modeling
  • Commissioning
  • Sustainable Building Materials
  • Biophilia & Biophilic Design
  • Nature-Based Solutions
Healthier Built Environments
  • Healthy Building Certifications
  • Healthier Building Materials
  • Biophilia & Biophilic Design
  • Decarbonization & GHG Emissions Reduction
  • Carbon & GHG Emissions Accounting
  • Carbon & GHG Emissions Reporting
  • Embodied Carbon & Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment
  • Operational Carbon
  • Zero Carbon Buildings
  • Net Zero Energy
  • Electrification
  • Energy Auditing
  • Energy Management
  • Energy Analysis & Energy Modeling
  • Commissioning
  • Net Zero Energy
  • Electrification
  • Renewable & Clean Energy Consulting
  • Embodied Carbon & Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment
  • Healthy & Sustainable Materials Program Development
  • Material Evaluation
  • Support for Architects & Designers
  • Support for Manufacturers

Investing in The Future

As an organization committed to continuous innovation, Brightworks continually scans the horizon for emerging customer needs. In fact, all Brightworks team members dedicate at least 10% of their time to the firm’s service innovation program, currently focused on such emerging areas of service as biodiversity, low-carbon concrete, nature-based solutions, and water scarcity.

Industry-Level Initiatives & Market-Making

In addition to serving our clients’ current needs and anticipating their future needs, we also make markets where they have not previously existed, through mediating industry-level agreements that overcome systemic impediments to stewardship action. Such work is currently taking place in partnership with:

  • Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)
  • iMasons Climate Accord
  • Mindful Materials
  • Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA) North America

Advanced Technical Training

Brightworks Sustainability is highly-regarded internationally, with candidates from around the world seeking positions within the firm. In addition to global recruiting, we recruit from the leading undergraduate and graduate programs in our disciplines, such as those at Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, UCLA, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, and the University of Oregon.

To meet our customers’ expectations that we help them meaningfully address their complex needs, the Brightworks team offers advanced training and proven expertise, with team members holding advanced degrees in such disciplines as:

  • Advanced Sustainable Design
  • Architecture
  • Building Energy Modeling and Performance Analysis
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Civil Engineering
  • Construction Management
  • Construction Science
  • Energy and Environment Design Studies
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Interior Design
  • International Sustainable Development
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Strategic Communication
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Urban Planning & Policy Design

Professional Distinction

To maintain the level of professional excellence required by our customers, we seek team members steeped in norms of soundly-managed companies who have distinguished themselves within organizations of significance, such as:

  • Accenture
  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • Arizona State University
  • Association for Energy Affordability
  • Bloom Energy
  • Buro Happold
  • Callison
  • Cascadia Region Green Building Council
  • Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health
  • City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development
  • Clark Construction
  • Dartmouth College Sustainability Office
  • Gensler
  • Golden Gate Power
  • Green Building Alliance
  • Harvard University
  • HOK
  • International Living Future Institute
  • International Nighttime Design Initiative
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • KieranTimberlake
  • KPFF
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mazria Odems Dzurec
  • McKinstry
  • NYC Department of City Planning
  • Parsons School of Design
  • PECI
  • Perkins + Will
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Seattle Audubon Society
  • Skylab Architecture
  • SmithGroupJJR
  • State of North Carolina
  • Tesla
  • Tetra Tech
  • Texas A&M University
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • Tulane University
  • UC Santa Barbara Office of Sustainability
  • UCLA Office of Sustainability
  • University of California, Berkeley Office of Sustainability
  • University of Virginia Office for Sustainability
  • University of Washington Office of Sustainability
  • Urban Green Council
  • WSP
  • XL Construction

Representation, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In addition to acquired expertise, the Brightworks team brings diverse lived experiences to our firm and our clients. We are proud to have nurtured an inclusive firm culture representing different races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and nationalities, among other attributes.

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