The Greentrepreneur: CORE USA

Core USS Logo“EDUCATE YA’SELF!” says Tilman Hardy, Founder and CEO of CORE USA, a local services-based firm that specializes in training, consulting and project management within the framework of conservation and restoration ecology.

And he couldn’t be more right!

With growing recognition of the importance of sustainability on national, state and local levels, there are more opportunities than ever to improve our environmental impacts through public and private incentive programs. The difficulty lies with finding out what is actually available and how to make the best decision for you and your organization. From home and commercial energy efficiency programs like NOLA Wise to sustainability improvement tax credit opportunities, CORE USA can help consumers navigate this burgeoning industry. Founded in 2010, CORE USA assists their clients in identifying and eliminating barriers to sustainability initiatives within environmental, economic, cultural and social systems through consulting, training and project management services.

CORE USA’s wide range of services include:

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• Connections for homeowners and contractors to Federal, State, and Local energy conservation incentives
• Project management services during construction projects
• Assessment of existing building conditions and/or existing plans and specifications
• Consultation on projects involving new construction, renovation, and retrofit
• Third party review and verification of works in progress and completed work



LifeCity had the opportunity to ask Tilman Hardy about his organizations and his insights into the sustainability movement happening here in New Orleans:

1) What are some of your proudest moments as the leader of CORE USA?

One of my proudest moments as the CEO of CORE USA was when we became the first Louisiana-based Building Performance Institute (BPI) Training and Testing Center to train and test BPI candidates. 90% of the candidates passed the test on their first try—all of whom are Louisiana residents and are currently leading contractors in the Louisiana building performance industry. Another proud moment was during our first Annual CORE USA team retreat. CORE USA was started in 2010, and it wasn’t until 2012 that we were able to hire the bulk of our full-time staff. At the retreat, which was held at our Operations Managers’ house on the North Shore, it was made apparent to all of us that we all share the same passion and vision–conserving our environment, economy, culture, and social consciousness.

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2) What are some of the greatest challenges CORE USA faces in accomplishing its mission?

By far, our greatest challenge has been helping the sustainable building industry overcome years of green-washing and widely distributed misinformation. Through our PUBLIC EDUCATION, PROFESSIONAL TRAINING and ORGANIZING campaigns, we aim to give consumers access to the resources they need to make decisions based on the most RELIABLE information and technology.

3) How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts? What kind of social and environmental impact do you hope to accomplish in the Green Games this year?

With a skilled focus on sustainable development, CORE USA works with individuals, businesses, and communities to educate, empower and mobilize members with common goals. The vision of CORE USA is to ensure environmental, economic, cultural, and social sustainability of individuals, families, and communities. In the Green Games, environmentally, we are constantly assessing and reassessing our waste-stream with the hopes of attaining a zero-waste environment—not just in our office, but in every project we are a part of. Socially, we hope to showcase some of our most aggressive social justice projects. Stay tuned!

4) If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your organization to make a difference, what would that thing be?

It is really hard to pinpoint one “thing” but two (realistic) priority campaigns for us are:
a) The (re)adoption of the Louisiana Energy Efficiency Rules recently voided by our Public Service Commission; and
b) The adoption of the most current International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the standard for Louisiana.
But since you said “magic wand”, I’d also like to see Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing adopted and funded in Louisiana. It is less likely to happen any time soon, but just read about PACE financing and you will agree that, if implemented properly, it is a great model for reducing our energy demand. PACE allows homeowners and businesses to take control of their own destiny and can be structured to have very little or even no burden on taxpayers.

5) What Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 4.47.59 PMadvice would you give to other organizations or businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit our City?

There is a great deal to learn about sustainable development. Technology and science is ever changing and it takes constant research to arrive at the most reasonable decisions for your project.

6) Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses?

HOMEOWNERS & BUSINESS OWNERS: There are many ways to improve your home or business’ health, safety, comfort, and energy efficiency. We are certified to design a multifaceted solution for you, which can include FINANCING—both in house and with traditional financing with your present lender or other lenders in our network.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDING COMMUNITY: In an effort to provide reliable information to consumers, CORE USA hosts and sponsors public education workshops and forums. If you are aware of a workshop or forum that could use a sponsor, or you are interested in joining us as a subject matter expert or concerned citizen, please contact us ASAP. LET’S GET TO WORK!