Meet Richard Harkrader
The first impression one gets of Richard Harkrader is that, if there is a task at hand, he should be put in charge. He projects a reassuring sense of focus, commitment, knowledge and competence. This is not surprising since he has had a more than forty-year career in energy-efficient building. Richard is a builder and architect by training, and he and his wife, Lonna, were pioneers in solar construction beginning in the 1970s. More recently they have changed their principal direction to large structure energy efficiency, including the retrofitting of older buildings, through their company, Carolina Solar Energy.
Richard grew up in Virginia, on the outskirts of the urban environment, where he experienced the impact of urban development, which eventually fostered his awareness for preservation, efficiency and sustainability. About fifteen years ago, Richard encountered Clean Energy Durham Executive Director Judy Kincaid through her work with the Council of Governments on designing energy efficiency standards for buildings. With mutual interests, Richard and his wife became early supporters of Clean Energy Durham and last year signed up as a 2030 Society Founder, helping Clean Energy Durham help the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
The neighborhood approach of Clean Energy Durham is a perfect counterpart to the activities of Carolina Solar Energy. One of his favorite catch phrases is that “energy policy drives markets, markets create scale and scale drives down prices,” noting that solar prices have gone down 50% in the last four years.
Richard is a gardener and an avid fisherman. Through both of these activities he has seen the detrimental effects of climate change, such as altered growing seasons, rising water levels and warming weather. Like many, Richard is worried about the long-term global environment. However, he is optimistic about the near term efforts of groups like Clean Energy Durham and his own Carolina Solar Energy and their ability to have a significant impact.
–Profile by Clean Energy Durham Volunteer Martin Eagle
2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
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