Local Company Helps Others “Go Green”

Photo | Phil Fabrizio

Lakelands resident Scott Friedman and his wife, alison, are simplifying what it means to “go green.

Search for the term “go green” on the Internet, and you may get 125 million results — a daunting number. That’s where Scott Friedman comes in.

Friedman, a Lakelands resident, is cofounder, principal and CEO of Greenavise, a company that serves as a kind of one-stop shop for all things green. From offering energy audits to recommending products to evaluating sustainable practices and creating action plans for implementing solutions, Greenavise’s goal is to make “going green” easy.

“Whether it’s a specific task or an overall sustainability strategy,” he said, “Greenavise can help do it.”

Because understanding the many facets of the green industry can be confusing, Friedman narrows things down to the three main areas of emphasis: energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability. “Everything else will fall into one of these three categories,” he said. Simplifying the process this way can often help clients feel less overwhelmed as they begin evaluating their options.

Previously CEO for a commercial real estate company, Friedman started Greenavise with his brother-in-law, Garrett Stackman, in 2008. He said providing environmentally friendly products as a value-added service for development projects is what initially “got us into the green world.”

Their initial plan emphasized product sales, but they quickly discovered a greater need.

“We morphed into more of a consulting firm,” he said. “There’s a disconnect between the products and services that are out there and those who want to use them.”

When it comes to “going green,” big companies — like Walmart — “get it,” said Friedman, as do large government organizations and school systems. Many have already established “green teams” or created staff positions dedicated specifically to finding energy efficient products or developing solutions. Smaller companies, he said, don’t have the same resources.

“There are a lot of businesses that want to make changes but just don’t know where to begin,” he said. “We come in and help set goals, help them figure out what steps they should take and how to do what they want to do. We serve as their outsourced green team, as a sustainability advisor.”

For now Greenvise’s primary focus is on business and commercial properties; however, Friedman’s long-term goals include a retail store geared more toward residential services. He has already begun implementing an “incubator” concept for the first floor of the company’s Silver Spring office building where he would bring companies together, consolidating them in one place so customers could come in and learn more about green solutions and products for their home.

With Greenavise, Friedman said he wanted to answer five questions that he now keeps in the back of his mind and tries to relate to everything he does: “1) What is the climate crisis? 2) Why should I care? 3) What can I do about it? 4) How should I do it? 5) And how do I pay for it?” He hopes to address question number three with the retail store.

Friedman grew up in Potomac and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from The University of Maryland. Married and living in New Jersey with his wife, Alison, and one young son, he was working as a Wall Street trader in New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an experience that led the Friedmans to reevaluate where they wanted to be, both literally and figuratively.

“We started reflecting on, ‘What are we doing?’” said Friedman. Deciding he wanted to work with his father, Friedman moved his growing family to Lakelands in November 2002 and became CEO of his family’s commercial real estate company before starting Greenavise.

His newest venture still revolves around family — in addition to Friedman’s co-founder, Stackman, who serves as principal and general counsel, the company’s executive team consists of Friedman’s wife, who is vice president of marketing, and his sister, Lisa Stackman, who is vice president of human resources and finance.

The Friedmans have three sons: Spencer, 9; Tyler, 7; and Jake, 6. And their professional focus on sustainability has influenced their personal lives. Though not quite ready to replace their cars, they say they are making changes as they can. They buy organically, carry reusable water bottles, and have switched to wind power in their home.

Scott Friedman’s excitement about what his company can do is apparent. In this fast-growing industry, he is soaking up the knowledge he needs to position himself and his company at the forefront at the green movement. He is certified as a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council, and Greenavise is a Montgomery County Certified Green Business, a PEPCO trade ally and a member of the Maryland Green Registry.

Both personally and professionally, he would like to see Montgomery County become more of a “green base” and would like to be involved in that effort. “I want to see Montgomery County become a hub for sustainability and at the front of the green movement,” he said. “And I want to be a part of that.”

Right now, though, his focus is on raising awareness. “We want people to ask, ‘What is my company doing?’” said Friedman. “Greenavise can help them answer that question.”

Friedman wants to make people think — and then, of course, to take action.

“I want to help make green strategies more instinctive so ‘green’ isn’t a term that’s even needed,” he said. “It’s rewarding to me to be doing something that makes a difference.”