Hagan Brings Sustainable Work To Bredesen’s Energy Task Force

By Eric Smith

Position: Principal
Company: Architecture Inc.
Basics: Hagan has been appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Energy Policy.
“People get it. When you start paying $4 a gallon for gas, you start paying $300, $400 to heat your house in the winter, all of a sudden you get it.”
– Joey Hagan
Principal, Architecture Inc.

As Joey Hagan quickly points out, sustainable architecture isn’t a new concept or the latest fad. “Green building” has been around since the 1920s, when architects designed skyscrapers and other structures with principles that permeate today’s eco-friendly landscape.

“You didn’t have fluorescent lighting (decades ago), so we had nice big windows with lots of natural light. You didn’t have air conditioning, so you had high ceilings, you had operable windows and ventilation, and you used certain materials that would be warm at night and cool during the day,” Hagan said. “Good architects and designers have been practicing sustainability for a long time.”

Hagan, a principal with the Memphis design and planning firm of Architecture Inc., will put his sustainable architecture savvy to use as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Energy Policy. He recently was appointed to the task force by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen to help develop an energy plan for the state – from alternative fuels to renewable energy, from conservation to clean-coal technology.

“Our charge is to ultimately put together a report and make recommendations to Gov. Bredesen for various things to address sustainability,” Hagan said. “Tennessee is one of the few states that is perusing sustainability at the state level.”

‘A good fit’

One of the hottest topics on the agenda of the task force, organized in March, is reducing carbon emissions “in a systematic program with substantiated results,” Hagan said, for state and local agencies, businesses and individual citizens alike.

“Coal produces about half the energy supplied by electrical power, so we’re trying to look for ways to reduce CO2 emissions, look at clean coal, alternative sources of energy,” Hagan said. “We’re looking at developing programs where individuals can take control of their energy costs through a number of ways. Some of these may or may not include tax incentives.”

Hagan, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Tulane University, was appointed to the task force for a number of reasons.

For one, West Tennessee didn’t have a representative from architecture, one of the leading industries in sustainability. Also, Hagan has political ties in Nashville after serving as president of the state and local chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) within the past few years.

Finally, a lobbyist friend took note of Hagan’s recent sustainable designs at University Place, the development on the site of the former Lamar Terrace public housing property. University Place’s second and third phases, of which Architecture Inc. is architect, will bring nearly 300 homes certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to Memphis.

“Something of that scope can make a difference from an energy standpoint,” Hagan said. “They decided that not only did they need some representation from West Tennessee from the architectural side, but also with my past experience I would be a good fit.”

Time to work

Hagan is joined in his efforts to green up Tennessee by a wide variety of professionals from the public and private sectors who are vested in making the state more energy efficient.

“It’s such a diverse group of folks,” Hagan said. “We’ve got bankers, we’ve got homebuilders, we’ve got physicists.”

The task force next week begins drafting recommendations to the governor and within the next two to three months will make suggestions to Bredesen on all things energy-related, Hagan noted.

“It’s imperative that we keep this train moving and get our recommendations to the governor in a timely fashion,” said Hagan, adding that the task force wants to help people “take control of their energy, reduce their needs and save money.”

That’s the ultimate mission of the task force. At a time when energy is on everyone’s mind, a task force that addresses how these issues relate to the state’s governmental agencies, its businesses and its residents makes sense.

“People get it,” Hagan said. “When you start paying $4 a gallon for gas, you start paying $300, $400 to heat your house in the winter, all of a sudden you get it.”