In Memory of Jeff Johnson (Nov 6, 1956 - May 15, 2005)

Jeff JohnsonFormer Executive Director of NBI, Jeff influenced building efficiency and performance through his passion, enthusiasm, intellect and collaboration. Below are memories colleagues and friends posted about him.

I finally found the following Bernard Shaw's quote that Jeff had posted once while he was at PNNL. I asked a copy of this quote from Jeff in the interest of motivating some of my friends for a local community service at that time. It speaks volumes now and it seems as though Jeff summarized his life by picking this quote:

"This is a true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining the the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is "no brief" candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations".

Jeff - You will always be remembered for your inspiration and gentle personality.

Krishnan Gowri
USA - Saturday, October 15, 2005

I knew Jeff only briefly via e-mail correspondence. We struck up an instant rapport. It's rare to find a soulmate.

Adrian Leaman
UK - Sunday, August 7, 2005

In grappling with Jeff’s death, I’m reminded what a Buddhist teacher once told me after my mother passed away: “The sad thing is not that people die, but that many never really live at all.” Jeff did more living in a year than most do in a lifetime. He was an inspiration and truly left his mark on the world.

Rob Watson
New York, NY USA - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I met with Jeff a number of times at conferences, and our conversation quickly turned from high performance buildings to higher performance lives. His multitude of interests supports my own; his model a base from which we all can spring. His infectious energy made every meeting an excited anticipation. I've never seen anyone make HVAC so compelling. Even though our project work did not converge, he was always with me. Southface -- both in Atlanta and North Carolina -- will miss the strong force with which he plowed through often murky waters.

Jeff Tiller
Boone, NC USA - Monday, July 11, 2005

I was surfing the net this morning for ideas and resources on sustainable buildings and clicked on the New Buildings website. My eye first caught the picture of Jeff and I wondered what he was up to these days. And then I read the story. It's still sinking in. I worked with Jeff when I was at DOE and he ran the Building Energy Codes program at PNNL. Few people are blessed with enormous professional strengths and an enormous love of life. He had both. He made a difference in many different ways.

John Millhone
Arlington, VA USA - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Had Jeff not taken so many risks in life, he would not have affected me so profoundly. To a strong athelete, a scintillating mind, and a caring spirit...good travels.

Tate Walker

Jeff, You lived life and your memory will forever inhabit our minds. Matthew

Matthew Tanteri
New York, NY USA - Friday, June 03, 2005

When I heard the news I couldn't accept it. Someone like Jeff couldn't possibly have this happen. He was someone who could overcome anything. Anything. I always sought out Jeff's take. He thought so quickly, and so brilliantly. He had such a gift of understanding the byzantine technical details yet keeping an eye on the far horizon and asking the big questions. He kept achieving these great new ideas that would lead to better, smarter buildings. And he had boundless energy.

I remember how he worked so hard -- so hard-- to orient NBI and clear up questions. He used to amaze me, yet make me anxious, working late nights and through weekends. Six years later and he still laughed off burnout when we talked in March. “Yeah, but there are so many good ideas...” He took so much time to teach me about building science. He had such a gift of making others feel respected, included, energized. I'd watch him work so hard in side-meetings to understand disagreements and persuade, cajole, reposition, offer data, whatever-it-takes his argument until there was more common ground. I'll miss his attitude on any new idea of “well, let's just try, and see if it works.” “Go for it” with his bright smile and lean-forward stance.

There are so many wonderful memories of warmth and friendship, from his invitations to ballgames and mountain hikes, to Jeff and his family teaching me drinking games late into the night at an Asilomar bonfire. His gracious great guffaws when his email contact was prankishly re-named “heffer” instead of “jefe” after a presentation. The words that come to mind: Strategic. Infectious. Can-do. Quality. Pragmatic. Winsome. The best of American spirit. The epitome of the encouraging, inventive, brilliant energy efficiency community that makes me love what I do. Thanks, Jeff. I will miss you so very much. My buddy and mentor and colleague. How lucky I am to have known you.

Polly Shaw
San Francisco, CA USA - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Wind Rider
He rode the wind
He knew the wind
He loved to catch the wind
The wind caught him
He flew
Wind past his face
Over too soon
The wind took him home
Now he is wind
Touching your face
Powering windmills and sails
Running free

Diana Grant
Seattle, USA - Friday, May 27, 2005

I did not know Jeff well, but over the past year had worked with him to try to resolve some concerns my clients, manufacturers of architectural curtainwall, storefront and entrances, had with changes he had proposed for the 2006 IECC. Jeff listended to us, was open to our input, and worked with us to find a solution to our concerns that still maintained the integrity of the IECC. Once we had agreed upon a solution, he put his own name on it, submitted it to the ICC and spoke in favor of it at the most recent hearings in Cincinnati. And it was approved by the IECC committee, making the table in question one that will be workable, practical and enforceable when the 2006 IECC begins to be adopted and enforced across the country. As one of my clients said to me, he was an energy advocate that we could work with. We will sorely miss him. But the benefit of the work he has done, just in terms of the IECC alone, will remain for a long time to come.

Juile Ruth, P.E.
New Lenox, IL USA - Friday, May 27, 2005

When I received the email about Jeff, I just sat there, staring at the screen, stunned. As everyone here has said, the world will be poorer for not having Jeff in it. Jeff embodied Emerson's definition of success, leaving the world a better place. Professionally, he was tough, but fair, somehow knowing that ideals had to be grounded in reality in order to bring them to fruition. I feel loss that is out of proportion to the time we worked together. Selfishly, I feel cheated. I wanted to come to know Jeff better. I wanted the day to come that I could call him 'friend.' Bill Prindle left a poem for his life--I'll leave one from the Hopi that I think of in his passing..... Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on the snow. I am the sunlight on the ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn's rain. When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry: I am not there...I did not die.

Arlene Z. Stewart
Gainesville, FL USA - Friday, May 27, 2005

I met Jeff while at Sonoma State in the early 80s. He was a few years ahead of me and sometimes helped out our profs with the energy courses. I remember being amazed at his talent and enthusiasm and was inspired early by the example he set. I followed his career and kept an eye out for what he was doing because I knew it was always going to be something important and effective. Through the years our paths would cross periodically, mostly at conferences, and I would always marvel at the fact that he retained the infectious energy and idealism of those early days. When I heard he was gone last week I was stunned and in tears but I wasn't sure why it hit me so hard. I really hadn't had a chance to spend much time with him over all these years. But I knew we had lost someone who was so clearly a positive force for environmental change and love of life. Everything I have read from all of you makes that even clearer. Jeff, I probably never told you that you were one of the first people I ever looked up to and how you helped inspire me into the good fight for efficiency. You were truly a bright light. I'll find a star for you and keep on lookin' up. - Mike

Michael Rufo
Oakland, CA USA - Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thank you Jeff. Although your years were fewer than most are afforded, you have accomplished a life time of achivements. You have inspired, informed, educated, and even entertained all while being a perfect gentleman. And I'm sure your memory will go on to serve as inspiration for many great accomplishments in the future. Thank you for the priveledge to have known and been touched by such a soulful person.

Ed Wisniewski
Boston, MA USA - Thursday, May 26, 2005

From the local White Salmon newspaper - a tribute to Jeff
Karen Messmer
USA - Thursday, May 26, 2005

After meeting Jeff in the early 1980s at a party in Half Moon Bay I got reconnected with him in 2001 when I joined the California Energy Commission. During my tenure there I valued his leadership in helping produce a series of important products. More importantly, we shared a love for the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle and excitedly exchanged tales of mountain biking, backcountry skiing, mountaineering, etc. My only regret is that we never had that project meeting in the Gorge so I could experience some of that karma with him more directly. Jeff, last weekend I rode a double century and was thinking of you most of the way. Ride on, brother, we miss you!

Don Aumann
Davis, CA USA - Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jeff had just returned from his annual surfing vacation in Baja when I met him in 1998 at the NEEP office. He was the first person I ever encountered who used his laptop to put together a slide show of his trip complete with captions and music- a sure sign that here was an unusual man who understood the importance of balancing his life. A couple of years later, the NEEP staff compiled a recipe pamphlet to share with one another. Jeff submitted more than his fair share of recipes complete with commentary. In this time of incredible sadness and loss, here are Jeff's words and recipes based on one of his greatest passions-surfing in Baja. You can tell Jeff approached his food the way he did his chosen profession- building and constructing the meal, providing great detail & getting things right.

Heffe's Fish Tacos: fish tacos have a deep tradition in Baja California. Baja is a strip of land about 100 miles wide and 1000 miles long that separates the Gulf of California from the Pacific Ocean. It is inhabited by Native Americans and is very rural. The ocean has been an integral part of Baja life for thousands of years and Fish Tacos a staple that gained fame through surfers venturing into Baja for waves and adventure. Ten tacos cost about $1.10 US. Two things to remember- a little fish goes a long way so this recipe will feed about 4 or 5 people. You can eat at least 4 or 5 of these tacos because they taste so good you can't stop. You can serve this with beans, rice, chips, guacamole, etc. Be creative as this dish brings the whole party to the kitchen and you can't get rid of them till the tacos are gone.

Ingredients: 1 lb. cod or rockfish 2 cups corn oil 1 cup Krusteaz pancake mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup vinegar 1/4 cup sugar 2TBS New Mexico Chile Powder ½ head cabbage ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 3 limes 3 dozen tortillas Fresh salsa (see Mango salsa recipe) salt and pepper Prepare fish: First, rinse the fish and cut into pieces about as big as your finger (knuckle to tip). Mix pancake mix and add 1 TBS chile powder to the batter with some salt and pepper. Place fish in batter to coat and set aside.

Prepare sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and 1 TBS chile powder in a bowl. It should taste like spicy coleslaw dressing when fully mixed. Add ingredients to suit your taste (less sugar or less vinegar). Place in refrigerator till ready to serve tacos.

Prepare veggies: Slice cabbage into small strips (the thinner the better). Slice limes into rounds and then half. Warm tortillas on hot flat pan. Best way to do it is take a dozen and put on the pan (medium heat). Flip entire stack when bottom tortilla is warm, then leave bottom tortilla on the pan and flip the remaining 11 tortillas again. Repeat this process until all the tortillas are warm and soft. Place tortillas in a covered bowl with a towel. This keeps them hot and soft. (You can microwave the stack but they will not be as fresh tasting as this traditional Mexican method of warming tortillas).

Fry Fish: Take the battered fish and place into hot corn oil. In Baja, they use lard and it really adds flavor but…Cook until brown on one side then flip. The batter should be crispy and golden brown when done. Place on paper towels to blotter oil off and then put in warm oven or serve immediately.

Assemble tacos: To make taco, take warm tortilla (two work best) places two to three pieces of fish in and cover with the sauce. Put cabbage in, cilantro and squeeze lime (one or two slices) on top. Cover with salsa and eat right away.

Mango Salsa: Mexican cooks pride themselves in how fine they can chop ingredients. I have had onions and tomatoes chopped so fine in some beach restaurants that they were like fresh ground ingredients. This recipe is a great summer dish and goes with grilled fish (ahi or mahi mahi), fish tacos or as a summer appetizer. I learned it in my friend’s camper overlooking a great surf sailing break about 70 km from the nearest highway. It tastes best if after a hard day on the water. Ingredients: 1 fresh mango 1 red onion 1 red bell pepper ½ cup fresh cilantro 1 avocado 1 8 oz. can Mandarin oranges ½ cucumber 1 large ripe tomato 2 fresh jalapeno chiles ½ cup apple cider vinegar

Preparation: Chop everything up (finer the better) and place in a large bowl. Pour apple cider vinegar over the top. Let set for an hour. Keep chips away until you are ready to eat then stand back and watch the stampede because this stuff vanishes like magic. Enjoy!

Baja Fogs: Fish tacos go really well with Baja Fogs, a great drink. To make a fog, take a bottle of Corona (no substitute), open and fill the bottle neck with tequila. Leave a little room at the top of the neck for some fresh lime juice. The lime juice will fall through the tequila but will stop at the beer leaving the neck in a fog. The key is how you drink these-bottoms up till the tequila is down and you get a taste of the beer chaser. I use the label as a guide- your first swig should leave your beer at the top of the Corona label.

Thanks Jeff. I consider myself a lucky person to have known you.

Jane Stolzman
Cambridge, MA USA - Thursday, May 26, 2005

When Jeff died, for me one of the brightest lights in our world went out. I will remember him as brilliant, vibrant, and full of life, always "pushing the envelope" both literally and figuratively. He remains a model for me of living live at full throttle. We were in various ways friend, colleagues, and competitors, but regardless of the cirumstances Jeff brightened every room I shared with him. Jeff also had more dimensions than the technical focus of our work usually revealed. I remember him doing a luncheon speech at a conference a few years back, which he began with the following poem by Rilke: My life is not this steeply sloping hour, in which you see me hurrying. Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree; I am only one of my many mouths, and at that, the one that will be still the soonest. I am the rest between two notes, which are somehow always in discord because Death's note wants to climb over-- but in the dark interval, reconciled they stay there trembling. And the song goes on, beautiful.

Bill Prindle
USA - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

For Jeff You were a key piece to the puzzle; No, you ARE - in each of us. Dancing to Reggae in Monterrey in ’98; Driving up to the NEEP retreat in New Hampshire in a blizzard; Cross-country skiing at Bolton on a sub-zero day; Drinking beer last fall at Pike Street Market in Seattle, Watching the ALCS and when the Sox hit that slam, You called Carol - to celebrate. Your smile, strong handshake and hug, Infectious laughter and chuckle, ebullience, Right on, nice, no way, stokin’. Ride on Jeff, we miss you and love you. We’ll carry you in our hearts and in our work.

Stu Slote
Hinesburg, VT USA - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

When I think over the last ten years of my career and my life, Jeff was there at many of the best times. Just two months ago the NBI staff and board all met, many of us for the first time, at Jeff’s new house in White Salmon for dinner, cooked by a chef friend of his. He was at the center of the evening – proud of his house, proud of his staff, and wending his way from conversation to conversation making sure we were all properly introduced and all glasses were full. It was Jeff in his home domain and living large – kind, generous, funny, relaxed, and brilliant. As we stood on his deck watching the sun going down on the Columbia Gorge, I remember thinking: “How lucky I am to be considered a friend by a man such as this.” Today I queued up my e-mail to see the last message I had received from him. It read: “Our industry needs to rally together to keep the momentum built up through LEED, CHPS, MA-CHPS, Advanced Buildings, ENERGY STAR and codes and standards. Buildings also have to perform, and we have to care as much about the process of getting them to work as we do about how many decimals we carry out a U-factor. Finally, we need to spend less time developing a quantity of solutions (see the list above) to get quality solutions — something that the owners and designers can rally behind without having to read the alphabet soup.” Let’s go on to do this – in Jeff’s name. Doug Baston,Secretary, NBI Board of Directors

Doug Baston
Alna, ME USA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I first met Jeff at an ASHRAE conference while working on the lighting chapter of the ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 energy code. He managed to lure me away from my lighting design job in NYC to work at PNNL with the promise of impact at a national level and with his pure, unmitigated enthusiasm. That was the beginning of an era for me and I still can’t fathom that he won’t be able to share the rest of the journey and see the completion of some of the things that we worked on together. Jeff was a tremendous supporter at the beginning of the Light Right Consortium; without him I’m quite sure it would never have gotten off the ground. I was also blessed and honored to call him a dear friend and I will always cherish our friendship. Of all the truly special things about Jeff, I think one of the most unusual was his ability to inspire all who came close to him. For me, it wasn’t just the experience of watching his brilliance (which was really fun, never boring to be sure…)-- it was the magic of dreaming up solutions together, the experience of collaboration that is more than the sum of the parts, and then making it happen! He had the gift of making others feel more creative, more alive, and most certainly more inspired.

Carol Jones
Lexington, MA USA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Jeff was a man of large vision, enormous energy, and true ability. As he carried his vision forth, pushing the envelope again with Advanced Buildings, he was seeking nothing less than to build a national consensus for the definition of a real, verifiable high performance building. And then to teach us all how to design, build, and operate it. I remember after our first Advanced Buildings criteria review meeting in Chicago, we drove up to Milwaukee and were having dinner at his favorite steakhouse. We both ordered steaks, and he as usual ordered another outstanding Cabernet from his old home territory in Northern California. Not even a year had passed since I had been given the privilege of working with Jeff and the Institute to carry forth his vision. We celebrated where we had come in such a short time working with the leaders in the industry to create that consensus. Jeff, I will remember our toast that night, and I think you and your work are going to be remembered long after that.

Jim Edelson
Portland, OR USA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Jeff's warmth and passion for all things in life--whether at work or play--were infectious. I always enjoyed our interactions, even if only a few passing words between sessions at a conference. He obviously loved what he was doing and worked hard, but never seemed too busy to enjoy the moments and the people around him. He was a stand-out--both a prophet and practitioner--in our community who not only saw a better future, but had the ability and drive to achieve it. And while getting to that better future, he inspired those around him to work together. Such a loss!--but what a lot of life packed into his too-short time with us. I know he will continue to inspire and move us forward. Peace to all his family, friends and colleagues.

Dan York
Madison, WI USA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

jeff was one of those people who's enthusiasm was hard to say no to. i'm going to miss the fact that i'll never get another 'hey let's try this' phone call. slán agus beannacht leat.

washington, dc USA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 I've only known Jeff for two years, but he packed so much energy into our professional and personal conversations and encounters that I feel I've known him for decades. He was always on fast forward. He has inspired me to do what may seem impossible at first, but which is possible with support and encouragement from a network of similar minded colleagues (both at work and at play). Jeff treated all people equally--embracing them literally and figuratively. He had more good ideas and vision than there was time to share them. However, in his short time with us, he had a bigger impact than most of us will have in a lifetime. Jeff was adamant about reserving time for "play" as our firms worked together over long days and weekends on product development. I found that my "work till you're done" approach is much less effective without the mental break that some physical exertion and outdoor activity brings. He encouraged us to "be in the moment" for everything we do. Because of Jeff, I took surf lessons a few weeks ago in Hawaii. Surfing is entirely outside of my comfort area, but I knew it was something I had to experience. I was successful! I couldn't wait to show Jeff the pictures, even though the waves were measured in inches rather than feet. Jeff, your loss is great but your friends are inspired to step in and continue your great work and play.

Susan Stratton, Energy Center of Wisconsin
Madison, WI USA - Monday, May 23, 2005

When I had first met Jeff a few yrs ago at a DOE energy codes conference, I was the new kid on the block and feeling a bit out of place. Jeff had searched me out over lunch, sat down next to me and welcomed me with his trademark warm, genuine, disarming smile. It's been years since I last saw Jeff, but I will never forget that first of many acts of kindness, and the inspiration he unknowingly imparted on me. I feel blessed to have known Jeff... he is trully 1 in a 1,000.

Steve Palomo
Arvada, CO USA - Monday, May 23, 2005

A Remembrance of Jeff Johnson – A Dream Maker
by Sue Coakley given at Jeff's Memorial Service – May 20, 2005

Jeff was a cherished colleague and a very dear friend. And his friendship extended to include my family – my husband David, and my sons Brian and Colin – all of whom wished they could be here today. Jeff and I met 13 years ago through a mutual friend and colleague – Doug Baston – on the subject of building energy codes as a path to energy efficiency. We worked together on a range of projects. Much of the time he was “officially” a contractor on projects that I or my organization managed. But he was much more than that. He was a mentor, a collaborator and dreamer.

Before I met Jeff, I had no idea how much depth there was to what seemed like a simple enough topic – designing and building energy efficient buildings. Today I have deep appreciation for the complexity of this idea. Jeff was inspiring. He lived with passion in all that he did – work, play and love. He was generous, kind and patient. And he was really smart – a keen intellect that left me in the dust more than once. And he was creative – living without fear – willing to take on pretty much anything that he dreamed of – and always asking for the help and ideas of others to realize his vision.

For Jeff, there was little boundary between thought and action, work and play, dreaming and reality. There are many stories to tell about Jeff and how he lived his values every day. But it is Jeff – the VISIONARY and DREAM MAKER - that I want to address here. Jeff was drawn to big ideas. It is no coincidence that he built his house up on the ledge so that he had a huge, awesome view of the Columbia River gorge from his living room window. In his work, he likewise had a very broad vision of what could be and how we could get there. He liked a big honking vision that stirred his soul. And he dedicated his many talents and abilities to create a better world – one that would leave beauty and resources for future generations.

Professionally, Jeff dreamed that we could reduce the negative energy impacts of buildings and make them quality indoor environments. His first vision for this was a national model building energy code for commercial buildings that was PROGRESSIVE AND PRACTICAL. In the 1990’s, the national process for evolving the national model energy code through ASHRAE had broken down and was at a stalemate. Jeff – a participant in that process, nonetheless pushed and pushed to make progress. He was eventually dis-invited for his “activist” views.

Jeff was dreaming and scheming about what next when I met him in 1993 and asked the simple question of how we could improve the building energy code for the State of Massachusetts. At the time, he worked with the Building Energy Codes Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. The next thing I knew we were writing a grant to develop a new multi-state building energy code that could be used across the country. I was even more amazed when it was funded. Bringing along 12 states, he set to work to write a new commercial energy code that became the basis for something now known as the International Energy Conservation Code – its first version published in 2000. His vision also included the development of software based tools that would support implementation of that code in the field. In the mid-1990’s, such software tools were a new concept. Beyond that he helped facilitate the development of the International Code Council that today maintains a national model energy code that is PROGRESSIVE and RESPONSIVE to state needs.

The institutional barriers that had to be overcome would have stopped most people in their tracks. But not Jeff. He took it full on and he inspired many of us to work with him to realize this dream. I should note that along the way, this multi-state code work was part of my inspiration to found the first non-profit to work regionally to coordinate and leverage efforts to advance energy efficiency programs and policies. Jeff helped to make this happen by listening to my ideas. He encouraged and advised me, and worked with me and many others, to make this vision of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships a reality. Next year, NEEP will be 10 years old with an impressive list of accomplishments. Jeff is one the people I have to thank for that. And he helped similar regional efforts likewise get started. It’s no surprise that most regional efficiency organizations include a focus on building energy codes and new construction.

Back to Jeff’s dreams. With his national model building energy code dream well underway, he moved on to the next big dream which was to develop a national guideline for commercial building design and construction that would go significantly beyond minimum building energy code requirements and that could be used across the country as the basis for the voluntary programs to promote building energy efficiency. He already had the map in his head. And Jeff know that this could not be accomplished by working at the national lab. Something new had to be created. He kept talking about it and talking about it. So I invited him to come spend a day with me at my office to map out his vision. He took me up on it and we plastered the walls of with flip chart pages about his vision of the White Salmon Institute. He described its purpose, what it would do, the value it would offer, how it would be structured, how it could be funded, who would help him, etc. etc. Soon thereafter, the dream of The White Salmon Institute became the reality of New Buildings Institute.

Through the New Buildings Institute, Jeff set to work to develop the Advanced Building Guidelines. He wrote the plan, he raised the money, he made many people believe that it could be done and led a talented team to develop the suite of products that form the Advanced Building Guidelines – a project that is well along the way to completion. Another dream nearly realized. As Jeff helped others to realize their dreams, many friendships were created and a lot of good was accomplished. He helped my oldest son, Brian, who yearned to spend a winter working at a ski resort the year he completed high school to realize his dream. Cooking dinner at our house one evening, Jeff offered that his daughter Leana who was living in Bend, Oregon working at Mount Bachelor could give him a place to land. And land he did. Leana was his “big sister” that snowy winter and Brian had the time of his life. I’m sure Leana has stories of her own. My son, Colin, had the dream of making it onto the national mountain bike racing team as a top junior racer. Jeff strongly encouraged him and when my husband and I could not join Colin at a critical race at Deer Valley, Utah – Jeff volunteered to be his race support and met him there, ultimately deciding to race, too! That summer Colin went on to win a spot on the national team and went to the world competition. Another dream realized.

I will miss Jeff dearly. It was an honor to be his colleague and friend. But his legacy remains. In leaving, Jeff would want us all to go on and realize our dreams. He’d say “Go for it” and live life fully as if each moment was your last. That’s what Jeff would do.

Sue Coakley
Lexington, MA USA - Monday, May 23, 2005

We're all part of small community and we've truly lost one of our own. Who could ask for a nicer guy as a friend and colleague? Every time I saw Jeff, we'd greet with a hug and then I'd hear the familiar "How's it goin'?!" We shared that common beginning at Sonoma State Univ. where we ushered in a new way of thinking about how to affect change. In school, I recognized early on that Jeff was special when I worked on a wind project paper with him. I was so impressed with Jeff, I nominated him for graduation with distinction. Jeff did everything we talked about, everything we hoped we could do in college. He never lost his enthusiasm and his idealism. I think what I'll miss most is watching a man so skillfully fulfill his vision.
Ross DePaola
Madison, WI United States - Sunday, May 22, 2005

Maybe the best thing that I ever did with Jeff was to get the New Buildings Institute started... it became the means for Jeff to pour his mind, energy and heart into the world, and a legacy that he's left to the rest of us to continue. But our co-conspiracies extend back over twenty years. Whenever we were in the thick of brainstorming some great new idea for making the world a more efficient place, Jeff had a way of bringing me up short with a challenge: Are we being smart enough? Do we have the focus to succeed? Can we make this a better idea? Are we having enough fun? (... and if not, why are we doing this?) When I heard how Jeff died, taking some time to clear his head, move his body, ride his bike hard and fast, it felt like one last challenge he left for all of us: Do we have our priorities straight? Are we taking time to do the important stuff? Thanks for the challenges, Jeff. Dammit, you didn't have to go quite so far to give us this last one, but you got us thinking yet again. Be at peace... we'll keep moving ahead without you.

Doug Mahone
Fair Oaks, CA USA - Sunday, May 22, 2005

I first met Jeff when he worked at PNNL and helped us here in Massachussetts to transition to a modern energy code. His presentations were captivating and inspirational. I later had the privilege of working with him on the Advanced Buildings guideline project and discovered his gentle human side. His recent unsolicited public support at the IECC was received with humble gratitude. It is hard to deal with the loss of a man who had such a passion for improving the way man lives on earth, a truly global outlook. I mourn him as I'm sure any who knew Jeff do. God bless his soul and grant his family solace in this difficult time.

Wagdy Anis
Boston, MA USA - Sunday, May 22, 2005

My first experience with Jeff was in 1996, when he was a track leader for a new construction conference in Vancouver and I was young and new and intimidated by the energy community. He was so NICE that I survived presenting my paper. I've now had the honor of working with him as a partner on the Advanced Buildings project. He has led this work as a transformational leader - inspiring and energizing us all while living through gratitude and humility. He has been as willing to be a student as a teacher, demonstrating respect and compassion for his colleagues and for the architects and engineers in our classes. After attending the celebration of his life in White Salmon, I am profoundly moved by the difference he made - whether in friendship to his next door neighbor, or in some sweeping code initiative that will improve the way buildings perform for people forever. Each of us had our own experiences with him - he was the guy who gave me the most awesome corkscrew for my birthday - and at the same time he was a great man. I am heartbroken and my sense of loss is overwhelming.

Marge Anderson
Madison, WI USA - Saturday, May 21, 2005

Jeff, It was great working with you. We've still got two proposals out there with you, one won, one undecided. I'm truly going to miss the opportunity to work with you on these, but I can hear your voice really clearly, trying to give us ideas. And you're ideas are still coming faster than I can think or write. I think I'm getting every fifth word, every other sentence. I'm nodding my head, but you'll have to repeat this all tomorrow. kevin

Kevin Grabner
Madison, WI USA - Friday, May 20, 2005

Jeff, As tears shed down my cheeks, I try to compose myself to write a thank you. Earlier in our lives we had followed similiar pathways that brought us together. We both went to Mammoth to enjoy the mountains, but after awhile we both decided to go back to school to make a difference. You preceeding me by a couple of years had already established an energy consulting business. I still remember the day you offered me my first "real" job, for it was a "priviledge" to have you as a mentor & as a friend. Thanks for all the memorable moments (working & playing together), for I'll always remember you. Chris

Chris Ferre'
Truckee, CA USA - Friday, May 20, 2005

I hope that Leana and Nick will be comforted to know that their Dad made a difference and lived life to the fullest. I worked and windsurfed with Jeff. Jeff's family and I travelled to Baja and Oregon to find the biggest wind - Jeff was first out on the water and last in when it came to sailing. And always on the edge...we were almost arrested once because he "knew a faster way" to get across the border from Baja to California. I'm so sad to hear of his passing.

Sue de Witt
Sacramento, CA USA - Friday, May 20, 2005

I was fortunate to know Jeff since he came into my life to head up the Building Energy Codes Program at PNNL for me. He was a great person to work with and to know personally. Jeff had the great capability of framing the big picture, setting meaningful goals, strategizing ways to accomplish them, and then getting the work done, all with great enthusiasm, gusto, flair, and fun. He had a great grasp of building technologies and of building related institutions, and how they worked. He seemed to delight in devising ways they could be used and changed to improve our lives. Jeff was also a people person and a talented communicator. He was good at resolving conflicts and creating win-win situations. Jeff was a compelling and interesting speaker, graphically talented and he wrote well, all of which he used to great advantage in advocating for energy efficiency and the environment. Jeff made a difference in this world for all of us, and we are all poorer for his passing. Bon voyage, Jeff!

Jean Boulin
Washington, DC USA - Friday, May 20, 2005

It's difficult for me to think that Jeff is not with us anymore. He's one of those persons that I've always counted as special and blessed and I'll hold those thoughts and feelings as I continue through my life. On a professional level he held us all to a higher level of accountability, not through directives, but through his own personal actions. He set a standard for us to follow. Thank you Jeff.

Ken Baker
83714, USA USA - Friday, May 20, 2005

Jeff was an extrodinary individual for whom I had the highest respect, both personnally and professionally. On a professional level he was really smart. He understood buidling technology from daylighting to HVAC. He could write. And, he was a clever strategist who could broker deals and resolve conflicts. On a personal level he was fun. He did not take himself too seriously and seemed to always be in a good mood. He was passionate about the environment and life and a real champion for energy efficiency. The world will miss him. May peace be with you, Jeff. I hope there are big waves and high winds were you are, as well as a bountiful supply of 15 year old Laphroaig.

Charles Eley
San Francisco, CA USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

Over the 20 years that I have known Jeff, I have had the pleasure of working hard and playing hard with him. He approached both with enthusiasm and a smile that put a smile on my face as I remember him. I raise a Corona to him as I say, thanks for the friendship Jeff.

Cathy Chappell
Penryn, CA USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

Jeff was a very effective advocate for energy-efficient and sustainable buildings, in large part because he was very personable and had a great sense of humor. I had the priviledge of working with Jeff on two workshops we gave in Mexico on building energy efficiency and energy standards in 1996 and 1997. He had just moved to the Northwest and told me how much he enjoyed wind-surfing on the Columbia. He mentioned someone in his office at PNL who had accrued too much vacation time, and remarked incredulously, "I mean, how could you ever get into that situation ???"

Joe Huang
Berkeley, CA USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

All of us at GeoPraxis are shocked and profoundly saddened to hear of Jeff's tragic accident and to realize that our entire community must now suffer the untimely loss of one of our most accomplished and inspirational leaders. I personally will never forget a speech Jeff gave circa 1996 (Vancouver?) that rose well above the usual technical minutiae of our meeting to challenge all of us to take the chances and really live up to the task of becoming the heroes the planet so desperately needs us to be. Coming from almost anyone else this could easily have come across sounding preachy and self-important, but with Jeff's characteristic cool logic and charismatic surferdude charm it was simply a matter of fact... and the room thanked him for being so bold as to stand up and say it. Needless to say, his words and the example he set remain an inspiration to us all to this day. We will all sorely miss him... and maybe if we're righteous and lucky enough, we too will get to go in the woods doing something we love. Surf's up Jeff, peace be with you

Tom Conlon
Petaluma, CA USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

Such enthusiasm for every activity in which he was involved and always with a smile that could light up the room. How much we will miss you Jeff.

Rita Harrold
New York, NY USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

I was so sad to hear what happened to Jeff; he was such a great help to us here in Chicago with respect to our energy code, in addition to the excellent work he did around the country. Not only that, I really enjoyed being with him, talking to him, learning from him, . . What a huge loss.

Helen J. Kessler
Chicago, IL USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

From his days as a founding member of CABEC, to his leadership as Executive Director of NBI, Jeff remained true to his beliefs and his conviction to make an impact in the energy efficiency world. He seemed to follow a philosophy that worked well for him -- “no holds barred”. I'll miss his charisma but his contributions leave a legacy that will continue to grow.

Lynn Benningfield
Folsom, CA USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005

Jeff was one of those smart guys that it was a pleasure to work with. I'm sorry that I -- and many other energy experts -- will no longer have that opportunity. RIP

Curt Nichols
Boise, ID USA - Thursday, May 19, 2005