Bill Atkinson Interviews Cynthia Adams, CEO and Co-Founder and Robin LeBaron, President and Co-Founder of Pearl Certification

Cynthia Adams is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pearl Certification. She has consistently focused on growing the cleantech industry. Through her leadership, Pearl is working to shift the U.S. housing market to properly recognize and value of “high-performing” homes through documentation that attributes home energy investments made to increased home value.

Pearl drives demand for energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies by helping homeowners recoup the value of these investments at the time of sale or refinance through documentation recognized by organizations such as the National Association of REALTORS®, the Appraisal Institute, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Pearl Certification seeks to engage all market actors in the home value cycle, including homeowners, contractors, real estate agents, appraisers, manufacturers, utilities, and builders.

In 2017, Cynthia accepted her invitation to serve on the National Association of Realtors Sustainability Advisory Group. She is also past chair and founder of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council, and currently serves on its Governance Board. In 2014 she was elected to the Efficiency First National Board and served two years in that capacity. Cynthia was appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Energy Council in May 2014, and in May 2015, she was appointed to the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. Representing entrepreneur members, Cynthia has also served on the Governance Board for Potential Energy DC, a technology accelerator for energy industry startups located in the metro D.C. area.

Robin LeBaron is the President and Co-Founder of Pearl Certification. He has made a career working to bring about transformation in the housing field, with experience in multifamily affordable housing, manufactured housing, and residential energy efficiency. His passion is changing buildings in ways that transform lives.

His leadership has been instrumental in driving Pearl’s mission to empower homeowners to increase the efficiency, health, comfort, and resilience of their homes while simultaneously partnering with businesses and public entities to build a market that rewards energy efficiency. Pearl believes this holistic approach will increase the supply and demand for sustainable, energy-efficient housing nationwide.

Robin hopes to certify a million North American homes by 2029.

Before Pearl, Robin spent 15 years renovating New York City properties and saw first-hand how the transition from a badly maintained building to a properly upgraded one can change a family’s life.

Robin has led and contributed to many transformational projects in the energy efficiency and affordable housing fields, including co-founding the National Home Performance Council (the predecessor organization of the Home Performance Coalition), the leading policy and stakeholder organization in the residential energy efficiency field.

Connect with Cynthia and Robin LinkedIn

Bill Atkinson launched Atkinson Strategic Communications in January 2020 after 15 years in the public relations business and 21 years as a newspaper reporter. Clients include, Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the country, the American Beverage Association, Howard Bank, Ambu, a Danish medical device maker with its U.S. headquarters in Columbia, Md., and Think Systems, a Baltimore-based management consulting firm.

Prior to starting his own firm, Atkinson was a partner in 212 Communications, which he joined in June 2015, and focused on strategic and crisis communications, media relations and grassroots strategies. Before that he was a senior vice president at global public relations agency Weber Shandwick. At Weber’s Baltimore office Atkinson specialized in strategic and crisis communications as well as reputation management. Clients included Constellation Energy, Honeywell, General Motors, Bank of America, Promontory Financial Group and 1st Mariner Bank.

Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

Interview Questions:

Cynthia: What is Pearl’s mission?

Robin: Why and when was it started?

Cynthia: How has it been funded and who are some of its investors?

Robin: How did Cynthia/Robin meet and develop the certification concept?

Robin: How does certification work?

Cynthia: Why is it something people are buying into?

Robin: What is the potential for growth with the company? How does the Inflation Reduction Act help?

Cynthia: Talk about the Green Door app and how it helps homeowners.

Cynthia: How many people have registered to use the app?

Robin: Pearl just launched the Inflation Reduction Act Rebates Calculator. What does it do?

Cynthia: How fast has Pearl been growing based on total homes certified and total app users?

Robin: What will Pearl look like in the next five years?

Pearl Certification is a national firm that qualifies an elite network of professionals and certifies high-performing homes: homes with heating and cooling, solar, smart home devices, resilient features, and much more. Pearl’s Certification Reports drive demand for these features by making them visible at time of sale. They enable home sellers to capture the value of their investments and buyers to find the homes they want.

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