Blog : Green Collar Careers: Eco Sound Builders Co-Owner, Peter Robie

By Ken | May 4, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

When Peter Robie first met Ethan Korpi back in 2004, their shared vision to build structures utilizing sustainable and efficient methods made them bond instantly. Both Robie and Korpi shared a background of being highly trained in building and carpentry. They created a southern division of Eco Sound Builders on the seacoast in 2008, an offshoot of the original business founded by Korpi and his father, Roger, in the Lakes and White Mountain region of New Hampshire.

The goal of Eco Sound Builders' two divisions is to build quality homes and buildings that are durable and sustainable throughout New Hampshire. Wood used for each project is sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified forests, super-efficient insulation is used, and the subcontractors Robie works with specialize in using non-toxic paints and source their materials locally whenever possible. Working with sustainable technology, and building materials, is something Robie has specialized in since earning degrees in Civil Technology and Environmental Conservation.

Not limited to new buildings, Eco Sound Builders will renovate existing buildings to bring them up to Eco Sound’s high standards of performance. Recently, they renovated an older building in Portsmouth's historic South End district, keeping within the city's tight regulations for work on historic properties while making the home green and much more energy efficient. When it comes to renovating an older, historical property, Eco Sound will perform an energy audit, add a thermal 'envelope' wrapping, and other green and sustainable aspects.

Robie does more than just run a green and sustainable building company, he takes Eco Sounds' principles home with him. Literally. Recently, Robie built a new energy efficient, high performance home for his family in North Hampton, incorporating sustainable elements such as insulated concrete forms, energy efficient windows, a high level of insulation, a solar hot water system, a super-efficient boiler and a heat recovery ventilator to provide fresh air into this super-tight home.

Ken Johnson (KJ): What do you like most about your job?
Peter Robie (PR): My job is very fulfilling. I help people realize that the normal expenses of running, heating and operating a home don’t have to be as high as they perceive them to be. It's not the usual cost of doing business, as I always say. You can build a very attractive, comfortable, durable energy-efficient home, and have all your utility bills be lower than they normally are.

KJ: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
PR: I went to the University of New Hampshire and the University of Colorado. From UNH, I have an associate’s degree in Civil Technology and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Conservation with a minor in Business. In the environmental conservation program, I learned about ways we can build efficiently and sustainably in order to save energy and do less harm to the Earth. There's no such thing as a wasted education: A college education helps you think and solve problems. Problem solving is the skill set that best prepared me for my current work.

KJ: What do you look for in an employee in the field?
PR: Someone who is very self-motivated. Someone who is excited about what he or she is doing. Someone who can take direction well, and likes being part of a team.

KJ: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
PR: It has always been a passion of mine. I grew up renovating buildings with my father. As I grew older, and as environmental impact became more of an issue in everyday life, it just seemed to me to be the right way to do things; to build and renovate buildings in a sustainable way.

KJ: What are you most proud of in your business as it relates to sustainability?
PR: The way the homes that we build perform. We build high-performance, custom homes and they perform very well -- they are very efficient. And they do what we say they are going to do. The occupants are comfortable in their homes and they are happy with their reduced utility bills. We do a very good job building homes. We strive for building a very durable home that will withstand the beating it will take from the New England weather and is going to stick around for 100 years. It's not something that is going to end up rotting away after 20 years. What we put into our homes makes them last for a very, very long time.

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