She recently returned from Paris, the “first real vacation” she and her husband have taken without their son. She’s also resumed taking piano lessons, willfully making time now instead of waiting until retirement, when “I won’t have the memory any more.”

She has resumed taking piano lessons, willfully making time now instead of waiting until retirement.

Also important to Azerbegi is her mother-son time. Once a week, no matter the demands of the office, she picks her son up from school, and they also take weekly taekwondo classes together.

Azerbegi says she believes that �people think I�m too serious because I have a million meetings a day, but business management and project management I learned on the fly, and so I don�t know how successful I�ve been at them. But then I look around at what I�ve built and think I must be doing OK.�

SIDEBAR: Historic and Green

From the street, Ambient Energy headquarters blends in with its Victorian neighbors: colorful, with playful trim and detailing, and surrounded by a bit of yard. Inside, it is clearly meant for business: functional, sophisticated, and spotted with labels that point out the many sustainable features that contributed to its LEED-CI Gold rating.

Choosing to locate their headquarters in an existing building was a no-brainer. �Reusing an existing historic building is the most sustainable thing we can do,� says Azerbegi. USGBC Colorado�s Deb Kleinman agrees. Citing statistics that over 90% of the buildings that will exist in the year 2020 are already built today, and that existing buildings outnumber new buildings by a ratio of more than 100 to 1, she says, �You have to work with existing buildings; there�s no way around it if you want to have the most impact.�

In fact, when USGBC Colorado looked for new headquarters this past year, reusing an existing building was a major factor for them, too. They chose a suite in a historic building in Denver�s LoDo district and are currently in the process of pursuing a LEED ID+C Platinum rating.

Azerbegi says Ambient Energy�s Victorian was a perfect fit. �None of the walls needed to be torn down. We just upgraded lighting, HVAC and finishes.�

Plus, the building�s convenient location, within easy reach of downtown by bicycle or bus, and within walking distance of several clients, allowed them to implement a shared bicycle program as part of alternative-transportation incentives.

Ambient Energy office green design highlights:

    � Instantaneous, tankless water heater
    � Direct evaporative cooling
    � A condensing, high-efficiency furnace that achieves 94% efficiency by capturing heat from the exhaust
    � Plumbing fixtures that provide a 40% reduction in potable water usage
    � Lighting power density 48% below standard
    � 60% of construction waste diverted from landfill
    � 23% of materials used have recycled content
    � More than 16% of furniture is cradle-to-cradle certified