Energy Savers Network flourishes because of our team of staff, volunteers, donors, and community partners. The support that we have received from our community has been inspirational, and our team continues to grow. We are so thankful to the many people who have helped to make Energy Savers Network a reality.
Brad Rouse, Co-Founder
Brad co-founded Energy Savers Network after years of experience in energy efficiency and energy planning. As Senior VP of Energy Management Associates in the 80s and 90s, he led the development and application of tools that help utility companies create long-term, least-cost plans that included energy efficiency options. He has worked with over 100 utilities on these issues, including Duke Energy, Virginia Power, Georgia Power, Florida Power & Light, and others.
After a period of building a successful financial planning practice, Brad became extremely concerned that we were not doing enough to meet the climate challenge, and in 2012, sold his financial practice to focus 100% on climate solutions. Brad became active in low-income energy efficiency through the Green Team at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Hayesville, NC , helping over 100 low-income d winning the 2015 Interfaith Power & Light Cool Congregations Award. This work with helped shape Energy Savers Network which he co-founded as an extension and expansion on his work in Hayesville.
In addition to working with Energy Savers Network, Brad is a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby, and works actively with Asheville’s new Energy Innovation Task Force.
Brad holds a BA in Economics from Yale and received his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill. He and his wife Karen have been married for 43 years and have two sons and one grandchild. He is an avid fan of Bruce Springsteen and a loves to go to the beach.
Alice Wyndham, Co-Founder
Before co-founding Energy Savers Network, Alice came from a career in public health where she worked as a nurse-midwife. For many years she worked in women’s health at a rural health clinic in Bamberg, SC, and at the nation’s oldest migrant health center, Blue Ridge Community Health Services, in Hendersonville, NC. Alice has dedicated her life to working with people of low-income, and her passion for public health extends to the health of our environment.
Her own sense of urgency about climate change and understand of how it affects our most vulnerable communities brought her to working in the environmental field. After meeting Brad in 2015, Alice worked to lay the groundwork for what ultimately became Energy Savers Network. Her commitment to constantly growing the network of volunteers and her dedication to environmental justice have been instrumental to the success of Energy Savers Network.
As co-founder and Development Director, Alice has never met a challenge that she could not face, and her work ethic helps to support the many people who look to her as a leader and mentor. Working with people of low income to improve their homes, lower their energy bills, and improve the health and safety of their homes have joined together her passions for helping the environment and helping people.
Alice enjoys yearly visits to the Netherlands with her husband Wilant. When at home, she spends time working in her garden and is also an active member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Sam Ruark-Estes, Executive Director, Green Bult Alliance
Sam Ruark-Eastes has been working in the field of sustainability for local governments, nonprofits, and small businesses since 1998. Sam’s first foray into the nonprofit world was working with the Harmony Project and the Sustainability Institute in Charleston, SC. There, he ran a building materials reuse center for affordable housing and a green building trade show. In 2000, he heard the call to “go west young man” and moved to the Bay area without a job or place to live. Within a year, he had a job working as a Sustainability Planner for Marin County, CA, where he developed and implemented their green building program, helped write the Energy and Green Building Element to the County’s master plan, and initiated two sustainability policies that dramatically reduce energy use and construction waste. In 2005, he returned to North Carolina and served as Educational Programming Director for Seven-Star Events where he worked with a team to organize and manage the Green Festivals and GreenCities. When the economy dove into a recession, he returned to California to work as an Energy and Sustainability Coordinator for Sonoma County, CA, where he managed a commercial and municipal energy efficiency program in partnership with the utility. He also developed renewable energy projects including a 700 kW PV system, managed the post-installation commissioning of a 1.4 MW hydrogen fuel cell and developed a clean commute program for county employees.
n 2014, he returned to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. After brief stints with Ashevillage, Organic Growers School and Accelerating Appalachia, Sam landed his North Carolina dream job in November 2015 as the executive director of Green Built Alliance. He has served on the Boards of Directors for three successful nonprofits and is excited to bring those experiences to this organization.
Sam has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Communications from the College of Charleston, is a LEED AP, NARI Certified Green Building professional and Certified Permaculture designer. He and his wife Lena tend a 1.5-acre homestead in Candler, NC, where they strive to incorporate the principles of sustainability and stewardship into daily life.
Hannah Egan, Outreach & Resource Coordinator
Hannah joined Green Built Alliance in early 2018 as an intern and transitioned to work on staff later that year. She has since been learning about the nonprofit sector, green building, and energy efficiency. Hannah graduated from Appalachian State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Development concentrated in Community, Regional, and Global Development.
Originally from just outside Baltimore, Hannah moved after college to New Zealand and then back home to Maryland before returning to the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is excited to lend her skills and education to an organization that is dedicated to creating a better built environment for the entire community.
When Hannah is not connecting with people in the community through Green Built Alliance, the Blue Horizons Project, or Energy Savers Network, she enjoys yoga, outdoor activities, supporting community agriculture, traveling, live music, cooking, and enjoying life with her cat Peaches.
Steffi Rausch, Operations Coordinator
Steffi Rausch joined the Energy Savers Network staff in 2021. She brings 23 years of experience as a self-employed web designer and seven years of climate advocacy volunteer work as a chapter leader for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). While she still advocates for a bipartisan federal climate policy with CCL in her spare time as a volunteer, she is excited to transition her full-time work to serving her local community in ways that help sustain a livable planet by reducing our carbon emissions. She finds the two opportunities with her career and volunteer work, to serve and protect the most vulnerable of society while protecting the planet, to be extremely rewarding and a way to grow her compassion towards others.
In her spare time, she loves to experience different cultures by traveling the world, taking beautiful hikes to the mountaintops, playing in the garden, remodeling her home, and building wood furniture by her creek. Steffi is very happy to live in Asheville, where she doesn’t have to deal with extreme fire and drought events like what she experienced in Montana where she lived for four years prior to moving here. She hails from Columbia, Maryland originally.
Kelvin Bonilla, Project Manager
Kelvin Bonilla, a native of Honduras, brings more than a decade of experience in the building-performance industry to the Energy Savers Network team.
He started his career with Green Opportunities, gaining vast experience in the field as a crew leader, mentor, and instructor in the classroom. He went on to work with Conservation Pros, a small locally owned building performance company. Kelvin has multiple professional certifications including BPI, HERS, Lead Safe Renovator, Class III Asbestos Worker, CPR instructor, and OSHA-30.
In his work with the Energy Savers Network, Kelvin wants to continue his passion working to reduce the energy consumption of homes in marginalized communities, which are often the most affected by climate change. He is truly passionate about building performance and applying triple-bottom-line principles to help affect positive change for the people in our local community who need it the most.
When he’s not trying to peek in the attic at a friend’s cookout, Kelvin enjoys giving back to the community and serves as the Board Co-Chair for ALAS (Asheville Latin Americans Achieving Success), a local Latinx nonprofit that strives to create Latinx leadership in Western North Carolina. He also loves exploring the outdoors with his daughters Sofia and Elizabeth, by hiking, camping, or jumping into freezing mountain water.
Mikal Bonilla, Crew Leader
Originally a volunteer for Energy Savers Network, Mikal joined Green Built Alliance's staff in the spring of 2022. A native of beautiful North Carolina, Mikal has had a deep love and appreciation for Mother Earth instilled in her since childhood. This, coupled with Mikal's compassion and lifelong desire to help others, made a career with Green Built Alliance of particular interest for her.
Born in the Piedmont Triad with roots in Eastern North Carolina, Mikal has called these mountains home since 2016. Offering a varied set of skills and experience, some of her most proud accomplishments include her time working with FEMA after the tragic hurricanes Irma and Maria; her time spent exploring the "strange and unknown" for FATE magazine; and most recently, dedicating many weeks to the county-wide efforts to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Western North Carolina with the Buncombe County Health Department in 2021.
When Mikal isn't working with power tools out in the community, she can sometimes be found working with power tools at home! She enjoys refurbishing old furniture, crafting, being outdoors and spending quality time with her wonderful family.
Catherine Rosfjord, Fundraising Volunteer
Catherine Rosfjord volunteers as Energy Saver’s Network finance director and assists with writing grants and obtaining funding. Catherine works for the NC Department of Health and Human Services where she manages an EPA grant for Radon and UV Radiation programs. Catherine also has two children but in her free time, she is committed to helping ESN fight climate change which she views as the most critical issue facing the planet. She is particularly drawn to ESN because of the interface with local housing issues, poverty and global climate change. She appreciates the immediate and tangible ways ESN helps people in our community while also doing the important, but more obscure, work of reducing global carbon levels.