Gunnar Hubbard was in New Jersey recently, meeting with a potential client that operates a retail chain along the East Coast. The company is considering a net-zero building, a high-efficiency structure that uses renewable energy to produce more power over a year than it consumes.

“It’s exciting,” said Hubbard, founder of Fore Solutions in Portland. “That’s where we want to be headed.”

It’s also something at which Hubbard is very good — using his personal energy and strong credentials to win innovative contracts for his green-energy consulting firm.

Hubbard, who is 46, has been adding to those credentials since he moved his family to Portland in 2002, to set up an office for a London-based firm that soon eliminated his job. Prior to that, he was a research scholar on green development at the Rocky Mountain Institute, director of the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont and co-founder of a green-building architecture firm in San Francisco.

Hubbard also was a pioneer with the U.S. Green Building Council, which created the energy and environmental rating system known as LEED. He since has gone through the council’s LEED faculty training, and teaches workshops around the world.

Hubbard got a break in 2005, when his firm won LEED-consulting contracts with architecture firms building the giant, City Center complex in Las Vegas.

“It meant I could hire more staff and it meant four years of work,” he said.

The job also introduced Hubbard to more companies that work globally, and led to important relationships. The current consulting job on the Museum of the Built Environment in Saudi Arabia grew from a contact at FX Fowle, the New York City architecture firm.

Hubbard has benefited from expanding his knowledge during a period when major companies were embracing LEED standards for new construction, according to Dunuta Drozdowicz, who worked at Fore Solutions from 2003 to 2008.

“He developed his expertise along with the industry,” said Drozdowicz, who now runs her own consulting firm in Portland, Context Green. “And he puts a lot of energy into marketing. He’s good at that.”

As LEED standards become almost standard practice for corporate expansions, Fore Solutions is looking ahead. Net zero is a goal for some companies. Others are starting to take a more expansive view, such as the Living Building Challenge promoted by the International Living Future Institute. It requires verification of rigorous performance standards in seven areas, including energy, water and health.

To fully participate in this future, Hubbard said it’s possible Fore Solutions could open another office, perhaps overseas. The company will continue to have a base in Maine, he said, although he deflected questions about whether merging with another company is an option, at some point.

“We love who we are and we love our identify,” he said. “My goal is to make a difference and to make a change in the built environment.”

Staff writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or

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