SPIRE Young Alumni Profile

Growing up in Berkeley, California Brenden Millstein likely did not think that one day he would be running a company that’s not only putting money in corporations pockets, but is also working towards reducing greenhouse gases in the US.

As a youth Mr. Millstein always had an interest in helping others including participating in after school tutoring in his community, but it was during his senior year in high school that Mr. Millstein realized he wanted to do more for his community and wanting to have a long term impact. He excelled in math and science and decided to take a nuclear engineering class atBerkeleyUniversitywhile he was still in high school. It was in this class that he really discovered his passion for energy efficiency and environmental impact.

After obtaining a B.A. in Physics at Harvard University, Mr. Millistein received his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, while concurrently working towards his M.S. at Stanford. At Stanford he focused on engineering courses such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mr. Millstein appreciated the inner workings of a building and gained an appreciation of how the real estate industry would be vital to his career. It was at Stanford that he cultivated the early plans of his current company.  

Now as the CEO of Carbon Lighthouse, his business focuses on making it uncomplicated and profitable for organizations to become carbon neutral. Carbon Lighthouse has helped 90 buildings throughout California and Oregon become carbon neutral gaining recognition for their achievements in reducing their carbon footprint. Something that Mr. Millstein believes sets his company apart from similar competitors is the amount of data they collect. His company accumulates about twice the amount of data than the average company by digging deep into the inner workings of the building and producing a detailed and unique analysis of the facilities.

Carbon Lighthouse uses a unique suite of engineering and financial tools to find profitable and carbon neutral projects across a range of facility types. They combine energy efficiency, retro commissioning, solar, and a multitude of other technologies and policy implements into one turnkey solution for clients. Carbon Lighthouse implements projects in a two-step process. First, they perform data Collection and analysis, in which an engineer collects and analyzes the data. This allows them to quantify the costs and savings of a potential project. The next step is implementation. This is where they get competitive bids from contractors, apply for utility incentives, commission the project to make sure savings are exactly as expected, and then begin measurement and verification to make sure the savings continue to be accurate.

Mr. Millstein attributes a lot of his success to the Stanford real estate community. He adds, “I was able to gain advice from actual real estate owners on what matters to them.” He gained the insight that not only was profitability important, but time management and the ease to which the project was completed were critical factors for building owners.

When discussing future goals, Mr. Millstein says, “I would like to help with climate change mitigation by decreasing theU.S.dependency on foreign fuel.” He hopes to one day have all industrial buildings in theUSbe 100% carbon neutral. Although this is a big challenge, he knows that with the great support of the Stanford community that he can work towards any goal. 

To see Mr. Millstein speak about Carbon Lighthouse and to hear what other recent Stanford graduates are doing in the real estate industry, please view the 2012 Hall of Fame Honors Banquet Video here.