Hockey player turned green activist shows us how he reduces his carbon footprint.
- December 1, 2015
- by Yessenia Funes
(Do North/Alex Ayala)
Long before Mike Richter’s days playing on the ice for the NHL Rangers, he was a regular kid who happened to graduate from Northwood High School in Lake Placid. Now retired from his Hall of Fame days, Richter devotes his time to something a little less icy and a little more earthy: the environment.
In 2011, he launched Healthy Planet Partners, a company that funds the retrofitting of commercial buildings with clean energy technologies. With humanity’s seemingly unlimited demand for limited resources, Richter found energy efficiency the best area to explore.
“Energy is such a big part of our life and in particular how commercial buildings use their energy,” he says. “When you think about global warming, when you think about particulate matter in the air, water use, the building sector uses a massive amount of energy.”
His company has gone on to install the Northeast’s “largest garage-mounted solar canopy” in Boston and more solar panels in Arizona where the Seattle Mariners train in the spring.
Richter’s exposure to the Adirondack High Peaks contributed to his love for nature. While people tend to think of New York City when they think of New York, they fail to realize how vast and gorgeous upstate New York is, he says. It’s no surprise then that he’s on the board for the Adirondack Nature Conservancy within the Adirondack Land Trust. For Richter, saving the planet is more than just preserving its beauty and wildlife: It’s about us, the people who live in it. “Most people think that it’s about the trees and the birds and the fish,” Richter says, “but it’s about the humans, about our health, our quality of life.”
So when Richter isn’t out convincing sport stadiums to make the air cleaner by installing his company’s solar panels, he might be right around the corner from any one of his favorite spots. The question is will you catch him in time for an autograph?
Issue 6: Winter/Spring 2016
Richter’s Favorite North Country Hangout
Adirondack Museum Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY: This museum is seasonal, so it’s more of a springtime hit, but it does
offer some winter events. It provides a cultural lens into the area. As its website says, “The Adirondack Museum expands
public understanding of Adirondack history and the relationship between people and the Adirondack wilderness, fostering
informed choices for the future.” This, along with the Wild Center, offers a well-rounded view into New York’s wild side.
The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, NY: This outdoor store filled with great products and great people is tucked
right next to some high peaks. It makes for one of Richter’s favorite spots. “It gets you in the spirit of being outdoors,”
Richter recalls. The store has been around since 1975 and sells equipment for ice climbers, fishers and adventurers
overall. It even offers maps and books – items needed for the unfamiliar Adirondack explorer.
The Wild Center
Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY: This organization gives a scientific view into the Adirondacks. It’s built on the idea
that man and nature must thrive together, something that the organization believes makes this region unique.
Richter enjoys that the Center focuses on the natural history of the area — rather than the cultural focus of the
Route 9 along Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh: Richter loves this spot for its biking. The path starts downtown and
leads you to the Plattsburgh City Beach though some of it aren't marked. “It’s the views,” he says. “It’s quiet. It’s beautiful.”
The farms and green mountains across the lake heighten the experience for this famed hockey star. “I just think the sunlight
across Lake Champlain is just ridiculous.”