For Sadot Castañeda, Groundwork Denver’s Energy Programs Director, promoting sustainability in Denver isn’t just a job—it’s a way of life.

Sadot joined Groundwork Denver as a Green Team member in 2010 through a high school internship. He biked many miles around the city with the Green Team, tending to community gardens, and learning how to farm and harvest food. 

Sadot says that his years of experience on the Green Team helped him grow into his current role in many ways. Biking around the city, he says, encouraged him to become more active and build his stamina. After biking 10 miles one day in the summer heat, Sadot recalls that he became sick.

“At the time, 10 miles was a lot,” Sadot says with a laugh. “I was so exhausted. Over the years I got used to biking around to the different gardens, up to 30-mile bike rides. I grew into the position and was more comfortable with an active lifestyle.”

In 2015, Sadot began managing school farms as a Green Team leader, overseeing the production of 10,000 pounds of food from each school farm.

“As Green Team leader, it was an awesome experience to pass on a relationship with gardening to youth,” said Sadot. “I could see how much they were learning.”

Energy Program Director, Sadot Castañeda (far left), with other previous Green Team Supervisors in 2015.

Continuing his professional journey with Groundwork Denver, Sadot became an Energy Auditor. This role allowed him to continue building relationships with families who have deep roots in Denver while making sure homes are safe, comfortable, and affordable. This year, Sadot stepped into the Energy Programs Director role with Groundwork Denver and began working to expand the program’s reach in the community, one house at a time.

“We treat every home the same, whether they were built two years ago or 100 years ago,” explains Sadot. “As energy auditors, we inspect every aspect of the home: carbon dioxide levels, ventilation, lightbulbs, showerheads, carbon and smoke alarms, air sealing, furnaces, water heaters, and more.”

If Sadot and his team of auditors find energy inefficiencies in an inspection, they help residents learn how they can improve the sustainability of their homes. Sometimes, Groundwork Denver will even replace broken or inefficient equipment such as water heaters. Sadot says the best part of the job is helping residents stay in their homes by saving money. 

“Recently, we audited a home with an elderly woman who was deaf,” recalls Sadot. “She reminded me of my grandma. It was a special experience for me. Their water heater was going out, to the point where it was a safety issue. I’m glad that we will be able to replace it for them and make sure there are no safety concerns for their home. I know that my own grandma wouldn’t have caught that issue, and wouldn’t have the funds to replace it.”

The way Groundwork Denver is embedded in the community, Sadot says, is what makes the organization so special, and what has fueled his passion for the mission for over 10 years. 

“I love what Groundwork Denver stands for,” Sadot says. “We care for people in our community and within our organization. This is what I hope to teach my children: how to be a solution in today’s world.”