Denis Hayes is CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental philanthropy located in Seattle. While there, he developed the Bullitt Center, the world’s greenest office building—the only true 6-story, net energy positive commercial building in the world. The Center was judged by World Architecture News to be “the Most Sustainable Building in the World” and by Engineering News-Record to be the outstanding engineering project of any type in the United States in 2013. During the Carter Administration, Denis headed the federal Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory). After the election of President Reagan, Hayes became an adjunct professor of energy engineering at Stanford University. During this period, he also practiced law with the Cooley firm in Silicon Valley.
At various times during his career, Denis served as Director of the Illinois State Energy Office, Senior Fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, and Visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Bellagio Center, and the Bosch Foundation. In 1970, Denis was the national coordinator of the first Earth Day. He currently is global chair of the 50th anniversary Earth Day in 2020.
In 1979, Denis received the national Jefferson Medal for Greatest Public Service by an American under 35. In 1985, the Sierra Club presented Hayes its highest honor, the John Muir Award. Hayes has also received the highest honors awarded by the American Solar Energy Society, National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Council of America, the Humane Society of the United States, the Commonwealth Club, and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. Time magazine selected Hayes as one of its “Heroes of the Planet.”