EDF Climate Corps Blog

Google Maps does not understand Boston. During my first drive to the Boston Marine Industrial Park, the app took me in a complete loop from Somerville down to Fenway and back. There is no substitute in this town for knowing the streets and walking them yourself. Likewise, to move an energy project along, you have to get out from your desk and start shaking hands to make real progress.

Upon entering my fellowship, I knew my work at CA Technologies in Islandia, NY would involve machinery in some way. From mainframe servers to laptop computers, I was immersed in an eclectic array of hardware and software that fuel CA’s business approach. But, what I did not know then was how I would interact with technology to help CA reduce its energy consumption.

As Lord Kelvin famously said, "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it." Here at 77 West Wacker, despite extensive metering relative to comparable buildings, we have found a lack of visibility into energy consumption data is one of the greatest barriers to implementing energy conservation measures (ECMs).

Distributed generation solar has been a growing trend around the country. Home owners, large commercial entities and other facilities all have looked to their rooftops to cash in on a previously underutilized asset. 

One of the biggest hurdles I face in my transition from graduate school into my career is that my chosen career path – corporate sustainability – is not a traditional profession. I went to The London School of Economics and Political Science, which is a fantastic institution with a supportive and enthusiastic Careers center. However, most of the job postings and career fairs on campus were geared towards more classic trajectories like finance, accounting and consulting.

Last month, twelve major corporations announced a combined goal of buying 8.4 million megawatt hours of renewable energy each year and called for market changes to make these large-scale purchases possible. Their commitment shows that demand for renewables has reached the big time.

Demand response has been at the core of my work this summer as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps fellow. My host company, Jones Lang LaSalle, is the property manager for 77 West Wacker Drive, a 50-story office building in downtown Chicago. Here, I am focusing on maximizing the benefits of demand response which have already been implemented through multiple technologies.

Demand response. It’s been called the “killer application for the smart grid” by John Wellinghoff, former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But what is it?

I do not want to brag, but the U.S. Army engagement at Fort Bragg is the best in EDF Climate Corps. I apologize for the bombastic tone of this statement; however, when I consider the opportunities afforded to me during my time here, it is hard for me to imagine a comparable experience anywhere else.

As an increasing number of companies seek to reduce the environmental impact of getting their products to retailers and consumers, understanding the drivers behind current transportation and logistic decisions is crucial. Working with Ocean Spray Cranberries this summer, I’ve had the chance to build on the company’s work with Environmental Defense Fund and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).