VERGE: Converging Energy, Information, Buildings and Transportation

EDF Staff | March 27, 2012

By Isabel Grantham, Project Analyst, EDF Corporate Partnerships

EDF Climate Corps's Managing Director Victoria Mills and I attended the VERGE conference last week in DC. Furthering energy efficiency in commercial buildings is one of the primary goals of EDF Climate Corps, so we are always interested in learning about innovative ideas in this space as well as meeting professionals and companies involved in developing the mechanisms to transform energy management.

We were pleased with the crowd at VERGE, and the conference panels reflected the critical areas where these topics converge. Victoria spoke on a Keynote Panel titled Revolutionizing the Built Environment, moderated by Lane Burt Director, Technical Policy, US Green Building Council.

Other members of the panel included:

  • Cindy Ortega Senior Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer, MGM Resorts International;
  • Duke Reiter Senior Vice President & Managing Director, ASU Foundation for A New American University; and
  • Lisa Shpritz Senior Vice President, Bank of America.

Panelists spoke of key programs and initiatives in the academic, corporate and public sectors that are transforming the way we manage our built environment. A breakout session on Global Corporate Energy Management featured John Schinter, Director of Energy at AT&T, who gave key insights into AT&T's impressive and comprehensive method for energy management as well as a glowing review of EDF Climate Corps. This year marks AT&T's third year participating in the program.

I was particularly interested in the cutting-edge systems to handle energy data from buildings and transportation. By utilizing the accessibility of the internet, many new platforms have been developed that not only capture and organize huge amounts of data on energy usage, but truly help to engage people in understanding the data and acting on that  knowledge. From brand new iPhone apps to complex data dashboards, companies presented innovative tools used to measure, monitor and manage energy data, which can often be a boring and overwhelming barrier to tackling building efficiency.

The conference was a true convergence of ideas and of the EDF Climate Corps network. It was exciting to see many EDF Climate Corps companies collaboratively sponsoring and participating in one event.  Notables include Eaton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AutoDesk, AT&T, CA Technologies and FedEx. We also ran into 2011 EDF Climate Corps fellow alum Rich Grousset and future fellow Deepak Jose of the 2012 class, who will be uncovering energy efficiency opportunities at Ingersoll Rand this summer! I am looking forward to continuing these conversations and expecting more innovations from 2012 companies.

See a full list of our EDF Climate Corps participants.

EDF Climate Corps places specially-trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.