Summer is here, with promises of long sun-filled days and air conditioning to cool those humid heat waves. Just make sure that A/C unit is operating efficiently! As the new Energy Program Manager for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), I’m bringing my passion for smart and efficient use of our energy resources to Montgomery County. I cannot wait to work with the cutting edge commercial sector in the County, as well as the enthusiastic residents, utilities, non-profits, and other local partners on the exciting energy initiatives going on.
My career in sustainability has led me through a winding path of ocean conservation, voluntary carbon markets, and environmental education before finding my true calling—building energy performance. Building energy consumption accounts for a whopping 73 percent of electricity usage and 38 percent of total energy consumption in the United States, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Go big or go home, right? By taking this energy bull by the horns, I know I’ll be able to make a difference in Montgomery County.
Before coming to DEP, I worked as an energy and environmental data analyst for Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG)—an environmental consulting firm that supports a number of federal, state, and local governments, as well as other non-governmental organizations and associations. While at ERG, I supported a number of programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, primarily the Sustainable Facilities Practices Branch (SFPB) to green EPA’s operations, as well as the Green Power Partnership and WaterSense® Program. I also pitched in on other programs, always happy to help out when needed during special events, such as the Annual Conference for the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories and the Walk to Wellness event for EPA staff.
The knowledge and experience I gained during my six-plus-year tenure at ERG was invaluable. I was part of a dedicated team that helped EPA navigate the waters of multiple Executive Orders and legislation that requires federal agencies to measure and reduce energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions, benchmark their buildings against other similar facilities across the nation, and disclose these sustainability data. I also assisted EPA by managing their extensive green power program, as well as contributing data to their GHG emissions inventory. Helping EPA green its operations and lead the federal government in its sustainability efforts gave me with the skills to green the commercial sector in Montgomery County.
Looking back on it, I’m not quite sure how I managed to do this, but I also earned my Masters of Science degree in Energy Policy and Climate from Johns Hopkins University while working full-time at ERG. On nights and weekends, I spent my days at the JHU campus in Dupont Circle, analyzing energy production technologies, calculating efficiencies of solar and wind energy generation, and writing policy papers on energy security, climate change adaptation, and the future of the electricity grid.
For my final capstone thesis at JHU, I focused on a topic that the JHU program didn’t cover—behavior-based energy efficiency. I worked with my technical advisor and the talented staff at CLASS 5 Energy to develop an analysis of barriers to behavior-based energy efficiency in K-12 schools. The skills I learned at JHU helped me better understand how energy is consumed in the U.S., more efficient ways to use it, and what renewable energy resources can be used to meet our demand. Before JHU, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis at Boston University. (Go Terriers!)
So I think I can talk the talk in terms of energy use, and I try my best to walk the walk, too. Not only do I spend my 9-5 hours working on energy issues for Montgomery County, I also do my part in my community and daily life as well. I am a proud resident of the City of Takoma Park—“The Berkeley of the East”—and I have served on the City of Takoma Park’s Committee on the Environment since January 2013. I also own a home in a multi-family condo building, so I am looking forward to bringing the resident perspective to the County’s commercial and multi-family energy programs. Before setting down roots in Takoma Park, I called northern New Jersey my home, full of lush forests, clean water, and great hiking trails. Caring about the environment we live in is something I have always been passionate about.
I am excited to bring all of my tools of the trade to Montgomery County—a county that is blazing the trail when it comes to energy management innovation and clean energy use. The Building Energy Benchmarking Law was landmark legislation, requiring certain non-residential buildings to benchmark and disclose energy use with the ultimate goal of understanding energy use, identifying energy-efficient improvements, and reducing GHG emissions. As the energy program manager, I’ll ensure that this law is implemented effectively and efficiently. Montgomery County is also at the forefront of its new commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, assisting with the financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on commercial facilities. Just a quick look at My Green Montgomery highlights all the ground-breaking initiatives the County is working on.
The people I have met so far in Montgomery County are a dedicated bunch. Thank you for your warm welcome! I look forward to working more closely with individuals in the commercial sector, residents, and other organizations that are revolutionizing how we use energy in the County.
– Blog by Lindsey Robinett Shaw, Energy Program Manager, Department of Environmental Protection
Reach out to Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.