Hello Montgomery County and thank you for welcoming me to the Department of Environmental Protection! As the Commercial Energy Program Manager, I will be looking to connect with as many building owners and operators as possible to communicate all the great efficiency programs and incentives the County has to offer, as well as provide technical support to help you comply with the County’s Building Energy Benchmarking requirements. I’m excited to be working in such a progressive county, with a thriving commercial sector, and in conjunction with local partners in support of energy efficiency. As commercial buildings make up more than 26% of the County’s community-wide GHG emissions (2015 data), I’m looking forward to working together in support of the County’s ambitious climate goals of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
I first came to know and love energy efficiency when I was in college at Penn State studying English, Spanish, and Kinesiology. Needless to say, I was a bit uncertain about my future career path at the time. That is until I took a class called Energy and the Environment. By doing hands-on activities like laundering in cold vs hot water, calculating the cost of an incandescent vs LED bulb, and calculating energy use in terms of tons of coal, a light bulb went off (pun intended)! I realized just how effective and easy energy efficiency can be when we prioritize smart consumption and maximizing every kilowatt.
After college, I wanted to make sure other young people were not kept in the dark (I have a lot of energy puns) on energy as long as I had been. I went to work at an energy efficiency advocacy group called the Alliance to Save Energy. While there, I managed K-12 education programs and worked with students, teachers, and school facilities staff all across the country to educate them about energy conservation and empower students as young as kindergarten to identify opportunities within their own schools. Turns out, little kids really like telling adults what to do – a great help when it comes to reminders to save energy!
One of my other favorite parts of that job was joining the Alliance to Save Energy’s softball team, where I’ve competed in the Environmental Non-Profit League as a proud Killer Watt ever since.
Following my stint at the Alliance, I went to work as American University’s Sustainability Manager. I got to continue my roots in education by working with college students, university staff, and faculty to implement outreach programs around all facets of sustainability. Eventually, I also got to work with many operational departments around campus to develop and track metrics around energy and water use, carbon and climate goals, green buildings and grounds, and even housekeeping and procurement and help create plans and projects to advance sustainability. I also spent much of my time working on LEED certifications for existing buildings. AU has since become the first university in the country to become carbon neutral – two years ahead of schedule!
While working at American University, I also earned my Masters of Arts degree in Global Environmental Policy, a subject matter I’m now excited to use in helping to shape and implement County legislation.
My last stop before arriving DEP was at a high-performance building consulting firm called AtSite and its data and technology-focused sister company, InSite. There, I worked with a number of commercial building portfolios to harness and use building data to evaluate opportunities for improved energy efficiency, maintenance optimization, and tenant comfort. I had the chance to work with many different building-related data streams such as energy bills and meters, building automation systems, work order, and preventive maintenance data and diverse commercial portfolios like commercial office, multifamily, healthcare, senior living, retail, and higher education.
In addition to playing softball throughout the summer, I love to bike in my free time. I bike to the red line to commute to work so I still get my fix each day! I try my best to be environmentally conscious and appreciate how biking makes reducing commuting emissions fun. I’ve recently taken up competitive pinball and play in the DC pinball league.
I hope that I will be able to serve the County well and help us move the ball even further in innovative energy and sustainability initiatives by drawing on my background of analyzing and utilizing building data, working with commercial building owners and operators, and providing outreach and education. I look forward to making connections with many stakeholders throughout the commercial building sector and the larger community.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about the Building Energy Benchmarking Law and requirements to benchmark and disclose energy use each year, understanding energy use, identifying energy-efficient improvements, or taking advantage of the many resources available to the commercial sector such as the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing program or Montgomery County’s Green Bank to finance those projects.
– Written by Emily Curley, Commercial Energy Program Manager, Department of Environmental Protection
Reach out to Emily at Emily.Curley@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov