This blog is cross posted on EDF Climate Corps.
This summer, EDF Climate Corps placed 116 fellows within leading organizations to identify strategic energy management opportunities. These fellows spent their summer working on a variety of projects from energy efficiency to sustainability planning, employee engagement, demand response and energy information systems. Read below to learn more about three of our fellows, David, Jacob and Nicholas, who worked at Facebook, Shorenstein Realty Services and Bay Area Climate Collaborative to once again raise the bar on energy management best practices.
Name: Jacob Talbot (Erb ’15)
Hometown: I’m a native Texan.
Host Organization: Shorenstein Realty Services
School: University of Michigan
Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: Shorenstein recently hired a former EDF Climate Corps fellow, Jaxon Love, to focus on sustainability initiatives full time. I’m working with Jaxon to evaluate buildings across the Shorenstein portfolio in order to identify new opportunities for efficiency projects and to develop a system for tracking projects on an on-going basis that will aid strategic energy planning.
Q: What is the most difficult part about tackling this project?
A: The biggest challenge I’ve confronted is the diversity among buildings in the Shorenstein portfolio. Because Shorenstein is a real estate investment company, few properties remain in the portfolio indefinitely. Identifying energy efficiency projects that have both a high return over the life of the measure and a payback period that aligns with the hold strategy for that property can be tricky. Fortunately, Shorenstein has a great team of engineers to help assess potential projects and green light the ones that meet the necessary criteria.
Q: Have you identified any promising new opportunities or technologies this summer?
A: One area that I’m excited about is water heating, an oft-overlooked energy saving opportunity in office buildings. While high efficiency boilers are a big expense, there are low-cost means of improving the efficiency of the overall water heating system, such as on-demand recirculation pumps. I’m currently assessing the potential for these pumps for buildings in Shorenstein’s portfolio.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from your supervisor?
A: When making a recommendation on energy efficiency investments to a property manager or tenant, it’s important to consider the implications of that investment from their perspective. This means framing the message in consideration of their competing priorities and the impact that recommendation will have on their day to day work.
Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
A: All buildings use 75% less energy and they’re still affordable! In all seriousness, I’d like to work toward making dramatic energy reductions in the buildings sector, both in new construction and existing buildings. This is an exciting time in energy efficiency because there are more people than ever devoted to overcoming long-standing barriers to investments in efficiency. I’m hopeful that this is the generation in which we mainstream energy-efficient practices.