|Winter 2012 Newsletter||
E-IPER Alumni Tackle Sustainability
This quarter's newsletter highlights E-IPER's graduates, whose numbers and influence are growing as their careers take off.
Most people agree that increasing energy efficiency - of our homes, offices, transportation systems, appliances, etc. - is an effective strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and slow climate change. For E-IPER alumni, energy efficiency has offered varied professional opportunities ranging from researching people's behaviors around energy use, to developing policies
that incentivize energy efficiency, to funding, starting, or joining businesses focused on energy efficient technologies and services. Energy efficiency offers an intriguing insight into the newly
launched career paths of E-IPER graduates, such as Carolyn Snyder (PhD 2010) and Brenden Millstein (Joint MBA-MS 2010), leaders in government and business on
the east and west coasts, respectively.
Brenden retrofitting to measure energy use; courtesy, B. Millstein
Upon leaving Stanford, Brenden co-founded Carbon Lighthouse with Raphael Rosen, his physics lab partner from Harvard (and best friend since kindergarten). Based in Palo Alto, Carbon Lighthouse makes it profitable for organizations to become "net zero carbon" by combining energy efficiency, retro-commissioning, solar, and a host of other technologies into one simple service for customers. Through a thermodynamics model with its foundations in several Stanford classes taken by Brenden, Carbon Lighthouse is able to predict energy savings ahead of time and then use this information to finance projects and recoup its investment by sharing the savings with the customer. Since its inception in 2010, Carbon Lighthouse has completed 70 projects, is profitable, employs six full-time people (including two other Stanford graduates), and is saving 2.73 pounds of CO2 every minute.
courtesy Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program website
As director of the State of Delaware's Division of Energy and Climate, Carolyn is leading several
initiatives to reduce the state's carbon emissions, reduce its vulnerability to climate change, and create clean energy jobs. Her team has successfully revamped the state's
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which helps low income homeowners
save on energy costs while making their homes more livable. With an annual budget of nearly $5M from federal and other sources, Delaware's WAP is now weatherizing hundreds of homes
per month. In total, Carolyn manages over $70 million in programs that have helped thousands of Delaware residents and businesses and many towns save money through efficiency and clean energy investments. Carolyn also led an intensive stakeholder negotiation process to develop creative policy solutions to meet the state's Energy Efficiency Resource Standard,
requiring a steep reduction in energy use through efficiency and conservation.
Perhaps when Brenden is ready to open Carbon Lighthouse’s east coast office he should consider Delaware, where Carolyn’s policy efforts are helping to create a climate ripe for entry by entrepreneurs
like Brenden. Or perhaps both aspire to scale up their efforts, moving from their respective coasts across the country. Wherever their paths take them, Carolyn and Brenden are worth tracking.
Read about other E-IPER graduates working on energy efficiency on our web page.
For their Capstone Projects, Joint MBA-MS and JD-MS students again combined their professional skills with science, engineering, and technology to develop creative solutions to current and future sustainability challenges. Eleven excellent projects ranging from reducing vehicle miles traveled, exploring the link between price-elasticity and vegetable consumption, to helping community educational farms develop curriculum were just a few of the topics the students explored. With themes on driving, dressing, eating, and drinking, the projects provided tangible ideas for living sustainably.
Norris and Frehsee present Amour Vert, courtesy J. Warren
Students presented their projects at the public Capstone Symposium and were evaluated by a group of faculty for the Feigenbaum Nii Foundation Prize. This year's winners were Deirdre
Norris (Joint MBA-MS 2011) and Christoph Frehsee (Joint MBA-MS 3rd), for their project, Disrupting the Unsustainable Fashion Accessories Market, exploring the
sustainability of fashion accessories using recycled and low-energy cost materials. Also a winner, Ashish Nagar (Joint MBA-MS 2011) explored opportunities to provide insurance
and better recycling methods for used hybrid car batteries, working in part with Tesla Motors for his project Insurance for Batteries from Electric Vehicles. Videos of presentations
can be viewed here; all the students and their Capstone Projects are listed on the right.
Last summer Emma Wendt (Joint MBA-MS 2009) moved to Ann Arbor, MI, where she joined Ann Arbor SPARK, a local economic development agency. As an entrepreneurial services connector, Emma meets with entrepreneurs to review their business ideas and connect them with resources at her organization and elsewhere. While her job does not have an explicit environmental focus, she adds a sustainability lens in her feedback to start-up companies. Emma is also very involved in local sustainability issues (a perk of moving to a smaller, more manageable city), through the local biking and walking advocacy group and the local food movement.
"The strong business and technical background I gained at Stanford are invaluable for helping me evaluate companies in industries I have little to no background in."
Ellen Medlin (Joint JD-MS 2010) completed her judicial clerkship with Judge Raymond C. Fisher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and is now an associate attorney with the Sierra Club in San Francisco. In her new position, Ellen helps Sierra Club's local chapters make strategic decisions on new litigation to protect the environment and works on a variety of national environmental issues including clean energy, clean air and water, and public lands issues.
"My job at the Sierra Club requires me to look at environmental litigation from all angles, so I need to be up on the science and policy issues, not just the law. I'm often grateful for my E-IPER training, which gave me critical background that now allows me to delve into the specifics of each case quickly."
Women collecting water from tanker trucks in India, courtesy Pacific Institute/Institute for Social and Environmental Transition
Completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Veena Srinivasan (PhD 2008) joined the
Pacific Institute's International Water and Communities Initiative as a senior research affiliate last summer. She has co-authored two major
Pacific Institute reports: Climate Change and Urbanisation: Building Resilience in the Urban Water Sector - a
Case Study of Indore, India; and a scoping paper on multiple-use water services for the Rockefeller Foundation, to be released next month.
Veena also participated in an international meeting hosted by the Pacific Institute
for water sector funders, researchers and practitioners on multiple-use water services, and spoke at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club's
India Speaker Series.
"It's been fun so far. This year has been largely about fundraising - both for research and to create a network of researchers interested in socio-hydrology."
Justin Mankin, (PhD 2nd) and Kaitlin Shilling (PhD 2011) spoke at the recent National Council for Science and the Environment's
Energy and Security Conference in a symposium titled Climate Change and
Security: Making the Connections. In an interview with the New Security Beat, a blog
of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Kaitlin called on the environmental security community to move beyond simple causal pathways towards finding solutions.
"After all, rolling back climate change is not an option at this point," she said; "to find solutions, therefore, we need more detailed analysis of the pathways to violence."
Justin also suggested that a better way to assess climate-conflict risk might be mapping human vulnerability to climate change rather than predicting conflict risk in a given place.
Austin Becker (PhD 4th) was invited to join a team of experts that will provide technical input to the coastal chapter of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) report to be released in 2013. Sponsored by NOAA's Coastal Services Center and the US Geological Survey, the Technical Input on Coasts Chapter is led by a Steering Committee of federal agencies engaged in the US Global Change Research program. The Technical Input on Coasts is a synthesis of relevant work published since 2009 and identifies major issues and gaps related to the impacts of climate change on the nation's coastal zones.
Heather Lukacs (PhD 6th) co-authored the article, Something in the Water, in National Parks magazine on conservation efforts at her 'home' river in West Virginia. As a program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, Heather has been deeply involved in local water issues. She also founded the New River Clean Water Alliance, a local advocacy group.
Article on New River Gorge National River, West Virginia; courtesy T. Clark
"Although it may not be glamorous work, it's crucial to the health of this national park unit."
In January, Aiga Stokenberga (PhD 1st) presented a paper she co-authored with the late Lee Schipper on Trends in Mexico's Passenger and Freight Transport Activity, Energy Use, and
Carbon Footprint in a climate change workshop at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington
DC. Reflecting on her brief but productive collaboration with Lee, Aiga reports:
"The conference was also a great opportunity to meet my old EMBARQ colleagues and attend a memorial service for Lee, EMBARQ's founder. The date of the memorial event was symbolic, since on this day Lee traditionally had a big party at his house, taking advantage of the fact that the TRB drew so many of his colleagues and friends to one place."
Upcoming Campus EventsFirst Annual Graduate Student Conference on the North American West
Friday, February 17, 2012
9:30 am-1:30 pm
sponsored by the Bill Lane Center for the American West
E-IPER Joint MS Alumni Career Panel
Friday, February 24
4:30 pm-6:00 pm
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Knight Management Center
E-IPER PhD Dissertation Defense
Minimizing Unregulated Hazardous Chemicals in Consumer Products: Challenges, Strategies, and Motivations of Proactive Companies
Thursday, March 1
1:00 pm-2:00 pm
Young Environmental Scholars Conference
Environmental Policy, Behavior, and Norms
Friday, March 2
8:30 am-6:00 pm
Paul Brest Hall – Munger Graduate Residence
sponsored by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Office of Sustainability, and Stanford Humanities Center
2nd Annual Connecting the Dots Conference: The Water Nexus
Monday, April 16
12:30 pm-6:30 pm
Arrillaga Alumni Center
sponsored by the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy Solutions, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Precourt Institute for Energy, ReNUWIt ERC, School of Earth Sciences, Water in the West, and Center for Food Security and the Environment
Celebrating Sustainability at Stanford
Monday, May 7
1:00 pm-6:00 pm
Paul Brest Hall – Munger Graduate Residence
sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and others
PhD - Kaitlin Shilling