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Fueling Efficiency

Stanford's energy efficient Y2E2 building (courtesy N. Standridge)

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.

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.

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.