This has been a busy month! We had our mid-service training at the EnergyPath conference, which was hosted by the Sustainable Energy Fund. The rest of the PA Energy Corps members and I all made our way to the campus of Villanova about an hour outside of Philadelphia for the week of 7/29-8/2. For the first three days of the conference we all chose different areas of focus like wind, solar, or hydro-electric. I decided to take a class on energy efficiency in the commercial sector. While the focus of my term of service has been energy efficiency, I’ve been working on saving homeowners energy so learning about large-scale lighting retrofit projects and onsite power generation for industrial facilities was very exciting. One of the biggest takeaways from the three days was the amount of energy that is lost in transmission. Prior to this I hadn’t really considered how electricity is generated and transported. Looking at the entire supply chain has given me a much better sense of the scale of the problem we’re facing.
The final two days of the conference were comprised of various break-out sessions covering a wide range of sustainability related issues. The most engaging session I attended was about the energy procurement markets. I learned about futures markets and how you can buy electricity in real-time where the price is changing from minute-to-minute based on the demand being placed on the grid. The conference ended with a delicious dinner and a rousing keynote speaker. We heard from Eric Woodroof, who has made his fortune helping implement green-practices in differentindustries around the world. My favorite quip of the night was how he convinced an oil executive to move forward with a energy efficiency project by quantifying the equivalent amount of trees it would save. A reminder that you need to use all sorts of appeals to persuade different audiences.
The week out of the office was great, but I had lots of work waiting for me upon my return. With my term of service wrapping up at the end of September the folks at the Energy Coordinating Agency are doing their best to make sure I have plenty of time out in the field, making the most of my BPI certification. One of my favorite parts of my service is conducting quality assurance test outs for homes that have undergone energy efficiency retrofits. After the work has been completed I inspect the quality of contractors’ work and measure the increased energy efficiency of the home.
Outside of the office I’ve been attending different sustainability events around Philadelphia. Bill Petersen, a fellow Energy Corps member, and myself joined a group called the “Philadelphia Society Young Friends”. They put on all sorts of meet-ups, and we attended a tour of a large green roof on the PECO building by the Schuylkill River. It’s one of the largest in the region, and is a great response to the storm water problems that Philadelphia is dealing with.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I accepted my Energy Corps position last November; it’s been a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Between learning about energy efficiency and making my way in a new city I have grown a tremendous amount both personally and professionally. I’m excited for the next chapter of my life after my term of service ends in September.
Russell King grew up in Maryland and graduated from Colorado State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sociology and a minor in Business Administration. He is a passionate outdoorsman and spent his adolescent summer’s camping his way across America and visiting National Parks. Russell became an Energy Corps member to further his involvement in the sustainability field and is very excited to learn about the energy efficiency opportunities in the greater Philadelphia area. His primary focus has been participating in the Energy Works program where he helps local residents identify the best home weatherization options available to them. Outside of work Russell enjoys white water kayaking, running, and backpacking.