Connecting Energy

By Britt Holewinski

As the Energy Corps member for the City of Missoula, I’ve participated in meetings, webinars, and community events, particularly on the subjects of solar and energy efficiency. I’ve attended lectures and summits at the University of Montana. I have attended a conference in Butte, and the Northern Plains Resource Council’s Annual Meeting in Billings. As the weeks have gone on, I’ve noticed connections between organizations and groups, with overlapping and complementary missions. I’ve noticed some community members and leaders are repeat attendees, consistently advocating for energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities in Montana.

Each meeting, organization, and group has their own focus and different ways of working towards energy goals. Some focus on policy advocacy at the state level, others, advocacy at the local level. Some engage with public school students, others with university students. There are groups that focus on currently built buildings, others on large-scale remodels and new buildings. By examining the future of energy through many lenses, from renewables to retrofits to building performance codes, the solutions are likely to be more comprehensive. As many participants are engaged in multiple initiatives, there is understanding of overlap, and where the remaining areas of need are. Facilitators communicate when taking on a project, helping to ensure that another group isn’t working on the same project, helping to pool resources and allocate time more effectively.

It is incredible that this community has so many passionate, informed, and curious citizens committed to making a difference in Missoula energy. The momentum and enthusiasm are contagious, and it is encouraging to see such commitment from the community despite challenges. To maintain the movement forward, those of us who are committed to a sustainable energy future can encourage participation by other members of the community. By engaging a wider range of community members, discussions will have a wider range of perspectives, and more inclusive solutions, further enhancing the benefits for all Missoulians and Montanans.

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Britt Holewinski holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a Specialization in Environmental Economics and Policy from Michigan State University, and a master’s in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. Prior to Energy Corps, Britt worked at NSF International, working in Sustainability and Water, with a focus on Wastewater Certification. Britt joined Energy Corps in October 2017 and will serve in the City of Missoula as a Zero Waste Educator/Planner. She will work on Missoula’s Climate Action plan, focusing on reaching the waste reduction targets and greenhouse gas reduction targets.

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