My first two weeks at Energy Solutions have been a warm, inviting, and incredibly educational experience. During the orientation, I learned about the various consulting departments at ES which include Distributed Energy Resources (DER), Policy and Ratings (P&R), Products and Strategy (P&S) and my department, Energy Efficiency (EE). I learned that the EE department generally develops programs to increase the adoption of energy efficient appliances in Lighting, HVAC, Foodservice, and Heating/Pumps. ES is contracted to develop these programs by utilities, who implement them throughout their large customer base, therefore providing high energy efficient products to customers. This not only saves money for customers in the long run but also reduces energy use which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and promotes sustainable living!
One unique aspect of ES energy efficiency programs is their upstream program model which focuses on providing incentives to an entity higher up in the supply chain rather than the end user. For example, within the HVAC industry, there are thousands of customers but only hundreds of contractors and tens of distributors. Instead of providing rebates to each individual customer, ES can have a greater impact by focusing on the distributor which creates a trickle-down effect that reduces costs for their customers.
Check out the graph below. The years where equipment sold is very low was when California decided to transition to end-user-focused programs (Downstream) whereas the years where equipment sold is very high is when the focus was on distributors (Upstream)!
Outside of work, ES has some great opportunities for employees to learn new things and develop relationships with one another. One of my favorite parts of the week is a program called Lunch and Learn that takes place every Wednesday. The company caters free lunch and speakers from within the company present about their work or another topic they are passionate about (related to sustainability/energy). Through this program, I have been able to learn in-depth about topics like data analysis, climate activism/lobbying, and other ES programs from various departments. As an intern, I deeply appreciate this program because it allows me to experience different aspects of the company and provides a holistic sense of what this company truly values. Instead of getting lost in the day-to-day full-time grind, I am reinspired every week by the amazing things people at ES do both inside and outside of work.
One of the best things about working in Downtown Oakland is the ease of transportation and a plethora of restaurants that are less than a ten-minute walk away. Coming from my home in Walnut Creek, CA, the office is a five-minute walk away from the 12th Street Bart Station and Oakland Chinatown is five blocks down Broadway. For my first orientation lunch, we had Indian food from a restaurant just around the corner, an ideal cuisine for both delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. In this area, I highly recommend Golden Lotus for vegan Chinese food (you won’t miss the meat!), Napoleon Bakery for Chinese pastries, and Shooting Star Cafe for satisfying late night cravings. If you want some exercise and a nice view, you can enjoy a stroll around Lake Merritt three blocks away and watch a newly released movie every Tuesday for only $5 at the Grand Lake Theater. Being able to work in such a beautiful area with so many interesting things to do inspires the best happy hours and team building activities. From drinks at the lakeside to a graffiti art class (more on this next week!), I am truly excited and looking forward to the rest of my summer at Energy Solutions.
The first picture is of my office space and the second is a sneak peek of our graffiti activity!