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Catalyzing Market Transformation: Erin Beddingfield

Published: Aug 10, 2017 Policy | Blog Post

IMT is laser-focused on unleashing the potential of energy-efficient buildings to improve bottom lines and property value, drive economic growth, and reduce harmful pollution to create healthier, resilient cities. Collaborating with building owners, tenants, governments, and other city and corporate stakeholders, as well as NGOs and strategic partners, IMT’s expert staff strive to catalyze collective and permanent market change. So, who is IMT? Get to know our subject matter experts in this blog series.

 

Erin Beddingfield, IMT’s Manager of Data Strategy and Application, works with cities across the country to apply their energy data in ways that unite public and private interests in pursuing energy-efficient buildings. We sat down to discuss what motivates her to work on energy efficiency and how her projects at IMT contribute to market transformation.

 

When did you gain an interest in energy efficiency, and how did that lead you to IMT?

Since undergrad, I've known that I wanted to spend my career helping our environment. That has taken many forms over the years. I started my first job working on greenhouse gas emissions inventories for a large consulting firm, work that illuminated for me the huge chunk of emissions that are attributable to energy production and use. I moved on to an energy management firm, where I learned the high value of simple energy efficiency measures and the huge savings in energy, cost, and environmental impact.

I'm hooked on energy efficiency as the low-hanging—and too often unpicked—fruit in getting us to a safer trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is critical work that I feel IMT is making meaningful contributions toward.

What does market transformation mean to you, and how does your current work at IMT move us toward that goal?

When I think of market transformation for energy consumption in buildings, I think of operation and transaction. By operation, I mean that building operators and occupants are informed and knowledgeable enough, and understand the reasons, to make energy-efficient decisions in their daily activities. By transaction, I mean that energy consumption is factored into transactional decisions whenever they are made. Ideally, owners always factor energy consumption into their choice calculus when buying a building, tenants care about energy consumption when leasing space, and the most efficient equipment and materials are purchased for a building when it needs to be upgraded.

My work at IMT focuses on bridging the gap between policy and market engagement to understand how the energy data that jurisdictions are collecting can be the most valuable and compelling for building owners, operators, and occupants.

The main initiative for this goal is called Putting Data to Work. Under this banner, my team and I are pioneering new, innovative ways for cities with building performance policies to capitalize on the basic energy use data they are collecting. We are exploring how the data can influence new building codes to become more sustainable; improve building energy policies to factor in both market and environmental priorities; scale-up the demand for energy efficiency services; and create new building technologies.

We are piloting our approaches in the District of Columbia and New York City. By the end of the three-year project in 2018, we’ll have a toolkit of resources for other jurisdictions to replicate their successes implementing efficiency throughout the country.

What do you enjoy most about your work at IMT?

The people. IMT is staffed up with mission-driven, sharp, and caring people who are working on some of our country's most challenging problems in partnership with local government leaders, nonprofits, and companies that understand the importance of this work. It's nice to be surrounded by that every day!

How does IMT make an impact on climate action?

It has recently become clear that leadership on mitigating climate change will be happening from the bottom up. IMT’s key relationships with cities continue to be crucial in shepherding best practices, standardization, lessons learned, and information sharing to continue to make progress.

I work on a lot of projects with local governments—in addition to DC and New York City through Putting Data to Work, I also support our partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on the City Energy Project, which works with 20 jurisdictions across the country to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Those two projects scratch the surface of the 100-plus communities where IMT has supported solutions to spark climate action.

What are you hoping to learn this year?

We're working with several cities that are doing exciting things and generously sharing what they're learning with other cities. I'm excited to see all of that come to fruition and understand how we can continue to help scale up the work they're doing. I highlighted several exciting projects in my recent IMT blog—they stretch from Boston to Seattle!

What would your coworkers be surprised to learn about you?

This actually might not surprise them: When I was little, I wanted to be the first female Major League Baseball player. First base, opposite the diamond from Chipper Jones. Don't tell my colleagues, but if the Braves came knocking today, I'd answer.

To meet more of IMT’s subject matter experts, visit imt.org/about/staff.