This year – for the first time in a while – NEEP interns attended the Summit, and the lessons learned there, both around energy efficiency and professional development, were invaluable.
The 2023 Summit was a three-day affair, taking place in New Haven, CT at Hotel Marcel – the first Passive House certified hotel in the country. The event’s sessions covered a wide array of topics, from case studies about heat pumps and funding mechanisms to interactive workshops on workforce development to panels demystifying buzzwords like the Clean Air Act and Passive House. Attendees were also invited to partake in a variety of fun networking events, including waterfront walks, morning meditation, dinner clubs, and more. This thoughtful agenda allowed for an impactful experience for all attendees, but especially for interns like me who are just getting their foot in the door of the energy efficiency space.
Every room buzzed with passion for the important work being done across the clean energy industry. Every session left us excited to learn more. Every conversation opened our eyes to the myriad ways we can fit into this sector as we enter the workforce.
I’m one of three interns at NEEP this year. We come from different educational backgrounds with a shared interest in how our studies intersect with clean energy work. Alex Vick and I are rising seniors at Boston University. I’m a double major in economics and political science, and I’ve been working with the Strategic Marketing and Communications team. Alex is pursuing a BA in environmental analysis and policy as well as an MS in energy and environment. He is interning with NEEP’s State and Community Solutions team. Nidhi Ravi is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she is working towards a master’s degree in information technology. She has been supporting both the Policy and Programs team and the Building Codes and Standards team.
Here are some highlights and takeaways from our experiences at the Summit:
Laurel Murphy, Strategic Marketing & Communications Intern
I arrived at the Summit unsure of what to expect, as the majority of my professional interactions have taken place from behind a computer screen. In reflecting on the highlights of this experience, the in-person nature of the event stood out most. As I connected with individuals at receptions and watched others do the same, I was reminded how refreshing it is to feel the real benefits of being together and to witness firsthand how imperative partnerships are to this work. It was small moments, like brainstorming with my workshop groups and answering ice breaker questions at dinner, that showed me the power of getting clean energy stakeholders in the same room.
This emphasis on collaboration came up repeatedly throughout the week, like in the Community Decarbonization case study session which focused on how we must work jointly with communities to understand their needs. This was my favorite session of the Summit; I left feeling inspired by the passion beaming from this all-woman panel and by how serious professionals in this industry are about environmental justice.
This commitment to EJ was echoed in every session I attended, from discussing how to best measure non-energy benefits of EE systems in the program development workshop to learning about how to embed equity into policy implementation efforts in the policy salad Q&A. I started at NEEP with very limited knowledge about energy efficiency, and in just a day and a half I learned more than I could have imagined. I left the Summit feeling empowered and well-equipped to continue to immerse myself in this work.
Alex Vick, State & Community Solutions Intern
Being at the NEEP Summit allowed me to not only dive deeper into and learn more about topics I find interesting or important in energy efficiency, but also to hear perspectives of different stakeholders that I likely would not have contact with regularly. Hearing how other groups may approach program development or gaining insight into their policy priorities helped contextualize the energy efficiency space as a whole. Even outside of the organized group discussion and collaboration activities, getting the chance to speak with others in the energy efficiency space was incredibly rewarding as I began to get a greater understanding of the people that contribute to the positive movement in the industry that I can’t wait to contribute to further.
My favorite session was the Community Decarbonization case study, where I learned about the efforts of local organizations and the challenges they face when working on the ground to address the energy needs of their communities. The presentations were brimming with passion and genuine care for not only the communities they work with but for acknowledging and addressing the widespread inequities within our energy system. Coming away from that session, I felt a fervent motivation to do more for communities and to do my part in creating a better future for those who have been historically left behind. Moments like these emphasize the importance of coming together to share stories and insights with people that truly understand and want to learn more about energy efficiency. They make me beyond appreciative for the opportunity to attend the Summit.
Nidhi Ravi, Building Codes & Standards + Policy & Programs Intern
I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Summit and immerse myself in the world of sustainable energy solutions. The event exceeded all my expectations and left a lasting impact on my understanding of energy efficiency.
From the moment I entered the unique Passive House hotel, I could feel the buzzing energy of like-minded people coming together to explore and discuss the latest developments in the clean energy space. The lineup of speakers was truly impressive, featuring renowned industry leaders who shared their expertise and insights on topics ranging from renewable energy integration to community decarbonization and heat pump technologies.
What struck me most about the Summit was the emphasis on collaboration and knowledge sharing. The panel discussions and interactive workshop sessions provided a platform for engaging conversations and networking opportunities. I had the chance to connect with professionals from various backgrounds, including researchers, policymakers, and state officials, all driven by a common goal of creating a sustainable future.
I particularly enjoyed the breakout sessions in the workshops, where I could delve deeper into specific topics of interest and engage in meaningful discussions with people.
Overall, attending the NEEP Summit was a transformative experience. It broadened my understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the energy sector and inspired me to pursue a career focused on sustainable solutions.
It was a privilege to attend the NEEP Summit at such a formative time in our professional journeys. On top of all the industry knowledge we gained, it was extremely enriching to network in-person with stakeholders from all different types of organizations and professional backgrounds. It is clear how central community is at every level of this work, from building internal cross-regional relationships at events like the Summit to authentically showing up for the individuals we are serving externally. We will carry these new perspectives on the importance of collaboration, equity, and community with us for years to come, in this work and beyond.
Thank You to our Sponsors
NEEP Summit 2023 wouldn't have been possible without the support of our sponsors. Thank you to the following:
- CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
- New Jersey BPU
- Johnston Controls
- Mitsubishi Trane
- CMC Energy Services
- Barr Foundation