Carol Brzozowski 2017-07-25 18:39:49
Despite all of the challenges energy efficiency professionals face with program buy-in and the status of government regulations, “At the end of the day, energy efficiency makes good business sense,” says Danielle Marquis. “It helps utilities not have to build a new power plant and have more clean energy generation sources. Energy efficiency is the cheapest resource.” Marquis is director of strategy for AM Conservation Group, which provides energy- and water-efficient products and services, education, and consultation. Energy efficiency seems counterintuitive for those who wonder why a utility might pay for a building to save energy, which is what they sell, Marquis points out, adding “it’s ultimately because the utility’s overall portfolio needs to include clean energy sources and reduction on fossil fuel reliance.” Marquis has worked with companies such as General Mills and observes more interest in corporate sustainability programs as education leads behavioral change. Her company provides kits with energy- and water-saving measures facility owners and operators can use as employee incentives. The facility benefits from increased money-saving efficiency behaviors and employees have tangible objects to make their own homes more energy efficient. Marquis notes an increasing focus on implementing demand side management programs that include distributed generation such as solar and wind and more water conservation efforts. “By integrating the planning and implementation of programs, it makes it easier for client participation,” she says. Programs have historically existed in their own silos, which the industry is breaking down to help make it easier for end-users to participate and understand what exactly is included so they can plan around demand response and understand why it is environmentally-friendly and the incentives they derive, Marquis adds. “Big data” through components such as smart meters is becoming a stronger driving factor in behavioral programs, customer engagement, and advanced market segregation. For Marquis, leveraging the data means creating algorithms to figure out what exactly makes someone participate in an energy-reduction program to direct future efforts as opposed to a “spray and pray” marketing approach. Commercial and industrial facility managers with complex building management systems and advanced lighting controls benefit from data by obtaining a “big picture view” of an entire campus or network of distribution facilities, Marquis points out. What She Does Day to Day Marquis’ days are a mix of managing the company’s marketing team, developing brand strategy, collaborating with design and content teams on concepts, and trying to drive marketing innovation through testing, prototyping, and compiling best practices. What Led Her to This Line of Work Marquis’ path to her current work is lined with diverse endeavors: she studied ancient Greek athletics and archaeology in a Union College study abroad program. She majored in economics and political science there, earning a B.A. with honors and a law degree from the University of Colorado. Subsequent career choices included being a sports agent and adjunct professor at three different institutions teaching business, legal, and finance courses. She started the non-profit Ethiopian Orphan Relief after adopting her daughter from Ethiopia and learning of the children’s many needs. Marquis then became marketing director for SmartWatt Energy, receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award for her efforts getting on the Association of Energy Service Professionals board, for which she currently serves as vice chair of education. She joined AM Conservation in January 2016. What She Likes Best About Her Work Marquis says she enjoys the opportunity to have a hand in many endeavors. After being hired, she worked with the operations, program, and marketing teams, which taught her about how product marketing fits into the industry. “Our team is very smart and driven,” she says. “We have some great mentors. It’s a fun place to work. We’ve grown substantially. It’s an exciting industry to be part of where you’re making a difference using your creativity and business sense at the same time.” Her Biggest Challenge Marquis finds it difficult to turn off the work switch at the end of the day. One night, while reading a book about leadership, she was emailing herself ideas. “My job is engaging and I work with great people, so turning my brain off is a good problem to have,” she says. “But I also need to be better about it.” DE Carol Brzozowski specializes in topics related to energy and technology.
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