Internship

WATER QUALITY FROM NEW YORK TO PERU

My internship was with the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning in New York. My mentor, Dorian Dale, is the Director of Sustainability and Chief Recovery Officer. Initially, I had an idea of what I would be doing, but I didn’t realize that my internship would potentially catalyze a change in my life, as well as those of many other individuals. The scope of my internship was focused around the County’s ‘Reclaim Our Water’ (ROW) initiative. Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone, delegated its mission statement as follows: “We are a county that will no longer allow our water quality crisis to go unaddressed but will come together to Reclaim Our Water.” My initial tasks were to draft logos, generate public service announcements, and even facilitate the allocation of the county’s budget for ROW paraphernalia i.e., bumper stickers, decals, water bottles, pennants, coolers and t-shirts, all emblazoned with the slogan ‘Reclaim Our Water’. Ideally, we were to be out in the field—boots on the ground—spreading awareness, and giving ROW goods to the public at the best places possible: Suffolk County State beaches up and down the coast of Long Island, New York. Unfortunately, internal bureaucratic setbacks hampered the county’s initiative from being placed into progressive action this past summer. Although it thwarted the progression of ROW this summer, it allowed me to develop a project of my own.

With the unforeseen addition of free time and the presence of a positive mentor—Dorian Dale—to augment my mission building process, I took the crux of ROW and placed a personal spin on it. For the past 5 years I have traveled with a medical mission to the Sacred Valley in Urubamba, Peru. It was there that I first witnessed the discrepancies in the quality of life, and more specifically, the decline in water quality. In response to my internship being so focused on water quality, I figured I could start my own mission, Potable Peru. Its mission statement would be “To provide a year’s worth of potable water for at least 600 children living in Urubamba, Peru by raising funds to purchase 20 Lifestraw® water filtration devices”. By realizing what I wanted to do, I drew up a non-profit business plan with my mentor’s help and established a real life business plan.

The internship of 2016 was fulfilling, and I felt accomplished by the time it concluded. My experience at the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning had put me in a suitable place where I was both mentally and physically aware of the state of water quality in my backyard—Long Island. But it also made me aware of the difference I could make in Peru. As of now, I am still in the fundraising process for Potable Peru and I have generated funds equivalent to 9 Lifestraw® devices or nearly 42,000 gallons of purified water.

 

By Nick Coristidis

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY MATTERS

For my internship, I worked with Conservation Services Group (CSG) located in Westborough, Massachusetts, which is a non-profit, energy efficiency company that operates throughout the country. It works in collaboration with state agencies and various utility companies (including NSTAR and National Grid) by helping them  design and implement energy efficiency programs, and giving suggestions and recommendations for them to meet their energy saving goals. The utility companies then use these energy efficiency programs and have home energy specialists or auditors go into residential households and corporate buildings to give them suggestions on how to make their home/building more energy efficient  (known as a home energy assessment or audit). CSG is the top energy efficiency company in the United States of America and I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for such a prestigious and well know organization.

During my time as an intern at CSG, I worked on various projects and case studies in the marketing department of their organization. I worked on several case studies related to customer engagements and the contact center. The purpose of these case studies was mainly to try and figure out ways to make the customer engagements smoother and as timely as possible, and determine anything that might be inconvenient to the customer. I went to the contact centers and actually witnessed the process of signing a customer up for an audit or home energy assessment and what it looks like from both ends (the employee and the customer). I was also able to go on an actual home energy assessment with the auditor (or energy specialist), who was an employee of Mass Save (a partner of CSG). This gave me a perspective on what actually happens in the home energy assessments that CSG helps the utility companies design and implement. Additionally, I got to go to Boston and see the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, speak about his organization called Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. They are dedicated to “accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in Massachusetts—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts.”. This was a very enjoyable experience for me and made me feel good to know that my MA governor cares so much about helping to promote clean energies.

An environmental issue that CSG is attempting to mitigate is the rapidly growing rate of climate change. By promoting energy efficient practices and technologies, CSG is helping to reduce the amount of energy that our country is consuming. Since large amounts of energy in the US are created from fossil fuels, we consume less fossil fuels when we use less energy and emit fewer damaging greenhouse gases (GHG) into our atmosphere. Not only is CSG helping to reduce climate change but they are also saving people money in the process because by using energy efficient technologies and practices in your home you also save money on your electricity bills, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year.

My internship experience was made so much more memorable and enjoyable because of the wonderful and caring employees at CSG who made me feel that they cared about me as a person and wanted to help me succeed. They made me feel comfortable working at CSG on a daily basis which spurred me to work harder and do the best job possible in whatever was asked of me.

By Trevor MacDonald  ‘15

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major + Business Minor

Internship with Rainforest Alliance

Businesses that depend on the land require financial support in order to thrive economically and sustainably. This support will stimulate growth and secure an economically viable future. The obstacle then becomes overcoming their high-risk investment quality. Forestry businesses, farms, and small and medium enterprises that exist in developing countries face this barrier when applying for long term loans.

The Rainforest Alliance has a renowned and credible seal that is awarded to producers who meet rigorous requirements and standards set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network and the Forest Stewardship Council. The reputation that accompanies the seal guarantees investors that from a social and economic standpoint, certified businesses holding this seal would prove to be a lucrative and a worthy investment. This expectation allows producers to be eligible for both long-term and short-term loans. While the Rainforest Alliance does not directly offer monetary support, it supplies a connection for these businesses to lenders that are capable of elevating them to their full potential.

My time interning for the Rainforest Alliance gave me an in depth understanding of this process. My position was under the Programs, Planning and Assessment Division of the organization. I had the privilege to view the quarterly reports from each project that the organization was involved in for the fiscal year of 2015. The organization focuses on several areas of concern: forestry, climate, agriculture, tourism, and sustainable finance.  Each report gave a detailed description of the project, it’s accomplishments, it’s challenges, and a short story of a person that was directly impacted by the Rainforest Alliance’s work in one of 80 different countries. I was not only lucky enough to read these updates, but also to hear from the directors of each project themselves. I sat in on phone conferences between them and the senior vice president of the organization, Joshua Tosteson. After  gaining a full understanding of the most essential points of interest for each project, I summarized them in a final report that was submitted to the board.

This was my largest accomplishment, and perhaps, one of my greater contributions to the organization. I also produced a power point presentation with information that will aid in the launch of a future organization-wide learning series.  This program is designed to improve internal communication among separate departments. My role in this development was to thoroughly research existing methods of communication in non-profit organizations . Then, I had to apply this information to the specific needs of the Rainforest Alliance and offer academic support for the learning series program we were creating. My work will be included in the final proposal.

Overall, the experience was rewarding. I learned a great deal about the operation of a certification organization and was exposed to a professional environment that caters to the environmental issues that I am most interested in. I gained skills and knowledge that are not obtainable in a classroom setting. My internship at the Rainforest Alliance was both, professionally and academically valuable.

By Shannon Mora

Community Supported Agriculture

For my internship during the summer of 2014, I worked at the Garman Organic Farm on Aquidneck Island in Middletown, Rhode Island. Garman Farm is a family-owned and operated business specializing in heirloom vegetables and small fruits. Owned solely by Jim and Michelle Garman, the farm supplies many local restaurants and markets with fresh organic produce. In addition to that, Jim and Michelle operate a Community Supported Agriculture or CSA program.  With over 60 members, this CSA provides an excellent way for members of the local community to support a small, local business in exchange for access to fresh organic food on a weekly basis. The Garmans grow their product on farmland leased from Sustainable Aquidneck and the Aquidneck Land Trust. Jim and Michelle practice organic production techniques, and their methods include building organic matter (with amendments of compost, seaweed, and manure), seasonal crop rotation, keeping soils covered with organic mulches, growing winter cover crops and planting a diverse array of crops.

Over the course of the summer, I spent many days working beside Jim and Michelle planting various crops and learning how to cultivate them. We tilled the soil, manually seeded row after row of assorted organic seeds, spent many hours weeding and watering, and organized community pickup days for the CSA program. It was fascinating to learn how to be an organic grower firsthand. It was an honor and a pleasure to work side by side with Jim and Michelle as the crops grew and we began to harvest them.

The most interesting and pleasurable part of this internship experience for me was learning about and participating within the farm’s CSA program. Every Monday between 2pm and 6pm, the Garmans opened the proverbial “gates” of their farm to members of the community. With the choice of any freshly picked produce available at their fingertips, I watched as these supporters thoroughly enjoyed their weekly visit to the farm. An alternative economic model to the conventional marketplace, CSA’s are an excellent way for community members to actively engage in the growing process and provide much needed direct support to local smaller growing operations.

Through this internship, I have received a plethora of new knowledge surrounding organic growing procedures, CSA practices and how to run a successful small business. I learned the differences between conventional industrial commercial farming practices and those of a small-scale organic commercial farm. I learned how small growers set prices and remain competitive in a tumultuous marketplace. The direct economic experience of participating in the farm’s business model and practices has proven invaluable to my career as an ENRE student. It was a great summer and I had an amazing experience on the farm. Perhaps one day, I too will shed my academic role and join the ranks of an organic farmer, trade my laptop for a wheelbarrow, and spend my days baking in the sun and digging the earth.

 

By Matthew Reinhardt,

December 10th, 2015

 

Organic and Sustainable Agriculture in New Jersey

Throughout the summer of 2015, I worked an internship in sustainable agriculture in my home state of New Jersey. For those who have never truly visited New Jersey, you may have a negative image of my home involving MTV shows, heavy pollution, and concrete. As you will learn through this post, New Jersey is actually a lush, beautiful state over ten thousand farms of all kinds. You will also read about how I learned to apply practical sustainable methods to organic farming by using alternative methods other than pesticides, and how to farm organically. I also learned more about the importance of organic food itself.

Flocktown Farm is a small-scale, organic farm located in Long Valley, NJ. The farm’s scenery is rather stunning, as it sits upon the top of the beautiful Schooleys Mountain surrounded by forest. Flocktown Farm is organized as a CSA (community shared agriculture), which means the farm’s consumers would buy shares of the farm and receive weekly “shares” of the farm’s produce and products. This is a similar concept to how a corporation works with investors who buy “stock” in the company. The CSA model has helped many farms survive and prosper in that the farms would get all their capital at the start of the growing season. This is important to the farm’s survival because the farm would be able to recover from what would usually cripple a farm’s production, such as financial disaster, low quantities of rain, essential equipment getting damaged, storms, pests, etc.

Flocktown farm has no livestock, but solely focuses on growing vegetables along with some fruit and herbs. The different sub-seasons of the summer dictated what we could grow at what time. In the first half of the summer I worked (from June to mid-July), the farm grew kale, baby kale, chard, bok choy, arugula, lettuce heads, peas, micro-greens, scallions, radishes, basil, oregano, leeks, mustard greens, cilantro, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and more. From mid-July through early-September, you could find potatoes, string beans, corn, tomatoes, watermelons, pumpkins, beets, dill, eggplant, bell or sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, and more in the farm’s CSA shares or farmers market stand. The farm also prepared its own pickles with cucumbers and herbs they grew on the farm. Flocktown also sells meat and eggs for another local in exchange for the stand selling Flocktown’s produce.

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My essential duties while working this internship involved working as a farmhand. Over the summer I seeded, planted, trans-planted, weeded, harvested, and washed/prepared produce. I would also pack shares for the farm’s CSA members. Every Thursday, we could go to sell the produce at the local town’s farmer’s market where I would help sell the produce directly to consumers. I would also inform customers on the farm itself, along with organic food in general.

In doing all of this, I learned how to apply sustainable and environmental practices in a practical, direct manner, while getting plenty of exercise! I learned about the harmful effects of pesticides and how over the time the populations of the pests will adapt to resist the pesticides genetically. For instance, a pesticide may eliminate 99% of a population of beetles the first year it is used, but the next year the offspring of the surviving 1% of those beetles will resist the pesticide rendering it useless in the second year of its use. Meanwhile, more sustainable practices such as, “trap-cropping”, crop rotation, etc. are far more effective methods to protect the produce. These methods are far more sustainable too, considering how the chemicals from the pesticides affect the soil and runoff into the local rivers and streams. This should not happen on an organic farm since they don’t allow those substances.  Working at the farm also taught me many organic methods regarding the health of the soil, efficient land use, the use of organic fertilizer, harvesting crops with minimal damage to the ecosystem, and more.

There were a lot of important learning outcomes from working in organic agriculture. One very important notion I’ve observed is that organic farms survive and prosper because there is demand for them! This goes to show how people have a huge demand for food not produced by our current, industrialized food industry. The support and enthusiasm from Flocktown’s shareholders are what makes the farm successful. The community in CSAs, organic farms, or farmers markets is golden, and it is inspiring to see how many people were excited by simply seeing a healthy- looking batch of kale, or a pile of potatoes pulled out of the ground that day. Our customers were happy to know where their food came from. That is why it is extremely important to support our local food growers. Organic produce has better quality and contains far more nutrients because of how it is grown, and we would have far less access to this food without our local farmers. I encourage all readers to support their local farmers to help keep this movement alive.

By John Patrick A. Govan ‘17

Summer of 2015

National Energy Education Development (NEED)

For my internship, I worked with Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) located in Providence, RI working as a National Energy Education Development (NEED) Intern. NEED is a nationwide program that stresses the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools throughout the country. This program focuses on the reduction of our dependence of fossil fuels, and increasing use of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency. NEED’s philosophy is “Kids Teaching Kids” which encourages students to explore, experiment, and engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom.

As an intern, I attended NEED club meetings throughout Rhode Island to work with existing NEED teachers to assist them with their club meetings, and mentor and inspire students about energy consciousness. For example, Central Falls – Dr. Earl F. Calcutt Middle School received a grant from NASA and conducted experiments, and I was able to facilitate these experiments. Another project I was involved in with Central Falls was planting a local vegetable garden for their school to help the reduction of CO2 emissions to reduce the need for transportation to travel to get food. As an intern, I was able to facilitate and help the students plant their vegetables and herbs. I then assisted OER to raise awareness and expand the RI NEED program. I had to assist with the energy art contest awards program at the 2015 Home Show/Energy Expo at the RI Convention Center. At the 2015 Energy Expo, I also had to organize and manage the energy education booth for kids, where we had an Energy Carnival for youths attending the RI Home Show.

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Education Booth at the 2015 Energy Expo at the RI Convention Center. Students from Central Falls, Calcutt Middle School volunteering to teach children about energy!

After the NEED project submission in April 2015, Rhode Island was able to receive a submission of 6 projects from schools around Rhode Island. The small state of Rhode Island won 3 national awards and 6 state level awards. The national awards were awarded to Dr. Earl F. Calcutt Middle School, Central Falls – National Junior Level School, Scituate High School – National Senior Level School of the Year, and AVenture Academy, Providence – Special Project Rookie of the Year.  From last year, Rhode Island was able to expand NEED to 3 other schools in Rhode Island – and it is currently still expanding!

I was able to accompany our winning schools to a national exhibition to the 2015 National Youth Awards Conference in Washington, DC from June 26 – 29, 2015. All NEED schools have outstanding classroom-based programs in which students learn about energy. To recognize outstanding achievement and reward student leadership, The NEED Project conducts the National Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement. This was a weekend full of various energy activities and events for teachers and students. I am honored I was able to be a part of teaching and inspiring students to be future green leaders of Rhode Island.

Check out this video of Central Falls, Calcutt Middle School students singing a parody to Meghan Trainor’s “All About the Bass” using lyrics that they wrote about the forms of energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp9n6C_m7Pk

For more information about the NEED project, please visit the website http://www.need.org/ or contact Barbara Cesaro at the RI Office of Energy Resources at Barbara.Cesaro@energy.ri.gov.

 

By Devina S. Thakur ‘17

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major

General Business Minor

December 11, 2015

Fostering Energy Management in RI’s Public Sector

Over the course of the past year, I have been working as a URI Energy Fellow on the Rhode Island Public Energy Partnership (RIPEP) Team, an initiative funded by the Rhode Island Department of Energy (DOE). As energy efficiency became a focal point for RI’s state and municipal heads, the RIPEP Team played a crucial role in determining if energy efficiency retrofits are a success, and if buildings are performing efficiently.

We accomplished this by establishing a baseline of energy consumption for over 80% of RI’s school facilities, using an online energy management tool called Portfolio Manager (PM). This baseline report allows decision makers to look at how much energy their district consumed, by building, from 2008 to 2014. The data was displayed as monthly values and grouped by energy type (electricity, natural gas, etc.). This accessible and comprehensive baseline was the first of its kind in RI, and is an invaluable accomplishment for energy efficiency in the state of Rhode Island. Now that energy efficiency has been measured in the state, it is possible for public decision makers to manage their own consumption.

Many school and municipal departments had very little knowledge of their own energy consumption. The process of evaluating energy bills is often overlooked, and the bills are simply paid for by the state without careful consideration. The RIPEP Team helped schools and municipalities make important energy decisions by:

  • Establishing a baseline for their buildings energy consumption,
  • Identifying poorly operating facilities, and
  • Providing measurable changes in energy consumption after retrofits.

After the baseline was established, the RIPEP Team also gave school districts and municipalities the means to continue their own energy management through the use of the same, user friendly and free online tool, Portfolio Manager.

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Having an experiential learning experience such as the one I received as an Energy Fellow at the URI Outreach Center was instrumental to developing a well-rounded repertoire of professional and social skills. Throughout my time on the RIPEP Team, I grew and developed in many ways I would not have within a classroom. When I first came in to the program I was disorganized, a poor communicator and unfamiliar with working in the professional office environment. Working on a supportive team encouraged me to take on new responsibilities, which led to improvement of my professional skills. Some of my many tasks included taking notes at seminars regarding current energy issues, leading small group meetings, and conducting community service. I also had opportunities to work with professionals in the field to accomplish common goals. Taking on diverse and challenging responsibilities developed my ability to synthesize ideas, bolstered my public speaking, and overall improved my professional demeanor.

Building upon my weaknesses has given me a sense of confidence I would not have found within a classroom. It has given me a clear head and reassurance to follow my passion to improve the environment. I hope to find a career in either the environmental or energy field where I can have a direct effect on environmental issues such as renewable energy or diminishing natural resources. I finally feel like I am ready to begin my career. I owe a great deal of my preparedness and confidence to my experiential learning as a URI Energy Fellow.

 

by: Connor Fiske ’15

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics Major

December 18th, 2015

The Environmental Impacts of Building Demolition

May I start by saying this internship credit program was the ultimate educational experience for me. I am a firm believer that the best way to learn and effectively absorb information is with hands-on experience in the field. That being said I think that this was an incredibly beneficial program because I was able to get that dense hands-on learning experience and broaden the knowledge in my field of study as well as get credits towards my degree. For my internship I focused my efforts on studying and mitigating the effects of harmful emissions as well as the overuse of natural resources. I spent a lot of my time working on limiting the consumption of diesel fuel in large construction equipment. I also experimented with ways to limit dust emissions on a large-scale construction project. My goal at the end of this program is to limit the overall effects on the environment and save money for the company.

The demolition field revolves around the use of massive machines and equipment. Most job sites have multiple machines operating together at once. Some of these machines can weigh well over 100,000 pounds. As you would imagine it takes a lot of fuel to move something that heavy eight hours a day, five days a week, non-stop. What I want to do is find a way to limit a particular machine’s use while not damaging productivity. I was able to find that during one week’s time the machine stops working a few times a day for general maintenance or other tasks being performed around it. During the time the machine is not operating it is still running, burning fuel and emitting pollutants into the atmosphere. I came to the conclusion that if the machine ran full speed for only four full days and designated the fifth day for all of its general maintenance and for performing other necessary tasks around the machine, the demolition company could save gallons of diesel fuel each week. By saving all that fuel they are also majorly cutting back on emissions. The beauty of it is that even though the machine is shut down for a day you may only be losing one to two hours of productivity.

Another large environmental impact involved in demolition is dust and particulate emissions. Massive machines colliding with and collapsing 20 stories of concrete can produce a lot of dust. Keeping that dust to a minimum is essential to the environment as well as human health. I was in search for a cost effective way to keep those dust emissions as low as possible. After a few studies using plastics to contain the dust, I decided it wasn’t a suitable solution. The plastic was too much of an overhead cost and although it was helping with dust impacts on the environment, the used plastic created more trash that would need to be filled somewhere. I decided that water would be the ultimate solution. If the concrete was fairly saturated it wouldn’t produce dust. That worked exactly as planned; more water used to wet the concrete before demolition resulted in significantly less dust.

This was a great experience for me. The amount of knowledge and experience gained was largely beneficial towards future successes. This was a great opportunity and I am so glad I was able to help this company, cut back on environmental impacts, and further my college education all at the same time. I feel that this internship program is a very effective way, if not the most effective way of learning and working towards a future in your field of study.

By: Jake Versaci

December 24th, 2014

Alternative Fuels and Anti-Idling

My experience as an Energy Fellow at the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center working with Ocean State Clean Cities showed me the many layers of the energy field and how versatile and useful my skills can be in the professional world. The program introduced me to the whole other side of energy, the behind the scenes allocation of energy, emerging technologies, efficiency programs, and increased use. As an undergraduate student majoring in environmental and natural resource economics, the program was ideal to further my studies and work experience.

Ocean State Clean Cities (OSCC) is a program within the URI energy fellows program. The main goal of this coalition is to reduce the amount of carbon emissions released from the transportation sector. The ways in which we try to reduce these emissions is through the promotion of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, idle reduction technologies, and by practicing better driving techniques. The six alternative fuels we currently promote the use of are electric, propane, natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen. All of these alternative fuels produce fewer carbon emissions when burned than traditional gasoline and diesel fuels. The reason we want to reduce emissions from the transportation sector is because the transportation sector is one of the leading users of energy.

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I had many different duties during my year as an energy fellow, many of which put me out of my comfort zone. The main duties of my position were to stay updated on current environmental issues, incentives and technologies related to fuel reduction, alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, idle reduction technologies, and promoting fuel saving driving techniques. This information is then communicated to the public through social media outreach, holding alternative fuel stakeholder meetings that let the industry stakeholders network, and periodic email newsletters. We take advantage of the abundant information and resources that are available to the coalition through industry partners.

The accomplishments I have made through the internship have helped me grow in many ways. I helped to facilitate alternative fuel stakeholder meetings by planning, organizing, and running such events. In 2014, OSCC held five stakeholder meetings: two natural gas meetings, an electric car meeting, and a hydrogen meeting. The best things I took from these meetings was seeing the different aspects of alternative fuel industries, meeting powerful industry individuals, and the confidence of knowing that I helped make the meeting happen.

No Idling

I am currently working on launching a campaign for URI to commit to and promote the practice of anti-idling. Idling is when a vehicle’s engine is left running when not in motion. This is unnecessary at times for many vehicles and if idle time is reduced, cleaner air and a noticeable reduction of fuel spent will be the result. The main targets of this anti-idling campaign are the vehicles that are often left running at times when it isn’t necessary, vehicles unloading goods, ticketing cars, service vehicles, and even when picking up a friend.

We plan to install “no idling” signs around the URI campus at loading docks and in front of dorms, places where it is most likely for drivers to leave their car running when it isn’t necessary. The goal of this campaign, “the big picture”, is to improve air quality on campus, reduce amounts of fuel burned and reduce reliance on foreign fuel sources. My experiences working as an energy fellow and for Ocean State Clean Cities is priceless, I have learned so much and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Thanks for reading!

By: Justin Venturini

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics Major

December 10th, 2014

Energy Efficiency Matters

For my internship I worked with Conservation Services Group (CSG) located in Westborough, Massachusetts. CSG is an energy efficiency company that operates by working in collaboration with various utility companies and state agencies throughout the country and helps to design and implement energy efficiency programs for the utility companies to use. CSG gives suggestions and recommendations on how the utility companies can meet their energy saving goals. The utility companies fund the energy efficiency programs and CSG helps them with the implementation and design. The utility companies then use the programs and have home energy specialists or auditors go into residential households and corporate buildings and give them suggestions on how to make their home or building more energy efficient, also known as a home energy assessment or audit. CSG operates throughout the country and is a non-profit company. CSG works in collaboration with well-known utility companies such as NSTAR and National Grid. Also, CSG is actually the number one energy efficiency company in the United States and I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for such a prestigious and well-known organization.

During my time as an intern at CSG I worked on various projects and case studies in the marketing department. CSG supplied me with my own desk, laptop, computer monitor, and various desk supplies that I used to complete different projects throughout my internship. I worked on several case studies related to customer engagements and the contact center. The purposes of these case studies were mainly trying to figure out ways to make the customer engagements smoother and as timely as possible, and determine anything that might be inconvenient to the customer. I went to the contact centers and actually witnessed the process of signing a customer up for an audit or home energy assessment and what it looks like from both ends (the employee and the customer).

CSG

Also, during my internship I was able to go on an actual home energy assessment with the energy specialist, who was an employee of Mass Save (a partner of CSG). This gave me a perspective on what actually happens in the home energy assessments that CSG helps the utility companies design and implement. Additionally, I got to go to see the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, speak in Boston about his organization called Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). MassCEC “is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in Massachusetts—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts” (http://www.masscec.com/). This was a very enjoyable experience for me and made me feel good to know that my Massachusetts governor cares so much about helping to promote clean energies.

An environmental issue that CSG is attempting to mitigate is the rapidly growing rate of climate change. By promoting energy efficient practices and technologies, CSG is helping to reduce the amount of energy that our country is consuming. Since large amounts of energy in the U.S. are created from fossil fuels, when we use less energy we consume less fossil fuel and emit fewer damaging greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emissions are the number one cause of climate change. By emitting less green house gases through the conservation of energy, we are in effect slowing down climate change. Not only is CSG helping to reduce climate change but they also are saving people money in the process because by using energy efficient technologies and practices in your home you also save money on your electricity bills, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year.

What I enjoyed the most about working for CSG was all of the wonderful and caring employees that made my internship experience so much more memorable and enjoyable. After working for CSG I really got the feeling that they cared about me as a person and wanted to help me succeed. Working with such friendly and caring people really made me feel comfortable working at CSG on a daily basis and made me actually want to work harder and do the best job possible in whatever is asked of me.

By: Trevor MacDonald ‘15

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major

Business Minor

December 18th, 2014