Energy Cast Podcast: Female- and LGBTQ+-owned business promotes energy sector diversity

Energy Bees Data
Data is the key; an example of metrics Energy Bees uses to increase efficiency for one of their school clients.

Energy Cast is a podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the energy industry chain, including electric vehicles, renewables, generation and more! Jay Dauenhauer created the show and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.

Click below to listen to the full episode:

Energy Efficiency is on the rise.  According to the Department of Energy, there are 2.2 million Americans working in the sector, with huge growth expected in the future.

It’s easy to see why efficiency is on the rise.  Big baseload power plants–namely coal and nuclear–are not popular right now.  It’s easier to save a kilowatt rather than make additional kilowatts. Many in the industry call energy efficiency savings “negawatts.”  And new technologies are paying for themselves in as little as a year.

Sadie Bronk is one of the many professionals leading the way in the energy efficiency space.  For several years she worked for ClearResult, an Austin-based energy efficiency consulting firm.  Earlier this year, Sadie and her business partner, Jil Myers Black, formed a new consulting firm, Energy Bees.

Despite energy efficiency technologies and incentive programs that have been in effect for years, Sadie says there are still massive gains to be made.  She has found that a lot of public-sector institutions, like school districts, are prime candidates for savings.  And they can be huge.  One school dictrict with an $11M annual budget was able to save 8% annually!

Sadie says she and Jil also formed Energy Bees to address the lack of diversity in the energy efficiency sector.  Energy Bees is both female- and LGBTQ+-owned.  Many utilities offering programs to firms like Energy Bees have diversity quotas, which Energy Bees can qualify for.

During our conversation, Sadie and I covered a lot of new innovations in the efficiency space, including some interesting technologies for energy hogs like company server rooms.  We then shifted our discussion to the larger issue of diversity.  Being an individual who does not check any diversity boxes, per se, I still feel that barriers in business can be set up beyond the physical.  For instance, I have found that schools, family relationships, and political views have been barriers to being fully accepted in some professional settings.

There’s a a lot more we can do.  For instance, energy efficiency and other energy sectors are about 25% female, even though the American workforce is half-female.  Thanks to Sadie and companies like Energy Bees, these sectors are steadily becoming more diverse. (This podcast originally aired in December 2017.)

Dauenhauer is a member of the DISTRIBUTECH International advisory committees. Clarion Energy is the parent company of DISTRIBUTECH.

We have postponed DISTRIBUTECH to March 30-April 1, 2021 and plan to hold it in conjunction with POWERGEN International in Orlando, Florida.

Energy Cast Podcast is hosted biweekly by Jay Dauenhauer.

Learn more about the podcast here.

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Jay Dauenhauer is a project manager based in Charlotte, NC. He currently serves as a PM developing transmission projects. For the past 7 years, Jay led water treatment and recycling projects for Oil & Gas operations. Jay's first foray in the energy sector was as a media analyst for TXU Energy during the $45B leveraged buyout of that utility in 2007. He then served as Executive Director of the Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texas, working with stakeholders to pass clean energy legislation for the state. A Louisiana native and proud graduate of LSU, his career began as a TV news producer before transitioning into the energy sector. Back behind the mic, Jay hopes to bring his experience working across several energy sectors to you in a program designed to be accessible to both the public and industry insiders.

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