The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service engaged the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Resource Innovation Institute (RII) in April 2021 to initiate the three-year Conservation Innovation Grant project entitled Data-Driven Market Transformation for Efficient, Sustainable Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). The first objective in the project is to characterize the market to inform the development of a strategy to transform the market toward efficient cultivation practices and thus enhance the competitiveness of farmers while advancing energy savings, carbon emissions reductions and more resilient communities.
The research objectives for this market characterization report were the following
A technical presentation will walk the attendees through the major findings of this report and give an introduction to the next step in the project which is the Market Transformation Strategy.
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As Executive Director, Derek provides overall leadership and strategic direction. Derek engages RII’s advisory bodies, including the Strategic Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Council Leadership Committees, develops global partnerships and oversees the organization’s policy work.
Before RII, Derek led Clean Energy Works, recognized as one of the most successful American Recovery & Reinvestment Act ("stimulus") programs. He has directed energy programs for the City of Portland, managed operations for a VC-backed start-up and created an award-winning corporate sustainability program for a national retailer. Derek has testified to the US Senate Energy Committee and briefed the US Secretary of Energy.
Derek enjoys playing and listening to a range of music, soccer (especially his hometown Portland Timbers), hiking and travel.
Jennifer Thorne Amann is the Buildings Program Director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Since joining ACEEE in 1997, she has authored dozens of publications and articles on buildings and equipment efficiency technologies, policies, and programs. Jennifer leads content development for ACEEE’s consumer-focused website, smarterhouse.org.
Her current work focuses on maximizing energy savings from key buildings policies including building codes and appliance standards, scaling up retrofit activity in homes and commercial buildings with an emphasis on deep retrofits, expanding opportunities for energy savings in low-income and multifamily housing, and analyzing new opportunities for energy efficiency in the buildings sector. Jennifer brings to ACEEE several years’ experience in the environmental technology field and has experience in community organizing and education on a variety of environmental and consumer issues.
Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors of the Attachments Energy Rating Council and the Resource Innovation Institute. She is an NCQLP Lighting Certified Professional. Jennifer earned a Master of Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Trinity University
Lucas Isakowitz is currently a Presidential Management Fellow at the Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA) where he helps manage the Conservation Innovation Grant program, and deals with carbon market/conservation finance projects. He is slated to go on rotation to USAID in the fall to work on their climate solutions team – to implement carbon projects abroad. He graduated from the Yale School of Environment in 2020, with a master’s degree in environmental policy.
Gretchen is a professional engineer who has spent the past five years optimizing controlled environment agriculture operations for resource efficiency and productivity. Schimelpfenig earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design & Construction with a concentration in energy from Stanford University. Her diverse professional experience includes time spent commissioning commercial buildings, designing utility energy efficiency programs, and helping businesses like the University of Vermont and the City of Burlington benchmark their resource consumption. She specializes in analyzing the operation of building systems for cultivation facilities and helps the members of RII’s Utility Working Group reach cultivators with their financial incentives and technical assistance.
As Technical & Operations Director of RII, Gretchen manages the PowerScore resource benchmarking platform, facilitates RII’s Technical Advisory Council Working Groups and creates curriculum and training to educate producers, efficiency programs, and design and construction communities. She works with members and subject matter experts to publish best practices guidance for production of plants in controlled environments, develops and delivers curriculum, and supports PowerScore users with resource benchmarking analysis and reporting compliance. Schimelpfenig writes for industry publications and is a columnist for GIE Media and Meister Media and publishes in Greenhouse Grower, Greenhouse Management, Cannabis Business Times, and the Cultivation Classroom column for Cannabis Science & Technology. Gretchen grows vine crops and herbs in her veggie garden, greenhouse, and basement in her Vermont farmhouse and is constantly using her HVAC and lighting knowledge to optimize her grow environments.
She works directly with the DesignLights Consortium to increase the adoption of third-party certification of horticultural building systems. Gretchen also represents RII on several industry committees developing standards for CEA including the ASABE PAFS-30 (Plant Systems Group), ES-300 (Electrical Utilization & Energy Group), and ES-310 (Agricultural Lighting Group), ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.2 (Plant and Animal Environments), ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis, IES Horticultural Lighting Subcommittee, and Task Group 1 of the UL 3600 Scorecard for Measuring and Reporting Circular Economy Aspects of Products, Sites and Organizations.
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