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).
|Controlled Environment Agriculture - Utility Best Practices Guide Launch Slide Deck (13.9 MB)||Download|
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
Evan Gutierrez, Ph.D. is a Lead Research Analyst with TRC Companies- a global consulting, engineering, and construction management firm that provides environmentally focused and digitally powered solutions. His recent work for utilities across the country has focused on program design and development- with a particular interest in controlled environment agriculture, strategic energy management, and demand response. His background is rooted in sustainability analysis and planning at the neighborhood scale. Evan’s goal is to apply innovative methodologies, technologies, and datasets to inform the sustainable development of a region, its stakeholders, and its businesses. In his spare time, Evan enjoys snowboarding and hiking the wonders of Washington with his family.
Lauren Morlino is an Emerging Technologies and Services Manager at Efficiency Vermont, the statewide energy efficiency utility. Lauren researches and prototypes exciting, innovative, and efficient technologies and services for Vermont ratepayers. During her last seven years at Efficiency Vermont, Lauren has researched and designed initiatives for lighting, controls, refrigeration, consumer electronics, and controlled environment agriculture (CEA). She is an external advisor for VEIC on customer-centric program design and controlled environment agriculture, and has published papers on several emerging technologies. Lauren has presented at national conferences including ACEEE, AESP, DesignLights Consortium, DOE Better Buildings Summit, HortiCann Light + Tech, Indoor Agriculture Energy Solutions, and Esource.
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.
Jeannie Leggett Sikora’s career in energy efficiency spans the agricultural, residential, and industrial sectors. Her main responsibilities at CLEAResult include serving as an agricultural subject matter expert, measuring and verifying savings for efficiency programs, and consulting on utility energy efficiency program design. Prior to joining CLEAResult, she worked in university cooperative extension on various farm and food processing energy issues, conducted research and outreach for the home building industry, and operated a consulting business. Ms. Sikora holds an M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Penn State, is an author of two home building books, and resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
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