Going Green is a supporter of all people who are working hard in the cleantech and sustainable industries. We wanted to take a moment to highlight the women in cleantech and sustainability, and sat down with Caroline Trowbridge, Energy Project Finance at Metrus Energy and Events Co-Chair/Board Member for Women in Cleantech and Sustainability, to learn more about her experience and what advice she could give to those who want to get involved.
How did you get involved in the sustainable industry?
I studied mathematics in college because I enjoyed problem solving but lacked an application that inspired me. After interning at Climate Solutions, a PNW-based non-profit specializing in climate policy, grassroots activism, and municipality consulting, I saw the need for critical thinking in the fight against the climate crisis.
Metrus has been an amazing place to be creative and think big by applying the as-a-service model to multi-million-dollar energy efficiency retrofits. Women in Cleantech and Sustainability has launched my understanding of the industry and the people moving innovations forward.
What trends are you seeing in your industry?
Commercial and industrial facility managers and CFOs are looking to upgrade their buildings and meet sustainability goals, but don’t have the funds to dedicate to these projects. COVID has made it even harder to “fix-what-ain’t-broken” for these customers, so they struggle to prioritize the environment in a classic example of the Tragedy of the Commons. Companies like Metrus offer an off-balance sheet solution to get the work done with no upfront cost to the customer.
These projects are paid off by the energy savings generated by the more efficient equipment installed. This energy – as – a – service model is reducing energy use all over the country and pushing C&I toward a more sustainable impact on the environment. There’s a lot more work to do, but many people don’t realize this is an option since it’s a new idea in the industry.
What is one “Action Item” the viewers can take away from this conversation?
On the career front, an action item is to get involved in a non-profit organization that you’re passionate about. It’s a lot of work to balance commitments to two organizations, but you are getting twice the experience in the same phase of your career. I am simultaneously doing project finance as I am event planning which normally wouldn’t make sense in the same job description.
On the energy finance side, listeners should reflect on what their company is stuck on — what is that thing that is preventing them from being more sustainable? If it’s money, then know that there are companies out there that will PAY to do the work for them with either neutral or positive cash flows. The cleantech and sustainability industry is thinking outside the box and there is a solution for many problems that used to feel unsurpassable – it’s now more about getting the word out.
We are excited to have Caroline on an upcoming Going Green podcast. To stay up to date for Caroline’s podcast, as well as listen to other influential women in the cleantech industry, be sure to subscribe.