Green.Org sat down with Alicia Noreiga, the Director of Strategy and Partnerships at EDO.
Who is Alicia Noreiga?
Alicia Noriega has a background in urban planning which allows her to bring a systems thinking lens to decarbonizing our built environment. She has worked on business model innovation and program development in the energy efficiency and grid infrastructure space at SparkFund, RMI, and the MIT Energy Initiative. Alicia currently works at EDO with a team of grid-interactive building specialists, helping buildings unlock value from becoming a resource to the grid while improving O&M and the tenant experience
Alicia, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I first became passionate about energy systems and ownership when working in the Middle East, retrofitting diesel powered irrigation systems with solar. I decided to study the built environment and the role that urban systems can play in climate solutions. While I was at MIT completing my graduate degree in Urban Planning, I worked with the MIT energy initiative on exploring various models of power delivery in rural Africa, and completed research on forms of resilience for the power system in the Caribbean post Hurricane Maria. I have since contributed to research on land use, batteries, and negative emissions technologies at RMI and ran the Real Time Energy Management Program (RTEM) at NYSERDA, focused on scaling investment in energy efficiency improvements through the combination of smart building technology, data analytics, and consulting services.
What is a fun fact about you?
I taught myself to stand up paddleboard this summer, and I am working on getting my pup, Oscar, to balance onboard with me.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Climate change is the cross-cutting issue of our time. For those who are concerned about human rights, gender equality, racial equity, the economy, and more, climate change is the most important issue that we need to address.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I envision a world where the electricity grid is powered by clean renewable energy. When there is insufficient generation, buildings can respond with a reduction in consumption while batteries and electric vehicles offer stored energy.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
The average person can vote for politicians who care about climate change. That person can also vote with their dollars – have their savings account with financial institutions that don’t fund fossil fuels, buy products from companies with strong sustainability mandates, and use social media/letters to encourage corporations to look at the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. We can also, when possible, purchase energy efficiency appliances and equipment. The upfront price may be higher but the long-term payback and lessened impact on climate change is worth it. Additionally, we can purchase renewable energy from our utilities and retail energy providers. Importantly, we also should work to address the inequities of climate change by organizing and joining environmental justice initiatives.