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Energy Conservation through Behavior Change

March 29, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Energy Conservation through Behavior Change

Scott Finlinson PhD and Samantha Trbovich

In August of 2008, Kutztown University entered into a $5.9 million Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) with the energy services company NORESCO, saving the university millions in operational costs. The project consisted of 16 energy conservation measures, which included campus-wide lighting upgrades, water conservation retrofits, controls upgrades, and an awareness & sustainability training program. NORESCO guaranteed annual savings of $708,000, derived from savings of 2,385,522 kWh of electricity, 20 million BTUs of natural gas, and 23 million gallons of water.

Pennsylvania’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act allows government entities, including state-owned universities such as Kutztown, to enter into contracts for evaluating, recommending, designing, implementing and installing energy conservation measures. Also known as “performance contracting,” these contracts are tools for achieving infrastructure modernization, budget reduction, efficiency, and sustainability goals without the need for upfront capital expenditure. Performance contracts are budget-neutral. Project costs are paid for by the guaranteed savings realized from efficiency upgrades.

Kutztown University’s construction project was completed in 2010 but the awareness program continues annually as new students arrive every year. The awareness training program has been termed Energy Conservation Through Behavior Change® (ECTBC). The program promotes a culture of energy efficiency and sustainability by training and motivating faculty, staff, and students to voluntarily engage in specific energy and water saving activities.

ECTBC has been introduced to other schools and government entities including University of Massachusetts, University of Rhode Island, Northern Arizona University, US Military Academy West Point, Berks County, Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA), and Cook County (Chicago, IL).

Dr. Finlinson has more than 15 years’ experience assessing needs, defining project requirements, estimating costs, and negotiating contracts specializing in organizational energy conservation through behavior change. He has designed and executed program evaluation and validation research to demonstrate the effectiveness of a unique behavioral change program tailored to a specific organization while developing technical training and support materials for organizational members. He has also written and presented numerous energy-related research publications at various professional conferences and retreats and has co-authored a book chapter in Energy, Sustainability, and the Environment.

Ms. Trbovich currently coordinates resources among multiple projects in various geographical regions; conducts onsite awareness-communication and behavior change activities; assists with development and design of new offerings related to organizational energy conservation; writes proposals; supports the sales group with marketing and prospecting potential clients; prepares and delivers customer presentations; and assists with NORESCO promotions and marketing.

The meeting is Tuesday, March 29, at 7:00 at TEKPark (9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031, between Kutztown and Allentown). Meetings are free and open to the public. After the meeting, please plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

For questions, contact Vera Cole, [masked].

Interested in being on the MAREA Board of Directors? Let us know!

If you have time, energy and ideas to contribute to MAREA’s work, we’d love to hear from you! Here are details…

All MAREA board members share a deep commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable living demonstrated in our daily lives. But beyond this, we are all different. Each board member contributes in his or her own way. If you think you may be interested in serving on MAREA’s board, please just drop us a note describing relevant experience or active interest you may have in areas like…

·  Renewable energy technology, application

·  Sustainable living, including agriculture

·  Policy analysis & making (local, state, federal)

·  Energy efficient construction, technology and practices

·  Grid management, infrastructure

·  Alternative transportation

·  Non-profit organization management

·  Communication, outreach, social media

·  Fund raising, grant writing

·  Event planning and management

·  Information technology (web, database)

·  Video, photography

Feel free to include a resume, articles, photos or any other info you think will help us understand what you are all about. It is not required that you have prior Board experience, a particular educational background or specific professional status. Each inquiry will be evaluated on an individual basis. Your submission will be treated confidentially and shared only with current board members. MAREA will respond to every application with interest and appreciation, but please know there are a limited number of openings and all that apply may not be accepted.  

Board positions are for one year and unpaid. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 in Kutztown PA. Members need to be able and willing to attend at least most of these meetings. If you are at a distance, please don’t let this stop you—we may be able to arrange car pools or use technology to bridge the gap. Thanks! The amount of time committed is up to individual members and kept manageable.

If you have questions and would like to talk with a current board member, please drop us an email with your contact information and we will give you a call. Thanks for your interest. We hope to hear from you!

CONTACT: [masked]

Need a gift…but don’t want to buy stuff?
If you’d like to make a donation to MAREA or buy someone a membership as a gift, let us know and we’ll handle the acknowledgement thoughtfully, by email or paper mail, with your input. Drop us a note at [masked]. And remember, all new memberships get a free copy of the DVD, “Saving Sunshine”!

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)