2A : Monday, May 8 : 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Voluntary Commitments: Are They Moving the Needle?
As voluntary commitments are an increasingly popular way for organizations and campaigns to engage corporations in setting energy efficiency, energy productivity and sustainability goals, this session will explore their effectiveness. Are they transforming the marketplace? Is it enough to bring energy efficiency to scale or is it only one part of the solution?
Michael Geissler
CEO, Berlin Energy Agency
Michael Geissler is CEO of the Berlin Energy Agency (BEA), a public-private partnership established by the State of Berlin. BEA develops and implements projects for the efficient generation and use of energy in public, commercial and residential buildings, focusing also on renewable energies. It is specialized in co- and trigeneration, solar plants (photovoltaic and solar thermal) and lighting technology. In Germany and abroad, BEA also offers project management and advice on the implementation of energy service models – e.g. Energy Performance Contracting in more than 1,400 public buildings in Berlin –, but also on capacity building and information campaigns. Equipped with degrees in Process and Environmental Engineering and in Industrial Engineering and Management, Michael worked first as a project manager at Bewag (today Vattenfall Europe) and as an independent consulting engineer, before joining BEA in 1994. In 1997, he was appointed sole Chief Executive Officer. Michael is, among other positions, honorary Secretary General of the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and Environment (FEDARENE), Chairman of the German Federal Association of Energy and Climate Protection Agencies (eaD), member of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin and member of the Advisory Council of the Development Bank of the State of Berlin (IBB).
Maria T. Vargas
Director and Senior Program Advisor, Better Buildings Challenge, U.S. Department of Energy
Maria Vargas is the Director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the Department of Energy. The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to make American buildings 20 percent more efficient in the next decade. Thru this leadership initiative, more than 300 chief executive officers, University presidents and state and local leaders have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio and are providing their energy savings data and innovative strategies as models for others to follow. Ms. Vargas also serves as a Senior Program Advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. Prior to her work at DOE, Ms. Vargas was the Brand Manager for the ENERGY STAR program for almost 20 years while at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Vargas also served as the Co-Director of the ENERGY STAR Buildings and Green Lights Partnership. She has been involved in policy work on the issues of ozone depletion, global climate change, and related environmental and energy issues since 1985. Ms. Vargas received a Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA) in Political Science and Economics and a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon) in Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning.