Preparing for the Future of the Green Workforce with Energy Shrink

Tags: green workforce, green jobs training, green jobs

Learn how this District CBE connected with a future employee through green workforce training.

Smita Chandra Thomas, Founder of Energy Shrink

The future of buildings in the District includes deep energy reductions, decarbonization, high-performance buildings, and people with the tools, knowledge, and training needed to make that happen. Energy Shrink, a DC-based Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) operating in the Metro DC area, is a consulting firm started in 2015 by Smita Chandra Thomas. Its focus: the decarbonization of the built environment.

The firm is no stranger to the DCSEU. After Smita heard about the Train Green Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Capacity Building and Pipeline Program (SEICBP) from the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), and the program’s goals to help CBE and CBE-Eligible firms and their staffs build their capacity to service the clean energy sector of the District, she attended an instructor RFP info session in 2021.

“I was very curious about it [Train Green] and the courses offered at that time, but I felt we should be teaching them, not taking them because this is our space” Thomas said.

Christie Poimboeuf, Train Green participant who is now a project manager at Energy Shrink

After a few cycles of awareness about the program, including 1-on-1 meetings with DCSEU staff, Energy Shrink applied and became a Train Green instructor in 2023. They offered 5 training sessions – two on Passive Design and Energy Modeling for Architects (English/Spanish) and three on Resilient Remodeling.

It was through the passive design course that Energy Shrink would find a new project manager, Christie Poimboeuf. Christie was so inspired by the course that she reached out to Smita for an informational interview about the work Energy Shrink does, leading to a project manager position with them. With over 25 years of management consulting experience, Christie previously advised U.S. Department of Energy Federal and National Laboratory officials on their sustainability programs.

“As a long-time District resident, I wanted to become involved with DC’s green economy. The DSCEU provided me with diverse, local training opportunities and a place to network with experts like Smita.” said Christie. She went on to take several Train Green offerings, and one of them resulted in a LEED Green Associate certification.

Energy Shrink sits at the nexus between presenting trainings and providing their own clients with services like energy benchmarking and assessments for BEPS compliance. Energy Shrink’s larger projects focus on techno-economic analysis for market transformation programs and policy advisory services. Smita pointed out that from this vantage point she is witnessing the market’s reaction to increased demand in those services with an increased need for people with Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) and Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications.

“We really need an army of qualified people who can go around fixing up our buildings” said Smita.  Such practical certifications – along with Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) and high incentives for property owners looking to find efficiencies – are the key ingredients to Energy Shrink’s proposed recipe for the District’s clean energy future.

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green jobs, success story

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