Jamie Wine has been the executive director at Energy Wise Alliance nearly since its inception (the organization began in August 2013; Jamie took the helm as executive director in October of that same year). Under his leadership, the organization has grown in staff, budget and programming. In a Q&A, Jamie shares his insights and experiences from his time in the captain's chair.
Energy Wise Alliance: What is your role with Energy Wise Alliance?
Jamie Wine: I oversee operations, business development and strategic planning for the organization. We’ve seen a rapid expansion since June 1 with 4 staff, 6 part-time educators and a program reaching over 5,000 people in the last 8 months.
How did you learn about EWA? What was your first experience?
My dear friend Beth Galante asked me to come and create the success we saw at Bike Easy for EWA.
Why did you decide to get involved with EWA (as opposed to other similar organizations)?
Because the leadership at the board level is top notch. They comprise bright energy efficiency entrepreneurs, green developers and local political leaders. With a team like that, our success is that much more possible.
What fuels your passion for energy education and conservation?
When I studied environmental policy it was depressing, it felt like we didn’t have a chance against climate change. In my career, I’ve worked to educate youth on ocean science, families on bicycle safety and advocates for marine preservation and each opportunity didn’t provide the chance to make a difference on the single biggest threat to human life on earth: climate change. This job gives me that opportunity every day while also making a difference for Greater New Orleans’ most vulnerable families.
What do you do in your home to effectively reduce energy use and energy expenses?
I got the works! The most effective for the money was duct sealing. But the most exciting was under floor closed-cell foam. The floor felt more solid, and it kept out drafts when it was windy in the winter. That cozy, warm feeling of walking around in your socks and not having cold feet makes me feel fuzzy in my heart, too.
What have you learned by working with EWA?
I knew almost nothing about residential home energy use. But since I started, I got certified by Building Performance Institute as an energy analyst, have taught thousands of youth and given presentations to dozens of neighborhood groups. Weatherization and energy efficiency is simple. The complicated part is talking to each individual home owner and tenant to convince them taking action is worth the cost and effort.
How has EWA changed since 2013?
EWA started as an idea by the leadership at Posigen. When I came on to run the program, we knew we wanted to make a difference in the lives of people in Louisiana. Now we've got 3 full-fledged programs, our board has gotten more professional and we are working to save kilowatt hours, dollars and invest in the lives of the people in Greater New Orleans by reducing their utility bills.
What is your vision for EWA?
To become a statewide force for good by reducing residential energy use for families who need it most in order to save them money and fight climate change.