Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. This month features Erin Linney, UCSC alumna and former PowerSave Campus member, who now works at ADM Associates, a company that provides energy efficiency evaluations.
I graduated from UCSC in 2013 with a BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Politics.
What's your favorite green tip?
Bill McKibben is a personal hero of mine and I believe the 350.org and other similar divestment
movements can have a powerful impact on the future of fossil fuels. I recently attended a workshop
hosted by Women in Cleantech & Sustainability called “Kicking Coal out of your portfolio - Sustainable
Investment”. I have always viewed the divestment movement as a strategy to apply pressure to
universities and businesses to divest. However, I learned that I can do research on which mutual funds,
ETFs and stocks reflect my values and will return a profit from a sustainable investing professional. As
you graduate and begin your career, I encourage you to sustainability invest your money, because I am
convinced our generation can make the change towards a fossil free world.
What does "sustainability" mean to you?
I grew up in an intentional community in the hills of Santa Rosa, called Monan’s Rill. My family’s
electricity was mainly supplied by solar panels. We dried our clothes in the sunshine, and grew most of our
own food. The community members all shared a common intention-- a society that emphasizes
competition, materialism, and self-enhancement encourages isolation and alienation. The community
views cooperation and a spirit of mutual support are highly desirable alternatives.
I believe sustainability requires an intentional commitment, and sustainable change requires working
together, sharing resources, supporting each other.
How do you practice sustainability in your daily life?
As a young girl, I loved tracking the family’s energy usage and learning how solar panels capture the
sun’s energy to generate electricity. Our solar panels sparked my interest in implementing sustainable
energy solutions, and was the main reason I decided to major in Environmental Studies and begin a
career in energy efficiency. Every day I work to improve the energy use in buildings throughout the U.S. I
am also passionate about water quality issues, renewable energy policy, and green building. I plan to get
a masters in environmental public policy soon, and will continue to find tangible and feasible solutions
to the major environmental problems that we face as a society today.
When you were at UCSC, how did sustainability relate to your role?
I worked with the UCSC PowerSave Campus for three years, where I designed and implemented
multifaceted behavior change programs and energy efficiency projects. Through my role as Team
Manager, I supported student interns in developing leadership skills such as communicating effectively
with campus stakeholders, managing project deliverables, and implementing educational outreach
campaigns. I also had the opportunity to present at several higher education conferences, where I
learned about best practices in sustainability and was inspired to continue working in this field post-
Did you have a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC?
I always enjoyed Earth Summit. I loved how every sustainability organization came together to
showcase their projects, outreach to students, and brainstorm ways to implement sustainability within
the UCSC community. It was inspiring to hear all the creative ideas for future projects outlined in the
UCSC Blueprint for Sustainability.
Can you tell us about your work at ADM Associates?
Currently, I work with an energy efficiency program evaluation firm in Fremont. I help manage
commercial and residential energy efficiency programs for utilities across the US and suggest
innovative solutions to increase energy savings. I analyze energy retrofits using monitoring data and
information about the building operations. Each site analysis is unique and requires critical thinking as
well as attention to detail to calculate the energy savings. In addition, I synthesize the complex site
analyses to communicate the results to a diverse audience. I couldn’t have landed the role I have today
without the training and education I received through PowerSave Campus and the Sustainability Office.