ehrhardt_martinez_160June 15, 2011

The Garrison Institute is pleased to announce that Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on the behavioral and social dimensions of energy and climate change, will join the Institute as the new director of its Climate, Mind and Behavior (CMB) program effective July 1, 2011.

CMB draws on new insights from cognitive, behavioral and social sciences about the drivers of human behavior to generate more effective climate solutions. The program serves as the hub of a growing learning network that connects science with leaders in the fields of policy, regulation and implementation and makes practicable behavioral approaches available for various needs and scales, from building management to city government (CMB’s subprojects include Climate, Buildings and Behavior and Climate, Cities and Behavior). Among CMB’s many collaborators are the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the Urban Land Institute, ICLEI, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and Enterprise Community Partners and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez will be the first staff director of the CMB program, which was originated and led in recent years by Jonathan Rose, co-founder and board chairman of the Garrison Institute.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez join the Garrison Institute,” said the Institute’s CEO Dr. Mary Pearl. “She brings with her an outstanding research background in social behavior in relation to energy use, and a history of remarkable leadership in bringing together a wide spectrum of key thinkers and agents of social change. We look forward to her building on the visionary leadership and contagious enthusiasm Jonathan Rose brought to the founding and early development of our CMB Program.”

“The climate imperative demands that we achieve large-scale, wide-scope change in the shortest possible time frame,” said Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez. “That requires we address the human dimensions of the climate problem, applying scientific insights to on-ground realities and creating viable solutions. CMB has provided a foundation for that effort, and I am excited to be part of it. I will be working to extend CMB’s network of collaborators, expand its knowledge base of scientific insights and practices, and share it more broadly to catalyze change."

“The Institute’s work is grounded in science, and we are really fortunate to have such a distinguished scientist as Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez leading our climate and behavior work,” Jonathan Rose said. “Her strengths – not only in research, but also in convening field leaders and building networks – fit perfectly with CMB’s needs. CMB’s work of applying behavioral science to climate solutions in the policy, communications, cities and building sectors will be greatly enriched by her leadership.”

Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez has nearly 20 years of experience in applied and academic research with a focus on the social and behavioral dimensions of energy and climate change. She comes to the Garrison Institute from the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) at the University of Colorado, where she remains a Senior Research Associate. She is a cofounder of the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference and served as the BECC Conference Chair in 2009.  Prior to that she led the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) research program on the social and behavioral aspects of energy efficiency and environmental change.

In 2009 she was invited to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Her testimony explained how insights from the social and behavioral sciences can help save energy in buildings, industry and the residential and transportation sectors through maximizing potential technology-based savings, improving decision making and facilitating smart energy behaviors.

Dr. Ehrhardt-Martinez is co-editor of the ebook People-Centered Initiatives for Increasing Energy Savings and co-author of "Advanced Metering Initiatives and Residential Feedback Programs:  A Meta-Review for Household Electricity Saving Opportunities." She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Arts and Manufactures and a member of the Climate Change Task Force Steering Committee for the American Sociological Association.

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