The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to provide a better quality of life for all residents while maintaining nature’s ability to function over time by minimizing waste, preventing pollution, promoting efficiency and developing local resources to revitalize the local economy, as well as reducing energy consumption in city-owned facilities, to cost-effectively lower utility operating costs, and to ensure occupant comfort and safety in city facilities.
The Office is advised by a community-led group, the Environmental Sustainability Task Force, which holds monthly public meetings.
Leah Bamberger, Director of Sustainability
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza appointed Leah Bamberger as the Director of Sustainability in April 2015. Leah brings a wealth of experience in municipal sustainability efforts. She previously managed the City of Boston’s citywide sustainability initiative, Greenovate Boston. In this role, she worked on policy and community engagement and led the development of the City’s 2014 Climate Action Plan. Prior to this position, Leah served as a consultant to a variety of local and regional governments and nonprofits in the northeast, supporting their climate and sustainability planning work.
The Sustainability Director’s responsibilities include identifying opportunities to reduce the City’s energy costs, working with community groups, residents, and businesses to implement the City’s first comprehensive sustainability action plan, transitioning residents to the Recycle Together program, and other projects.
Leah has a B.A. from the College of Charleston in Political Science and Environmental Studies and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She resides in the West End neighborhood.
Dino Larson, Municipal Energy Manager
The City of Providence’s Municipal Energy Manager is responsible for tracking utility billing and energy data, supporting the Department of Public Property in identifying and implementing energy efficiency construction projects, advising on energy procurement strategies and energy policy, and making energy budget projections. The energy manager uses utility billing data to benchmark energy use at all municipal buildings and schools, helping the City identify opportunities for energy savings through efficiency upgrades, such as transitioning to high-efficiency boilers, or installing LED lighting. When installations are completed, the energy manager uses the benchmarked data to examine the impact of the measures, reporting to the City on the energy savings. The City’s energy manager also oversees the City’s greenhouse gas inventory, an annual record of City-wide greenhouse gas emissions, and monitors City wastewater permit compliance with the Narragansett Bay Commission.
The City’s current energy manager, Dino Larson, is married and has three grown children, and two grandchildren. He is a member of Local 1033, and has worked for the City in a variety of capacities since 1981. He served as the Water Safety Instructor at Pleasant View Elementary School from 1992 until 2010 when he became the energy manager for Providence Schools until 2012, when the energy manager position was added as a staff position in the Office of Sustainability.
Dilip Shah, Building Energy Advisor
As Building Energy Advisor, Dilip Shah is charged with advancing citywide initiatives to advance energy efficiency in large existing buildings, both public and private sector. He is currently working with stakeholders including large private property owners, to develop programs and policies that would increase the energy efficiency of the city’s building stock and help Providence achieve its goal to become a carbon-neutral city by 2050.
Dilip is a 25-year energy industry veteran, with wide ranging account management, business development, engineering, and regulatory experience. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Bryant University, Rhode Island and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Gujarat University, India. He is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Demand-Side Management Professional (CDSM), and a Certified Energy Procurement Professional (CEP). Additionally, he is a senior member of the Association of Energy Engineers. Over the years, as an adjunct faculty member, he has taught various management and math courses at three institutions of higher learning in Rhode Island.
Lauren Vunderink is joining the Office of Sustainability from January to July 2017 as a SolSmart Advisor. During these six months, Lauren will be working to designate the City of Providence as a solar-friendly city through the Department of Energy’s SolSmart Initiative, which strives to make solar more easily accessible to residents and businesses. With support from The Solar Foundation (TSF), Meister Consultants Group (MCG), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), among other groups, SolSmart Advisors are working around the country to reduce the cost of solar and promote public participation in solar programs.
Lauren is passionate about advancing clean energy resources that protect the environment and public health, economically empower electricity users, provide energy resiliency and stability to communities, and increase national security. She has experience in solar sales with Sungevity, energy efficiency public policy with the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), and nonprofit environmental work through the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Clean Water Action.Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Sign up for our monthly newsletter