As I read the news of those who hit the streets for the climate strike, I reflected on my own habits. I consider myself an environmentally responsible person. But what am I actually doing and how am I improving? Am I measuring my impact? As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

I take public transportation a lot, walk and use a bikeshare. I barely turn on my TV…but I have not one but two laptops, two phones, a computer monitor, home printer/scanner, shredder – and everything now needs to be plugged in and charged. These technological advancements seem like “necessities,” but do I really need to use an electric toothbrush? How much is our technologically-advanced lifestyle adding to energy usage and to GHG emissions? Is it a drop in the bucket, or contributing to a rise in sea level?

Each month when I receive my utility bill, I revel in how low I can get my bill ($25.67 is my 12-month low currently). However, in the peak months of the summer when the air conditioning is “needed,” I’m just guessing on my energy usage until the end of the month and then am dismayed with a $150 bill – too late for me to make a change in usage.

Some of our commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have been telling us they don’t want to be surprised either when the monthly utility bill comes. C&I customers would like access to their electric and water usage data frequently enough so that they can detect unintended usage or waste quickly and take steps to improve their sustainability numbers. That’s just what we at Itron Idea Labs are working on – getting customers the energy and water data they need enterprise-wide and as close to real-time as possible so that they can identify ways to reduce waste and unintended usage. Because once it is measured, C&I customers can improve – and small changes at large companies can make a big difference.

If we want to REALLY be sustainable, we have to take a more active approach at reducing our impact in the world. That all starts with knowing how much we are consuming and emitting. To learn how Itron can help your business measure your energy and water usage and take measures to improve, visit itron.com.

Cecily Kovatch
Entrepreneur-in-Residence - Itron
Cecily Kovatch is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Itron Idea Labs. She develops new and innovative business opportunities for Itron to better serve the needs of C&I customers. s. Kovatch has 25 years’ experience building and leading new business lines and departments at energy and financial services companies. Prior to Itron Idea Labs, she created, launched and led the innovation program at a renewable energy company. She has also held leadership roles in marketing, operations, research and engineering. She leverages her multi-functional “intrapreneurial” expertise to advise early stage startups globally as well as teach Entrepreneurial Thinking to engineering students at Stevens Institute of Technology. Ms. Kovatch received a B.A. in geology from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.