Kelly Shelton is a Sherlock Holmes of the energy world. She does not wear a deerstalker cap or smoke a pipe.

But she can be found in schools and municipal buildings, examining appliances, lights, and windows …

Shelton: “… to figure out why energy is being wasted and looking for opportunities to save.”

Her Chicago-based company, Shelton Solutions, starts with a client’s energy bill, to see if anything looks odd. For example, one school had high energy costs, even during summer vacation. It turned out that some A.C. units were running in empty classrooms.

After learning about how a client uses energy, Shelton suggests ways to save. That may include adding sensors that turn lights off when a room is empty, adjusting water heater settings, or sealing windows to eliminate drafts.

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She says many of the same strategies work for individuals looking to reduce wasted energy at home. For example, people can scrutinize their energy bills, notice whether some rooms are too warm or too cool, and turn appliances off when they’re not being used. If they do, they can save money and help reduce carbon pollution.

Shelton: “Energy is a resource that we really do need to take seriously for future generations.”

Reporting credit: Anna Moritz/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Eileen Mignoni

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...