Howard University has selected VEIC and CustomerFirst Renewables to develop a robust, future-oriented 5-year campus Sustainability Plan. The creation of the Sustainability Plan will include dedicated engagement with students, faculty, and staff to elevate voices and encourage participation and stakeholder commitment throughout the process.

The Sustainability Plan will align the university’s sustainability work with the pillars of the Howard Forward strategic plan and will include the development of sustainability-focused academic and research opportunities, cultivating partnerships and community connections to sustainability, capturing benefits from operational improvements including renewable energy and water reuse, and supporting campus finances through innovative funding models and procedural guidance.

“We’re excited to embark on the development of a 5-year Campus-wide Sustainability Plan for Howard with the VEIC team,” said Alfonzye “Chip” Chisholm, Howard University’s Director, Office of Sustainability. “This effort will not only amplify the pillars of the Howard Forward strategic plan but also help us accelerate progress towards our energy, climate and sustainability goals, increase our financial stability, attract new students and set a vision for excellence in academics and operations.”

VEIC will leverage its knowledge supporting customers across the US with achieving their clean energy goals through innovative and equitable solutions that benefit them, their partners and their communities. “Strategic planning is a complex and vitally important activity, and it requires both technical and behavioral analysis and solutions” Zoe Dawson, strategic energy management coach and VEIC’s project lead said. “We're eager to help Howard University determine the most promising pathways to achieve their sustainability goals, and ensuring reliable metrics are applied to help track their progress and celebrate achievements along the way.” VEIC and CustomerFirst Renewables are also proud to be sponsoring a Howard student internship offering through this project. This position will focus on providing professional experience across a range of sustainability-related activities, including but not limited to the development and implementation of the Howard campus-wide sustainability plan.

In addition to this opportunity, engagement will persist through the creation of a Howard University Sustainability Leadership Council. This Council will include various sub-committees comprised of students, faculty, staff, and local leaders in sustainability. These partnerships encourage active and meaningful participation while providing avenues for students to shape the future of Howard and develop key skills and relationships for career opportunities. 

VEIC and CustomerFirst Renewables’ team approach with Howard University builds on both firms’ deep relationships in the D.C. region and a unique partnership combining expertise in supply-side energy and water solutions from CustomerFirst Renewables and demand side energy solutions from VEIC. Chris O’Brien, who advises the University on its ongoing solar initiative, and a Director with CustomerFirst Renewables, said, “our team is confident that Howard has the opportunity to capture significant value by accessing the benefits of renewable energy and water optimization and reuse, particularly in D.C. where incentives are aligned to provide compelling cost savings. We look forward to working collaboratively with VEIC to help Howard design and implement effective strategies that will support their sustainability efforts for years to come.”

VEIC and CustomerFirst Renewables were selected through a competitive bidding process. The project is scheduled to kick off in January 2022 and conclude in August 2022.

VEIC: VEIC is a sustainable energy company on a mission to generate the energy solutions the world needs. For over 30 years VEIC has been working with governments, utilities, foundations, and businesses across North America to develop and deploy clean energy services that provide immediate and lasting change. With expertise in energy efficiency, building decarbonization, transportation electrification, and new approaches for a clean and flexible grid, VEIC brings innovative solutions to the market. VEIC is nationally recognized for developing pilots and programs that optimize energy use, reduce energy burdens for low-income customers, and advance new technologies. In addition to our full-service consulting business, VEIC administers three large-scale sustainable energy programs: Efficiency Vermont, Efficiency Smart, and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). 

CustomerFirst Renewables (CFR): CFR enables large businesses and institutions in achieving their sustainability and resiliency goals by addressing the environmental footprint of their energy and water consumption by providing expert advice, multidisciplinary insights, and tailored solutions to reduce demand for brown power and municipal water. CFR recommends and guides clients through implementation of cost-effective, risk-minimized energy and water procurement strategies.

CFR Media Contact: Lindsey Longendyke; [email protected]

Howard University: Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

Howard Media Contact: Aaliyah Butler; [email protected]


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