Interview with Jimmy

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Jimmy was recently interviewed by Diane Freaney, a student and writer who shares her thoughts and experiences with the world at We thought some of our friends and collaborators would appreciate this, so here you are!


This is the third post in our new series called Community Impact Leaders. These are people in the community who are creating change for the better, rather than just their pocketbooks. I hope you enjoy meeting these leaders and feel inspired by their work. If you know of someone you feel would make a great Community Impact Leader, please reach out to me.

Meet Jimmy JiaJimmy_Jia_Headshot

Jimmy Jia is an educator, innovator and entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Distributed Energy Management, who enjoys large systems problems. He has a multi-disciplinary background, ranging from inventor, author, salesman, educator, strategist, and speaker. He has applied his expertise to creating solutions in sustainable energy, whether in finance, policy, knowledge management, operations or product design. I initially met Jimmy at Bainbridge Graduate Institute (now Presidio) as he is the lead faculty for the Energy discipline.

What is Your Project?

I am the CEO of Distributed Energy Management, a business that uses activity-based-costing of energy to align utility consumption with business outcomes. Our clients see systematic reduction in the consumption of electricity, gas, water, and trash because we look at how they can maximize resource productivity while improving profitability.

Why Did You Start This Endeavor?

We realized that companies prioritize achieving productivity goals over implementing cost-cutting measures. Yet utilities are a critical resource that one consumes to achieve those goals. Since companies, on average, are wasting 30% of their utility resources, we saw an opportunity to not only help clients save money but also improve the bottom line. To do so, one needs to view energy as a resource productivity problem, not just an efficiency problem.

Why Are You Passionate About Your Work?

If we want to tackle the climate change and carbon problem, we can’t just become more ‘efficient’ at how we consume. We have to consume less. The easiest place to eliminate consumption is to eliminate wasted utilities that do not contribute to an economic outcome. As a nation, if we eliminated our 30% waste, we would return to 1997 carbon production levels.

How Do You Help Everyday People on Main Street?

Example client stories:
– 30% reduction in electricity in the first year alone.
– Implement a revolving fund that has invested over $100,000 of energy savings into additional capital projects.
– Bring in $50,000 in outside incentives and grants to execute projects.
– Stabilize run-away utility costs and give businesses peace-of-mind that their long-term strategy will manage an unknown risk.
– Be an emergency fund to repair and replace broken equipment.

Why Should Others Care?

Implementing best-business practices is by nature long-term sustainable. Rather than thinking of energy measures as disruptive, we view improvements as building resiliency and the longevity of a business.

What Motivates You?

Through helping our clients implement best business practices and eliminate waste, we’ve avoided over 60 tonnes of carbon that would have otherwise been consumed.

Call to Action

Start looking at your utility, maintenance and capital upgrades as one budget.  New equipment requires less maintenance and less energy to run. Find the outcome that you care about and discover all of the ways you can accomplish the task without consuming energy.