Sarah Arsenault

Marketing and Communications Manager, Naveco Power

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Jill-of-all-trades for a clean future

Energy efficiency typically lands on the “demand” side of the energy equation. But New Brunswick renewables developer Naveco Power regards the fabled negawatt as just another form of clean-power supply — the one with the smallest possible impact, because it doesn’t need to be built in the first place.

“We consider retrofits a kind of clean energy,” says Sarah Arsenault, Naveco’s marketing and communications manager. “With efficiency we are able to save energy and reduce a building’s carbon footprint, so anything that has to do with that, we consider clean energy.”

While the Fredericton-based startup is currently focused more on solar generation, as a showcase of possibility for building owners, it recently retrofitted its own Fredericton offices for energy efficiency. By auditing the building and then applying a variety of strategies and upgrades right under its own roof, the startup has cut its energy costs in half. The next step to this retrofit is the addition of solar panels to make it the largest privately-owned rooftop array in the province.

Naveco would take the same approach with other commercial customers looking to bolster their bottom line. “We’re kind of a one-stop-shop,” she adds.

The native New Brunswicker has been in the gig for a few years now, and started at the company in late 2017 not long after graduating from Fredericton’s St. Thomas University in communications, after a brief career stop in the nonprofit sector.

Working in a startup atmosphere, it’s all hands on deck. “I don’t really have a typical day,” she says. “I do everything from social media, to website, to graphic design — just any of the communications tools at our disposal to educate people about clean energy.”

“Being in a startup is exciting. Eventually we are going to grow, and when that day comes, it’s going to be really great.”

“To be honest, I didn’t know much about clean energy,” the 27-year-old says. “But I saw it as a great learning and teaching opportunity, which has kind of come full circle, since now I’m the one educating people on the importance of clean energy!”

She delivers her curriculum via a range of digital and real-world tools and platforms, from social media, to websites, to email.

“I know so many people that have had to move [out of New Brunswick] because there weren’t many opportunities here. The clean energy and energy efficiency sector can create so many jobs just as it is. I’m pretty happy to be a part of providing that in my home province.” 

Speaking of opportunities, in the past five years Naveco has given more than 100 student interns a foot in the door in Canada’s growing energy efficiency and clean energy sectors. “We’re getting more and more interest from youth just wanting to learn about the sector,” she said. “And we’re happy to teach them and get them involved.”

And the future? From where she stands, things are looking up. “We want to make it more accessible to receive clean and affordable energy in New Brunswick and get up there on the map, ranking high in the efficiency world,” she says.

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