Kat Donnelly, Ph.D., P.E.,

Kat Donnelly, Ph.D., P.E.


Kat is a nationally recognized behavior change, technology, and strategy expert with 25 years of professional experience in the energy efficiency and clean energy industry. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Empower Efficiency, overseeing product and business development, strategic planning, and client relations. Previously, she has served as program co-designer and evaluator for a $4.2 million Department of Energy (DOE) project entitled the Connecticut Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge, as well as co-leading the marketing, strategy, and engagement design for Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now® commercial behavior program, which rolled into Envision Charlotte.

Kat is currently leading work on two similar large-scale behavior change pilots for an Investor Owned Utility (IOU), including the residential pilot in three medium-sized cities and the commercial pilot in two large cities in California. She is a valued advisor to various organizations on energy-related topics, including the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), Behavior Energy and Climate Change conference (BECC), Public Utility Commissions, IBM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and Stanford University. Kat holds two Masters of Science degrees and a Ph.D. from MIT with a focus on energy efficiency, clean energy, and behavior change; she is also a licensed engineer. An experienced entrepreneur, she is also the Founder and President of EMpower Devices and Associates (2008).

“I love tackling big problems with our customers. We work together to develop profitable businesses, healthy people, and sustainable places. One of my founding goals for Empower Efficiency is to create technology and long-term cultural solutions for organizations and companies, buildings, and communities. We do this by combining our unique experience in behavior and social science with technology solutions, and by encouraging simple ways to improve how people use energy and other company resources. These simple changes add up to a big collective impact. It feels great to take personal responsibility in my own life and to make a big difference through our efforts with our customers and partners.” – Kat