kW Engineering | Sustainable Buildings & Energy Efficiency Consulting

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Jim Kelsey, Founder

Jim Kelsey founded kW Engineering in 1998, driven by a commitment to using engineering to improve energy efficiency in commercial and industrial mechanical systems. Throughout his career, Jim was dedicated to positively impacting the environment. 

Jim left a long-lasting impact on the energy engineering world. He chaired the committee for Standard 211 Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits and was a committee member of Standard 100 Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings. Jim led the development of TC 4.7’s revision of the ASHRAE publication Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits. He served on the Board of the California Energy Efficiency Industry Council, where he worked with industry, utilities, and state regulators to develop energy efficiency policies that met environmental and business goals. Jim’s passion has always been to find new ways to make energy audits effective and credible.  

A sabbatical for the climate and me

In 2017, Jim took an extended sabbatical to pursue two of his greatest passions—cycling and combating climate change. He embarked on a cross-country journey, pedaling from Portland, Maine, back to his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. This ride wasn’t just about environmental advocacy; it was about promoting happiness, health, and community connection through biking. 

Jim retired in 2022, but his legacy continues to thrive at kW Engineering. His philosophy of bringing one’s authentic self to work and prioritizing a good quality of life is deeply embedded in the company culture. We encourage and support our employees to pursue their personal interests and maintain a balanced, fulfilling life, even if that means riding a bike across the country. Jim’s spirit of adventure and dedication to sustainability remain integral to kW Engineering’s mission and values. 

Honoring Eben Twombly

kW Engineering owes a huge debt of gratitude to Eben Twombly and his whole family for the many significant contributions that Eben made to the company. Eben and his wonderful balance of humor, wisdom and practicality are part of the DNA of kW Engineering and a big part of its success. Sadly, we lost Eben way too early to cancer in 2010, just as kW was really hitting its stride and following a big period of growth, especially in the areas of measurement and verification that Eben helped pioneer.

Anyone who knew Eben will remember him with a smile on their face because he was one of the “fun-est” and funniest people you would ever have the pleasure of working with. Making “authentic work noises” was one of the things he learned doing construction (ha). Eben always led with a joke first but he was an “engineer’s engineer when it came down to energy savings and running a business. Eben was well respected because, at the end of the day, he knew his stuff theoretically but also maintained a common-sense practicality that led to success in engineering and in business.

To separate the sides of Eben’s life into two; personal and business, would be odd because he preferred to combine the two. Anyone lucky enough to join Eben for a remote site visit trip was in for an adventure. When travelling he was a frenzy of networking & communicating with friends and colleagues – one minute texting his wife or kids, the next sending out the final version of the proposal for review or reaching out to our flyfishing guide to find out when we could get back on the river next.

Eben was a natural with clients and oversaw the greatest period of growth that kW had experienced from 2005 to 2010. He excelled at business development because he wasn’t a salesman, he was always looking for the best way to help a client with what they needed most. And with his engineering talent, he could always find great way to balance cost effectiveness with measurement accuracy to find a practical solution.

Those of us a kW who knew him, still miss him. Eben was a big character who brought a lot of people joy and success. We’re proud to honor him here and to continue to value the qualities that he brought; a healthy enjoyment of work, a practical approach, and a commitment to doing something good for our kids.