Donate Menu


Roy Torbert



  • Islands Energy

Roy is a Principal on the Islands Energy Program specializing in integrated energy planning, project cost analyses, and renewable and efficiency finance to expand and accelerate the transition to a global clean energy economy. Roy manages the Islands team helping the governments and utilities of Caribbean islands reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels. He has worked with leading universities (including Arizona State University) and global multinationals (including McDonald’s Corporation) to analyze net-zero opportunities and deliver roadmaps to reaching carbon reduction goals. Roy’s research efforts include exploring ways to reduce the soft costs of solar (specifically financing costs), valuing all the benefits of a highly efficient building, and assisting on analysis for RMI’s Reinventing Fire initiative and book.


Prior to RMI, Roy was a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C., working on software implementation and strategic management projects for the Army. With Booz Allen, Roy also implemented and managed a procurement-focused software system for a Department of Defense client.

In 2008, Roy interned with the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels and was responsible for armaments issues. In 2007, Roy interned with G.E. in Dubai in the Infrastructure division and worked on renewable energy, environmental regulations, and governmental policy. He has expertise collaborating with regulators, policymakers, and private industry in the United Arab Emirates and Belgium. He has been trained in project management, software implementation, and data analysis.


Bachelor of Arts, International Relations and Business Finance, College of William and Mary (2009)


Boulder, CO




“The entire RMI community embraces a curious and creative approach to highly impactful and important work. I’m proud to be a part of that effort.”

Authored Blog Posts

Saint Lucia’s Journey to a Renewable Future

In the southern Lesser Antilles lies the green, mountainous island of Saint Lucia, famous for the scenic Piton mountains and honeymooners. The island’s 180,000 residents and tourism-driven economy depend heavily on reliable electricity service. Today, that electricity is generated almost exclusively from imported diesel fuel, leaving Saint Lucia vulnerable to…

Efficiency and Renewables on the Menu for McDonald’s

Not many people associate fast food with clean energy. But that’s exactly what one of the largest quick-service restaurants in the world is exploring. RMI recently completed a net-zero-energy study for McDonald’s, which explores how to offset the energy consumption of an entire restaurant with renewable energy.

An Unconventional Look at an Unconventional Building

Welcome to the new headquarters of the Hilton Foundation. At first glance, you’d notice solar panels on the roof, abundant windows and daylight, and accessible natural outdoor spaces. But what really sets this high-performance building apart can’t be seen quite so literally.

Getting Big Investment to Retrofit Small Buildings

In April 2011, we Talked Small Building Retrofit Finance after a finance workshop held in Boulder by Rocky Mountain Institute and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Association (NEEA). Now that nearly three years have passed, what, if anything, has changed in retrofit financing for small commercial buildings?

Seattle Unveils “Pay for Performance” Pilot Program

The Pacific Northwest already offers low electricity rates due to clean hydropower and decades of effective energy efficiency programs. A major player in that story has been Seattle City Light, which is testing another innovative approach: Pay for Performance.

Building Energy Use is Diverse and Little Understood

A new report by New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability reveals the range of energy performance among NYC buildings, finding that some use up to five times as much energy as same-sized buildings used for similar purposes.

Busting landlord-tenant barriers for greater energy efficiency

To date, conversations around energy efficiency between landlords and tenants have largely revolved around the fact that landlords must pay for upgrades, but tenants receive the immediate benefits. The conflict between landlords and tenants stemming from “split incentives” to install upgrades has been identified as one of the top barriers to capturing energy savings in buildings.

GSA Challenges ESCOs to Retrofit to Net Zero

Energy service companies (ESCOs) have provided billions of dollars worth of energy savings through building retrofits — and inspired even the most reluctant clients to seek out energy efficiency. Yet certain building owners can achieve far greater energy and cost savings through the adoption of deep energy retrofits

Talking Small Building Retrofit Finance

What exactly is a ‘zombie building’? “Toadstools?” Or M&V? What’s a roof pack and what’s a RTU? Each of these questions was raised last week at a workshop convened by Rocky Mountain Institute and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Association in Boulder. The Energy Efficiency and Capital Markets workshop included participants from banks, energy service companies, commercial real estate firms and utility related organizations who came together to discuss the key financing constraints for deep energy retrofits in smaller scale buildings (less than 50,000 square feet).