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        Amanda Godward, 29

        Owner, chief energy engineer, Ecotelligent Homes LLC, Farmington Hills

        Photo by Nathan Skid / Crain's Detroit Business Amanda Godward, owner and chief energy engineer of Ecotelligent Homes LLC, Farmington Hills, is a 2013 Crain's 20 in their 20s honoree.
        • Why she lives in metro Detroit: Farmington Hills government and community supports environmental initiatives through a sustainability commission.
        • Claim to fame: Launching a growing energy-savings firm.
        • Next step: Growing a midsize commercial client base.

        Like many engineers, Amanda Godward entered her field because of her appreciation for hands-on technical work, only to find herself sitting in a cubicle "crunching out Microsoft Excel" spreadsheets.

        Working for an automaker after earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University, Godward saw that she wouldn't be happy with that work and started her own company.

        "It was a downer, so that's why I wanted to get out. Instead of working in the auto industry, I did my own thing," Godward said.

        Her business, Ecotelligent Homes LLC in Farmington Hills, does energy-usage audits of buildings and installs insulation, heating and cooling, window, lighting and ventilation features that save energy.

        Most customers are homeowners, but Ecotelligent last year began expanding into the commercial property business and has worked on five business properties so far.

        Godward plans to target small and midsize businesses with 50,000 square feet or less of property because most of her competitors work on properties with 100,000 square feet of space or more, she said.

        Besides energy savings, the commercial side of the business looks at factors that impact comfort for employees, details as small as poor lighting in a certain area that can affect productivity and employee retention, she said.

        "It can be as simple as getting rid of some drafts," Godward said. "All those things really do add up to a big difference."

        The company employs three people and had revenue last year of $360,000, up from $211,000 the year before and $25,000 in 2010. Godward hopes the added commercial business will boost the figure to $650,000 this year.

        The new gig allows her to use the knowledge of thermal dynamics she gained in school. To help others apply their skills in ways they find satisfying, Godward mentors female students at Kettering about jobs in engineering outside the automotive industry.

        She also works with the Detroit Area Green Sector Skills Alliance, which trains workers and connects them with employers who need green job certifications, and Peace, Love & Planet, a program to teach children about energy consumption and environmental issues.