The Environmental Defense Fund said this year’s fellows, 96 specially-trained MBA and MPA students placed with 78 companies, cities and universities, found the reductions by uncovering efficiencies in lighting, computer equipment, and heating and cooling systems. The projects initiated will save $650 million in net operational costs over their lifetimes, EDF said.
The changes will also cut 600 million kilowatt hours of electricity use and 27 million therms of natural gas a year, equivalent to the annual energy use of 38,000 homes, the organization said.
EDF Climate Corps fellows work with host organizations to capture immediate energy savings through equipment modifications and upgrades and also on strategic projects – such as employee engagement campaigns and decision-support tools – that deliver systemic and lasting reductions in energy use and carbon pollution.
The Corps is now in its fourth year, and projects accounting for 86 percent of the energy savings identified by 2008-2010 fellows are complete or underway.
Examples of work by 2011 fellows include:
- McDonald’s worked with Pia Jean Kristiansen, an EDF Climate Corps fellow and MBA candidate from the University of Michigan, to find creative ways to engage the company’s estimated 700,000 U.S. restaurant employees in energy efficiency initiatives. Kristiansen’s work will result in an educational video developed to educate employees on ways to reduce an average restaurant’s energy consumption up to 10 percent.
- Neal Tsay, an EDF Climate Corps fellow and MBA candidate from UCLA, worked with sustainability leaders at Target to develop a plan to achieve its commitment to earn ENERGY STAR ratings for 75 percent of its U.S. buildings by 2015. Additionally, Tsay sought to improve energy efficiency in Target stores by proposing initiatives that could eliminate 50,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year and generate several million dollars in annual energy savings.
- The New York City Housing Authority learned how to reduce annual heating costs by $58 million, thanks to a plan developed by EDF Climate Corps fellows Harrison Thomas and Amy Kochanowsky, who are working on degrees in business, environmental management and public policy at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Their findings could cut the housing authority’s annual energy costs by 11 percent.
- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) University discovered it could save $2.5 million over the next five years by implementing the recommendations from EDF Climate Corps fellows LaKausha Simpson, a PhD candidate in engineering at A&T, and Jonathan Wilson, an MBA candidate at Wake Forest University. A&T’s investments in energy efficiency measures, such as improved lighting, will pay for themselves in only three months, EDF said.
A full list of organizations participating the Climate Corps is available here.