The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has announced the results of their Climate Corps fellowships, which over the summer placed 96 specially-trained Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) students in 78 companies, cities, and universities.
The fellows identify energy-saving opportunities and develop custom energy efficiency investment plans that will cut costs and carbon emissions, such as equipment modifications and upgrades as well as by employee engagement campaigns and decision-support tools.
Cumulatively, the Climate Corps fellows’ findings would cut 600 million kilowatt hours of electricity use and 27 million therms of natural gas annually as well as avoiding 440,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the annual emissions of 87,000 passenger vehicles. In all, these savings are worth $650 million in net operational costs over the various projects’ lifetimes.
Victoria Mills, managing director of EDF’s Corporate Partnerships program, notes, “In this economy, everyone is looking for ways to save, and energy efficiency is a huge, and largely untapped, opportunity. EDF Climate Corps has shown once again the magnitude of cost savings and carbon pollution reductions available to organizations that know how to look for them.”
EDF established Climate Corps in 2008 to reduce carbon pollution and to date projects accounting for 86 percent of the energy savings identified by 2008-2010 fellows are complete or underway. The number of fellows has increased from seven in the first year to the nearly 100 participants in 2011. In the United States, buildings account for 70 percent of electricity consumption and more than a third of carbon pollution, so in 2009, the EDF started placing fellows in cities and universities.
Michael Regan, EDF director of energy efficiency, explains, “Cities, colleges and others can make smart energy investments just like companies. The program is building a diverse movement to transform how people think about energy efficiency and make it a top priority for everyone who pays a utility bill.”
The EDF Climate Corps is currently recruiting fellows and host organizations for 2012. For more information, visit edfclimatecorps.org.