Category Archives: EDF Climate Corps

Meeting Retrofit Chicago’s Energy Goals: Three Key Constituencies

This commentary originally appeared on the EDF Climate Corps Blog.

ellen_bell287x377Following the lead of mayors and governors across the country, last month the President announced energy as a priority for the year. By focusing on energy management, organizations are contributing to the transformation of energy use in the country, saving billions in energy costs and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Retrofit Chicago initiative, aimed at reducing participating buildings energy use in the city by 20 percent within the next five years, is a compelling example of this. For this reason, EDF Climate Corps, an innovative summer fellowship program that places specially trained graduate students in organizations to save energy and related costs, is working to recruit organizations in Chicago this month.

To ramp up energy savings in the area, EDF Climate Corps has already signed on AT&T, McDonald’s Corporation, Shorenstein Properties and Jones Lang LaSalle. Each summer, EDF Climate Corps fellows evaluate organizations for energy savings opportunities with many of them uncovering stakeholder engagement as a key savings opportunity.

After 400 EDF Climate Corps engagements, the program has found that there are three key constituencies to tap into for energy management:

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Climate, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Illinois, On-bill repayment, Renewable Energy| Comments closed

Verizon Invests Big in Clean Energy

This commentary originally appeared on Verizon’s News Center.

Rory Christian PhotoTechnology giant Verizon is making significant strides toward increasing the use of on-site green energy throughout its national portfolio with plans to finish more than $100 million in clean and renewable energy projects across facilities in seven states by the end of this year. The investment is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by over 15,000 metric tons each year, which is comparable to over 2,000 homes’ annual electricity use. Verizon’s video showcasing its plans includes an introduction by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s very own Victoria Mills, managing director of Corporate Partnerships.

The move builds on the company’s earlier foray into clean technology, resulting in Verizon’s successful 2005 investment in a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell in Garden City, New York. Fuel cells use an electrochemical process in which oxygen and fuel (natural gas or biogas) react to produce amounts of electricity. The process produces less carbon emissions than more conventional sources of electricity, and enables the possibility of affordable on-site, user-owned power generation that is as constant and reliable as a utility and provides an attractive economic payback for customers.

When selecting locations for solar and fuel-cell energy projects, Verizon was careful to consider sites with favorable zoning requirements, utility partners and regulatory regimes. Despite being financially viable, identifying suitable projects was no simple task. Financing these projects without incentives at the federal and state levels proved impossible, and the incentives often came with conflicting timetables and were difficult to leverage. Read More »

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The Power of Networks to Drive Environmental Results

This commentary originally appeared on EDF’s Climate Corps blog.

The world’s top scientists reminded us last week that the case for action on climate change has never been more urgent.  And turning the corner on carbon emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of a warming world will require nothing less than a full-scale transformation of our energy system.  That is a huge political, technological and cultural challenge – one that no individual, organization or country can solve on its own.  It will take the leadership and collaboration of people across the world, pulling together toward a common goal.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has a staff of 400 – small in the global scheme. That is why we are experts at deploying powerful networks to get results. Our success with businesses – whether it’s improving the safety of products sold at Walmart, or saving water at AT&T – all rest on our ability to tap into the knowledge, connections, and influence of our partners.

One of our most successful networks: EDF Climate Corps.  Hundreds of organizations ranging from PepsiCo and Office Depot to the Chicago Public Schools and New York City Housing Authority have tapped EDF Climate Corps for energy strategies and solutions that cut costs and emissions.  And best of all, our hosts and fellows are now spreading these innovations through their own networks, creating a multiplier effect that expands our impact exponentially.

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“Heck Yes”– Millennials Respond to the President’s Call


This commentary originally appeared on the EDF Climate Corps Blog

By: Katie Ware, EDF Senior Marketing Communications Specialist

The environmental community is abuzz with reactions to President Obama's wide-ranging Climate Action Plan. His speech introducing the plan Tuesday sparked immediate conversations about the Keystone XL Pipeline, the coal industry, the transportation sector and half a dozen other hot button environmental issues.

For me, his speech hit home in the first minute. Addressing the crowd at Georgetown University, he said he wanted to speak directly to my generation “because the decisions we make now and in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world that all of you inherit.”

Confident, connected and open to change (says Pew), we Millennials are 95 million strong. We elected and then re-elected Obama looking for precisely this type of bold action on issues we feel passionately about.

“Someday our children and our children’s children will look us in the eye and ask did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more sustainable world. I want to be able to say yes we did. Don’t you want that?” he asked.

My answer to the President is, heck yes, and my peers are with me. Read More »

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EDF Climate Corps Blog Posts Have Moved

For those of you who've scoured EDF’s blogs for news from EDF Climate Corps, life is about to get much easier. From here on out, you'll find all posts and updates from EDF Climate Corps fellows, host organizations and staff on the EDF Climate Corps blog, which launched Tuesday.

For those of you unfamiliar with EDF Climate Corps, it’s EDF’s innovative fellowship program that places specially trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. This year’s class of 98 fellows starts this week with an intensive energy efficiency training underway in Charlotte, NC before they’re set loose to sleuth out energy savings at 88 leading companies, cities and universities across the nation.

Visit us here for news from the frontlines of energy efficiency. This summer we'll also feature several ongoing series, such as a weekly report on themes in organizational change we see bubbling up from the collective experience of our fellows.

If you want to stay in the loop, don't forget to sign up for email alerts in the left-hand menu. If you're signed up for EDF Climate Corps alerts from the EDF Business Blog or the EDF Energy Exchange, you should sign up again at our new location to continue receiving them.

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EDF Climate Corps Blog Posts Are Moving! Subscribe Now To Continue Receiving Them

The flag's about to drop on EDF’s 2012 Climate Corps season, which kicks off Tuesday, May 22. We’re ramping up for the largest class of fellows EDF Climate Corps has ever seen, and we want to make sure you don’t miss a minute of the action. That’s why Climate Corps is launching its own blog platform – the EDF Climate Corps blog. From this day forward, you'll find all of your favorite updates from EDF Climate Corps fellows, hosts and staff on this new online platform. Sign up here to ensure you get the latest from the EDF Climate Corps blog directly in your inbox.

The blog will feature several ongoing series, including regular updates from the 2012 EDF Climate Corps fellows on the energy efficiency frontlines, a weekly trends piece on themes bubbling up from the collective experience of those fellows, and real-time insights from representatives at the companies, cities and universities in our network.

If you’ve enjoyed the EDF Climate Corps posts from the EDF Business blog and the EDF Energy Exchange, don’t miss out.

Sign up here to continue experiencing EDF Climate Corps.

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EDF Climate Corps Trains The Next Generation Of Leaders At Tribal Colleges And Universities

By: Chaprece Henry, EDF Energy Efficiency Research Associate, and David Fox, EDF Energy Efficiency Coordinator

Last week, students from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) attended the 31st Annual Student Conference featuring EDF’s Climate Corps team, hosted by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE). The conference, held in Rapid City, South Dakota, attracted students from schools across the Great Plains and Midwest, including the College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, Salish Kootenai College in Montana and Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas.

Chaprece Henry and David Fox represented EDF Climate Corps at the conference by holding an energy efficiency training session focusing on no cost and low cost energy efficiency solutions for college campuses. About 20 students and five faculty members attended the session representing a range of academic sectors, including environmental science, renewable energy and engineering. Participants learned the ins and outs of energy efficiency from thermostat setbacks to lighting and heating upgrades to quantitative energy analyses. Everyone took home a certificate of completion, packet of energy assessment training materials and a flash drive containing financial analysis tools.

 What’s most exciting is the impact these students and faculty members will have their newly gained learnings and tools. Students will return to their respective TCUs to perform energy assessments and make the business case for energy efficiency, while faculty members plan to integrate energy efficiency into curriculums.

Reflecting on the training, Andi Geyer, Educational Program Manager at NICE, said, “I think this session had a really big impact on the American Indian students that participated. They are already attuned to the environment and the changes that are happening around them and are actively looking for ways to help.”

The training by EDF Climate Corps will have huge impacts for TCUs, as many of them are underfunded. Future energy efficiency projects spearheaded by students and faculty will not only generate energy savings to free up resources needed elsewhere, but also reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

EDF Climate Corps ( places specially trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to build the business case for energy efficiency. EDF Climate Corps fellows analyze energy-saving opportunities and develop custom energy efficiency investment plans that cut costs and carbon emissions. If you would like to host an EDF Climate Corps fellow at your school, please contact Chaprece Henry at or visit for more information.     

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Cities And Universities Join EDF Climate Corps To Save Money And Energy

Cities and universities know the value of saving a dollar and saving a kilowatt, and EDF Climate Corps gives them a plan to do so in a just few, short months.  This summer, EDF Climate Corps is celebrating its fifth year in action with even more energy efficiency savings for cities and universities around the United States.  Joining EDF Climate Corps are returning and newcomer hosts who are eager to pair environment stewardship with smart business practices.

Newcomer host organizations for EDF Climate Corps include the Smithsonian Institution, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Port of Oakland, San Diego State University – Imperial Valley, City of Los Angeles, City of Cleveland (Ohio), Envision Charlotte (North Carolina), Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, City of Atlanta, and Texas A&M University – Kingsville.  Returning hosts include the New York City Public Housing Authority and Howard University (D.C.).

2011 NYCHA EDF Climate Corps Fellows

Since its inception, EDF Climate Corps has recommended energy-saving opportunities and developed custom energy efficiency investment plans that could save $1 billion in net operational costs over the project lifetimes, and avoid over $1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

It’s not too late to host an EDF Climate Corps fellow – the application deadline for 2012 summer hosts is February 23. Cities and universities are encouraged to apply at  For more information and a list of 2012 hosts, please contact

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Caught On Film: Watch How AT&T, QTS & New York City Housing Authority Saved Energy

This commentary was originally posted on the EDF Business Blog

It sounds so simple:  saving energy saves money.  McKinsey & Company estimates that the U.S. could reduce its annual energy consumption 23 percent through efficiency measures, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by over a gigaton and saving both companies and consumers over a trillion dollars.

So why do we as a nation still waste so much energy?  And how do we stop? The fact is organizations face many barriers to implementing energy-saving projects, which have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with the way people make decisions.

One of the most common challenges is the lack of information.  So in the holiday spirit of sharing, we worked with three of our EDF Climate Corps hosts to tell the story of how they are capturing their piece of that trillion-dollar opportunity.

AT&T, QTS and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) welcomed EDF’s cameras into their facilities and spoke openly about the energy efficiency projects they’ve got in the works. Together, we compiled a series of videos spotlighting successful projects in lighting, cooling, heating and data centers.

Here’s a quick rundown of featured projects along with a link to each video:

  • AT&T worked with EDF Climate Corps to uncover potential savings of up to 50 percent associated with cooling costs at 250 of AT&T’s facilities by using a technique called “economizer mode” – a process in which cool external air replaces the need for mechanically chilled air during cool months.
  • AT&T also worked with EDF Climate Corps to find ways to cut its lighting energy use by 80 percent. A project that is now being rolled out across its 250 largest central offices.
  • Data center provider QTS worked with EDF Climate Corps to optimize efficiency in its LEED Gold datacenter and reduce annual costs by $4 million. The company plans to invest $10 million to implement these projects.
  • New York City Housing Authority worked with EDF Climate Corps to analyze the energy savings potential of installing Wireless Energy Modules across its portfolio. The EDF Climate Corps fellows found that the project would lead to more consistent, comfortable temperatures for residents, save $56 million in NYCHA’s annual costs and avoid 177,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

AT&T, QTS and NYCHA have all helped get the word out about how they’re maximizing energy opportunities. AT&T recently shared insights on potential savings at 250 facilities; QTS announced a plan to invest $10 million in energy efficiency projects at the world’s second largest data center; and New York City Housing Authority announced its mission to spur public housing authorities and private landlords around the nation to make smart energy investments.

You can help share these lessons too. Send a video along to a company, city, or university you know, to help them cut costs and carbon emissions in a big way.  Or tell them about EDF Climate Corps, which has uncovered a billion dollars in energy savings for participating organizations in its first four years.  We're recruiting now for 2012 — visit to learn more.

EDF Climate Corps places specially-trained MBA and MPA students in companies, cities and universities to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Sign up to receive emails about EDF Climate Corps, including regular blog posts by our fellows. You can also visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about this project.

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New York City Housing Authority Works With Environmental Defense Fund, Finds $56 Million In Cost Savings With New Technology

 This commentary was originally posted on the EDF Business Blog by Rory Christian, Director, Energy Department, New York City Housing Authority.

Though the first official day of winter isn’t until December 22, New York City is already well into heating season. And with over 178,000 apartments to keep warm, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) knows all too well that cranking up the heat means drastic spikes in energy bills. However, that is not the case for one of our Bronx developments.

This year NYCHA installed a new technology known as Wireless Energy Modules in the 14 buildings that make up Castle Hill Houses. This technology allows NYCHA to provide consistent, comfortable temperatures to our residents in the 2,023 Castle Hill apartments throughout the year, while actually saving money and energy. NYCHA worked with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on this effort. EDF is a national organization widely recognized for innovative solutions to tough problems, such as increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

With the help of EDF Climate Corps, NYCHA analyzed the potential of installing Wireless Energy Modules across our entire portfolio. We found that NYCHA could save $31 million in annual heating costs and up to $25 million in annual electric costs and avoid 177,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. Check out this two-minute video about the project and its savings potential.

What is even more exciting than the impressive savings opportunities is the power of scale the technology offers. The benefits of Wireless Energy Modules aren’t unique to NYCHA and can be realized by public housing authorities and private landlords across the nation. The ability to measure temperature at the apartment level and to heat buildings more consistently provides immense savings potential, as well as greater comfort for residents. 

At NYCHA we are eager to share what we've learned with our contacts across the country. This includes national and regional public housing authority associations, as well as our network of private landlords in our Section 8 program.  And you can help spread the word too. Please share the video  with public and private landlords who are interested in cutting their energy costs, avoiding CO2 emissions and keeping their residents comfortable during heating season.

If NYCHA can save $56 million and avoid tons of emissions each year  in New York City alone,  just think of the savings that would result from a national commitment from housing authorities and private landlords to improve energy efficiency.  Now that's a New Year’s resolution worth making, and keeping!

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