Monthly Archives: June 2011

The New GTL: Green Thinking and Living!

By: Emily Martin, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at the Township of Ocean, NJ; MEM candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; LEED Green Associate

Photo Courtesy of Emily MartinImmediately following Climate Corps Public Sector training in Durham, NC, I headed to the Jersey Shore for the first time, not quite sure what to expect. After all, my previous exposure was limited to media coverage, and any news of the state’s sustainability efforts have been overshadowed by the antics of certain shore residents.

After arriving in Ocean Township, however, I gained a new perspective on New Jersey when I met the township’s manager and members of the “Green Team.” I was introduced to “Sustainable Jersey,” a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, control costs and save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. So far, over 70 New Jersey municipalities are certified under this program. Ocean Township is currently working toward its certification.

One action that will help Ocean receive a Sustainable Jersey certification is the creation of a rain garden at the municipal library. Rain gardens allow 30% more water to absorb into the ground, which decreases storm water runoff and reduces pollution in streams, rivers, and lakes. They can even count as credit toward LEED certification for the library. Read More »

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Reducing The Footprint Of An 11,000 Year Old Nation

By: Daniel Brookshire, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina; Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at UNC Chapel Hill, specializing in Land Use and Environmental Planning

(“Hello” in Cherokee)

Photo Courtesy of Daniel BrookshireErin, my EDF partner, and I are spending our summer fellowship at the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). We really lucked out in getting to work in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.

EBCI demonstrates its impressive commitment to energy efficiency with its strategic energy plan for the tribe. They have conducted 40 energy assessments of tribally owned buildings and secured grant funding for efficiency upgrades. Also, most of the street lights have been converted to highly efficient LED bulbs, and our office is a certified LEED Gold building! Read More »

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A Little Competition Never Hurt Anyone

Photo Courtesy of Anna ChavisBy: Anna Chavis, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at the City of Wilmington, NC, Department of Public Services; MEM/MBA candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment/Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

How do you get firemen to reduce their energy consumption? Just do what the City of Wilmington, NC, did – make it into a competition. Back in 2006, the City of Wilmington’s Department of Public Services pitted its 11 fire stations against one another in an energy savings competition. It was a first for Wilmington, known more for its beaches and night life than its environmental initiatives. The goal was for each fire station to develop a plan that reduced the most energy over a six-month period and to carry it out. The reward? A pizza party.

Lights were turned off, energy police went out on patrol, and competitive banter was heard among station staff. All this for a drop in the energy bill each station anxiously downloaded at the end of each month. As Vince Lombardi once said, “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” Sheer bragging rights and the incentive of a pizza party created the perfect game, while the reduction of kilowatt hours provided the perfect scorecard. And a little friendly competition can go a long way: some fire stations in Wilmington reduced their energy use by 15%, with a total of 348,000 KWh—over $4,000—saved. Read More »

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Finding The Silver (Or Green) Lining After Disaster Strikes

By: Jen Weiss, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at Shaw University; MEM candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University

Photo Courtesy of Jen WeissClimate Corps Public Sector (CCPS) helps universities, governments and houses of worship identify ways to improve energy efficiency and save money.

My mother always told me that when adversity strikes, look for the silver lining.

The staff and students at Shaw University (Shaw) in downtown Raleigh have learned this lesson the hard way. Six weeks ago, Shaw was hit by a tornado. Classes were cancelled and students were sent home as Shaw administrators surveyed the damage to the historical buildings that date back to 1865.

Thanks to the dedication of its students, staff and the Raleigh community, the university cleared the debris, assessed the damage and started over in a remarkably short time frame. Today, summer classes are in session and despite the boarded up windows, blue-tarped rooftops, and damaged trees, Shaw University is definitely back in business!

But, wait … the story can’t end here – where is the silver lining? Read More »

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Energy Efficiency: Two Words Spell Profit

By: LaKausha T. Simpson, 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University; M.S. PhD Candidate, Industrial & Systems Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University

I was gung ho about my first week of energy audits at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T). I am assigned to audit its auxiliary department, which includes the dining hall, residence halls, athletic facilities, and campus bookstore.

NC A&T is ahead of the energy savings game and has begun T8 and T5 light installations, utility billing, and contract audits, and is starting major building upgrades this summer. All of these initiatives are great for energy conservation, but what is there left to do? What about my job? Read More »

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Summer 2011 Climate Corps Public Sector Fellow Blog Series

Climate Corps Public Sector (CCPS), an innovative summer fellowship program developed by Environmental Defense Fund, specially trains graduate students to sleuth out energy efficiency savings in local governments, higher education and other organizations. This summer CCPS expanded into a national effort to curb greenhouse gas pollution in five states, placing fellows in several institutions in North Carolina, New Jersey towns, the New York Public Housing Authority and at minority serving institutions in Texas, Washington, D.C. and Georgia.

Throughout the summer, EDF’s CCPS fellows will be blogging about their experiences and sharing lessons learned and key takeaways on the Energy Exchange. Stay tuned and check out;; and  for more information.

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