Bidding Farewell to eBay and Four Takeaways on Computer Power Management

By Megan Rast, 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow at eBay Inc., MBA candidate at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Member of Net Impact

My summer as an EDF Climate Corps Fellow making the business case for energy efficiency and carbon reduction at eBay Inc. has officially come to an end.  Despite my uncertainty of finding low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency at an environmental-leader like eBay, I found my stride and was able to calculate the energy savings of a number of computer power management solutions.   Thanks to this project, and a few smaller projects on facility upgrades, I was able to “dig in” and provide recommendations that will be implemented across eBay Inc.

Through my success working on computer power management at eBay, I found four key takeaways for working on sustainability and energy efficiency:

  1. Be Introduced Widely Across the Company.  During my first week at eBay Inc., my supervisor set up introductory meetings for me far and wide across workplace resources, information technology, data center strategy, finance, procurement and corporate communications.   As I started my internship, I focused on projects related to eBay’s facilities and data centers, and did not initially work with the other groups I had met.  However, thanks to these introductions, IT remembered my skillset, and approached me in mid-July to analyze the energy savings of a variety of options already under consideration.   Our initial meeting was necessary in connecting organizational needs to the resources and skillset I provided. Read more

Might as Well Face it, She’s Addicted to Bulbs

By Sarah Will, 2010 Climate Corps Fellow at REI, MBA, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Member of Net Impact

I was at the airport the other day, staring at the ceiling.  “I’m pretty sure those are T-8 fluorescent bulbs, which is great,” I thought out loud.  “But this is an outdoor walkway and it’s the middle of the day.  Why are the lights on?  This could use a timer switch, or some day-lighting. With 100 bulbs off for eight hours a day, how much could you save?  Let’s see….”  I rambled on: “Oh! Those are T-12s over there.  That’s such an easy fix!  Who can I talk to about switching those out?” My husband rolled his eyes – the poor guy has had to put up with my infatuation with light bulbs all summer.

Until I joined the EDF Climate Corps program this summer to work with REI, I  I only occasionally looked at light bulbs  — usually  residential  bulbs, making sure that my family used CFL’s versus energy-hogging incandescents.  But after the EDF Climate Corps training sessions in San Francisco, I can’t stop looking up at commercial lighting.

The Quick & Obvious Savings

During this summer’s training, we were taught to first examine the quick and obvious available savings for our companies.  In total, I’ve identified the potential for REI to save over 6.5 million kWh, equaling over 2,700 metric tons or almost $900,000 per year.  This is through many different strategies (see my blog post on retrocommissioning for one), and lighting controls is a big chunk of the final number. Read more

That's a Wrap! EDF Climate Corps fellow finishes up at NewsCorp with big results

By Jay Stone, 2010 EDF Climate Corps Fellow at News Corporation – Dow Jones, MBA candidate at  Stern School of Business, New York University, Member of Net Impact

I looked straight ahead at the roughly 80” wide projected television screen in the News Corporation’s New York Polycom Telepresence Suite.  As News Corp’s Global Energy Initiative was traveling to Australia that week, I would be delivering my final presentation via video-conference in what must have been the most technologically advanced way possible.  With South Brunswick, NJ on the left and Sydney, Australia on the right, it was hard to believe I was in my last week as an EDF Climate Corps fellow.

What an amazing ten-week adventure it was! What seemed like a daunting amount of work in Week 1, turned out to be an enlightening, deep dive into the world of corporate energy strategy.   In the end, the projects I identified would serve to reduce the annual energy costs of News Corp’s printing plant in the Bronx, decrease the company’s carbon footprint and help underscore the company as a leader in its commitment to corporate sustainability.

Over the course of my fellowship, I worked with the lighting and HVAC foremen at the Dow Jones Printing Plant to gauge the building’s existing energy infrastructure:

  • I identified a $240,000 lighting retrofit that would pay itself back in 2.5 years and prevent approximately 620 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
  • Through small tweaks to the plant’s thermostat HVAC systems, I identified methods that would result in over $30,000 in annual energy savings and require zero upfront capital investment. Read more

Recipes for Carbon Reduction: 3 Tiers of Operational Excellence at Compass Group

By Chris Gassman, 2010 EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Compass Group, MBA/JD candidate at Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business and University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Net Impact member.

Throughout life (and particularly in business school) we are repeatedly reminded to be succinct, especially when talking about how our past experiences prepare us for future ones.  Looking back on my summer with the EDF Climate Corps program at Compass Group, an elevator pitch with three things I love about my experience already stands out.

1. The Industry: Commercial Food Service

As a $31 billion industry ($27 billion of that is shared between Compass Group and three other competitors in the same market segment) with thin margins, client satisfaction is important and the market demand for such service providers to build in carbon reduction is growing.  And honestly, who doesn’t like food?  Whether you eat to live or live to eat, it’s a daily and personal experience for the 300 million-plus Americans across the country.

2. The Function: Strategy

While many of my Climate Corps colleagues worked with their host companies to find ways to slash significant costs off utility bills, Compass Group had a slightly different need: how to do this for existing clients and use it to compete for new ones? This is the sweet spot for the C-suite: how do we grow our business? How do we increase profit via revenue?  Compass Group brought in a Climate Corps Fellow to help develop its strategic response to these client carbon requests.  We reviewed in-house data from the field, as well as industry best practices, and organized the ideas based upon two principles:

  • Net Cost Neutrality: cut costs first, and then use those savings to cover any later premiums
  • Operational ease of implementation: find resources within the Compass Group corporate structure Read more

Retrocommissioning helps Xerox go into energy-saving mode

By Dave Rengel, Climate Corps fellow at Xerox, MBA Candidate at Ross  School of Business, University of Michigan, Member of Net Impact

One of the biggest takeaways from my EDF Climate Corps fellowship at Xerox this summer is that there is always opportunity for improvement in the space of sustainability – even at an organization as progressive as Xerox.  Companies that adopt a strategy toward energy efficiency must look past the low-hanging fruit to the less obvious wastes of energy, while monitoring implemented changes to ensure picked fruit doesn’t grow back.

To paint a quick picture of Xerox’s successful sustainability initiatives:

  • Running with the best: The company is ranked 28th in Newsweek’s 'Green Rankings' list of top 500 U.S. companies.
  • Manufacturing green products: Xerox's WorkCentre 7428 and 7435 multifunction printers have received accolades for energy efficiency, and its ColorCube product line is well regarded for its waste reducing solid ink technology.
  • Setting green goals: Xerox implemented its Energy Challenge 2012 program, which initially aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% from 2002 to 2012.  After successfully surpassing its goal by 2006, the bar was raised to 25% GHG reductions by 2012.
  • Keeping track of progress: The site and facilities energy team on the Webster, NY campus has a running list of energy efficiency opportunities and monitors energy use of the 50+ buildings on campus. Read more

Looking at Sustainability Through a Big-Picture Lens at Diversey

By Adam Ostaszewski, EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Diversey Inc., MBA Candidate at Olin Graduate School of Business, Babson College, Member of Net Impact

In the world of energy efficiency and sustainability, the biggest financial and environmental opportunities are often right under a company’s nose.  However, if the company does not have the proper tools and data – or if it is too focused on making smaller efficiency tweaks while losing sight of the big picture – these larger opportunities can be easily overlooked.  This is one of the most substantial takeaways from my summer-long EDF Climate Corps fellowship at Diversey, Inc.

Diversey is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions with about 10,500 employees, annual sales revenue of $3.2 billion and distribution channels in over 165 different countries.  Headquartered in Southeastern Wisconsin, the privately held company manages a global footprint of offices, distribution warehouses and manufacturing sites.

Drawing on its 100+ year heritage of strong leadership in environmental issues and sustainability, Diversey continues to lead its industry and the global business community in contemporary thinking on these issues. One of the most significant examples of this leadership is its participation in the WWF Climate Savers program. Initially, Diversey committed to reducing its total carbon emissions on an absolute basis by eight percent by 2013, using its 2003 levels as a baseline.  Last year, Diversey impressively tripled this commitment to 25 percent by 2013, demonstrating its progressive approach and commitment to the program. In order for Diversey to deliver on this commitment, the company first had to better understand and quantify its current footprint by collecting energy consumption and carbon emissions data for all its global locations.

As the company assessed its carbon emissions within its own operations, it quickly learned that the largest opportunities for both cost savings and carbon reductions would be realized in improvements to the fuel efficiency of its global auto and truck fleet. This can be done by switching to vehicles with the best fuel efficiency in their class (this alone has saved the company more than $1,000,000 annually) or finding innovative ways to reduce their global internal travel.  Additionally, instead of analyzing projects individually, Diversey began to manage its sustainability initiatives as a holistic and synergistic portfolio. Under this operating model, projects with a stronger financial performance help to offset and finance those projects with longer paybacks but significant opportunities for future savings. Read more

Filling Big Shoes at SunGard: A Green Technology Giant

By Rich Tesler, 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow at SunGard Data Systems Inc., MA candidate at Steinhardt, New York University, Member of Net Impact

In New York City, there is no debating the summer of 2010 is a scorcher.  When the thermometer is forced to use its third digit, it is difficult to think about life without the air conditioner blasting.  As an EDF Climate Corps fellow working at SunGard Data Systems Inc., I have been thinking of nothing else but identifying and building business cases for reducing A/C usage.  In other words, I am on the hunt for energy efficiency projects with a high return on investment at SunGard.


Big Shoes

It was apparent from the beginning that I had some work to do as a Climate Corps fellow at SunGard.  Ryan Whisnant, Climate Corps  – class of 2009, had recently joined SunGard full time as the director of sustainability. Clearly, Ryan had accomplished some impressive things during his fellowship.

Long Strides

In addition, SunGard has not been standing idle on the subject of sustainability.  In 2008, SunGard UK achieved its ISO 14001 certification, an internationally recognized standard providing guidance on good environmental management practice. In 2009, the company’s Swedish datacenter was recognized by Coromatic, a leader in physical IT security, with the Green Data Center of The Year Award.

On the Shoulders of Giants

In addition, SunGard is a private company that is partially owned by Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts (KKR).  KKR, in partnership with EDF, has created a progressive initiative called the Green Portfolio Program, to “harness innovation and improve financial and environmental performance of KKR’s portfolio companies.”  As part of this program, SunGard has avoided 20,700 metric tons of GHG emissions and $3.8 million of avoided costs. Read more

EDF Climate Corps 2010: How One Environmental Fellow Spent His Summer

This is a guest post by James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer, Verizon

Thanks to record temperatures and energy bills to match, it will be some time before the summer of 2010 is forgotten here in the Northeast. Like so many others, we worked our HVAC systems hard to cool employees, customers, and our servers.

On the bright side, relentless summer heat did bring valuable experience to Ryan Mallett, a graduate student from Penn State, and Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow, who spent his summer helping Verizon dial-up energy savings. Ryan worked closely with several Verizon teams on driving energy efficiency in many of our buildings. With an annual energy spend of close to $1B, energy efficiency is important to us.


Among the initiatives Ryan pursued, he helped us study the use of the Department of Energy’s DCPro to analyze information on data center energy efficiency at four of our largest centers and the installation of variable frequency drive fans that dynamically respond to changes in air temperature. The potential savings identified were just north of 4.4 million kWh a year. As with any network operation, our goal is always to increase efficiency while at the same time enhancing reliability or at the very least not diminishing it.

Ryan also conducted a financial analysis of a thermal ice storage project we are studying in our lower Manhattan headquarters. The thermal storage system shifts production of chilled water into the night time hours when energy is less expensive. During the day this stored cooling capacity can help meet the variable cooling loads of the building, and it could potentially save up to 1.6 million kWh and $420,000 annually by reducing peak demand charges and improved efficiency of existing pumps and HVAC equipment.

All in all, a good summer’s work! I considered asking Ryan to be a “guest blogger,” so that you could hear directly from him, but then I realized that I wouldn’t be able to thank him for his service, creativity and hard work. Read more

Passing the Baton at ServiceMaster

By Dylan Hedrick, Climate Corps fellow at ServiceMaster, MBA Candidate at Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University, Member of Net Impact

Any member of a sprint relay team knows how important the baton handoff can be for the success of the team. A smooth handoff can give the team the advantage it needs to win the race, while a fumbled handoff can waste precious seconds—allowing competitors to catch up—or even result in disqualification if the baton is dropped. Thankfully for me, my relay partner just showed up.

Leg One:

The first leg of the race was ServiceMaster deciding to participate in the EDF Climate Corps program, hiring me as the fellow for this summer. Jamey Jones, ServiceMaster’s vice president of Environmental Stewardship, had already worked to develop ServiceMaster’s first corporate social responsibility report [PDF], which was issued last year and is currently being expanded with more information for this year’s report. ServiceMaster also commissioned a study of its greenhouse gas emissions produced by its fleet and the electricity demands of its facilities to quantify the environmental impact of its operations.

That’s where I take the baton:

I arrived at ServiceMaster’s headquarters in Memphis, TN in May and hit the ground running. So far this summer, I have identified opportunities for ServiceMaster to save money through installing lighting retrofits, computer power management software and window tint, among others at its:

  • Franchise headquarters
  • American Home Shield 24-hour call center
  • Terminix branch locations
  • TruGreen branch locations

With direction from Jim Steffen, director of Fleet Engineering and Technical Support, I have also analyzed means to reduce fuel consumption within ServiceMaster’s corporate fleet of over 18,000 vehicles and researched methods to meet California Air Resource Board’s emission requirements for diesel vehicles. Using my analysis, ServiceMaster executives are planning to purchase hybrid gas-electric vehicles for use in the company’s California fleet. Read more

Innovate and Grow: Mapping California's Growing Green Economy

Snapshot of EDF's Green Economy Map

By Tim O'Connor, Attorney, EDF Energy Program

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve recently called the nation’s economic outlook “unusually uncertain.”

Here’s something that is certain: California has a growing green economy. Want proof? Check out an updated, first-of-its-kind map compiled by Environmental Defense Fund that features 3,500-plus entities providing green solutions or using sustainable practices to improve their bottom lines. The map is searchable by seven categories and by county and state legislative district.

California’s naysayers often claim that we should slow down our progress on clean energy and clean air because the overall economy is struggling.  The truth is that the green economy is a bright spot, generating jobs, investment and business growth.  The Green Innovation Index shows that green jobs have grown at 10 times the statewide average since 2005.  Earlier this week, Ernst & Young said that in the second quarter of this year, $1.5 billion was invested in U.S. clean tech companies–an increase of nearly 65% from a year ago–and that 75% ($1.12 billion) of the funding went to California businesses.

With the influx of jobs and capital, the green economy’s footprint is getting wider and deeper across our state. Case in point: EDF’s map shows that California’s green economy reaches every major metropolitan area. Los Angeles (489), Orange (275) and Santa Clara (265) counties have the most businesses in the map’s five sectors: low-carbon energy; energy efficiency; transportation; green building and carbon market. Mid-size and smaller cities are also benefitting, as evidenced by the number of green companies in Fresno/Tulare (43), Chico (28), Santa Cruz (36) and Truckee (10), to name a few.

This map brings to life data that can be found in a recent report and study released by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and California’s Employment Development Department. Read more