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.

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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.

Everyone on the sustainability team wishes Ryan well, and we look forward to continuing to work with EDF and Penn State toward our sustainability goals at Verizon.

This content originally ran on Verizon's Responsibility Blog on August, 13, 2010.