Today, Environmental Defense Fund launched a new class of EDF Climate Corps fellows to catalyze energy savings in organizations around the country. This year’s class is bigger than ever – with 116 students placed in 106 different organizations. New participants such as Apple, Colgate-Palmolive, General Motors, and the cities of Austin and Philadelphia are joining repeat hosts including AT&T, Facebook, QTS, Verizon, Chicago Public Schools and the New York City Housing Authority.
EDF Climate Corps has grown by leaps and bounds since it started with just seven fellows in 2008. But even more remarkable than the growth in numbers is how EDF Climate Corps has blossomed in other ways – delivering an impact well beyond what we imagined when we started the program. Fellows are working on a wider variety of projects than ever before, networks are sprouting among our hosts and alumni, and smart energy management practices are taking root in our host organizations.
This summer, for example, in addition to traditional efficiency projects like lighting retrofits and HVAC upgrades, EDF Climate Corps fellows will work on energy management strategies, information systems, financing mechanisms and employee engagement campaigns. These new projects, modeled on the Virtuous Cycle of Organizational Energy Efficiency that EDF developed with MIT, go beyond the low-hanging fruit to deliver systemic and lasting reductions in costs and emissions.
EDF Climate Corps is also finding new ways to bring value to participants through our network – which now numbers over 600 current and past fellows and host organizations nationally. This year, in addition to our online engagement and annual in-person gathering, we are activating local EDF Climate Corps networks in cities where we can leverage existing momentum and resources – such as the Boston Green Ribbon Commission and Retrofit Chicago – to build connections and foster peer learning about energy efficiency and smart energy management.
What’s perhaps most rewarding is to see how EDF Climate Corps is changing the way organizations make decisions about energy. Some are hiring energy managers where the position never existed before; others are creating new systems to collect and analyze energy data; still others are introducing new financing mechanisms for energy-saving projects. For example, adidas Group recently announced a new investment fund for efficiency upgrades that delivered a 36% ROI in its first six months.
So as we kick off our sixth year of EDF Climate Corps, we are celebrating the many ways that the program has renewed itself – staying true to its mission to cut costs and emissions, while finding fresh ways to create value for our host organizations and the environment. Stay tuned to the EDF Climate Corps blog all summer to learn more about the exciting new things our fellows are up to!
About EDF Climate Corps
EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) taps the talents of tomorrow’s leaders to save energy, money and the environment. Working with hundreds of leading organizations, EDF Climate Corps has found an average of $1 million in energy savings for each participant. For more information, visit edfclimatecorps.org. Read our blog at edfclimatecorps.org/blog. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/edfbiz and on Facebook at facebook.com/EDFClimateCorps.