Climate Corps 2010: Searching for Energy Savings at News Corp.

Behemoth printing presses scaling two whole floors tower above me in this multi-floor room. High-tech machines insert today’s advertisements in between completed newspapers. Massive paper rolls arrive via train and are stacked five high, each one of them weighing a ton. I can’t help but think, “I’m glad New York City does not lie on a fault line!”

And so went my first day as an EDF Climate Corps fellow at News Corporation’s Bronx printing facility where nearly 1 million copies of the Wall Street Journal and New York Post are printed daily. I’ll be spending 10 weeks with News Corp. and Dow Jones analyzing ways this 400,000-square-foot building can cut down its energy consumption.  

I'll also spend a portion of my summer working with News Corp.'s Global Energy Initiative at News Corp. Headquarters near Rockefeller Center. During this time, I'll be benchmarking other companies that are creating sustainable development funds as well as researching how to most effectively engage employees around the globe on sustainability initiatives.  

My Initial Observations:

  • Lighting: “Is this thing on?” -- Yes it is. The entire building is … ON. And quite bright! One thing I'm beginning to love, however, is things can happen quickly here if you want them to. By the end of my first week, I had scheduled a building walk through with a lighting retrofit company. We will meet next week to discuss the replacement of all the old light bulbs with HQEE (high quality, energy efficient) bulbs.  The initial estimated cost of this project falls around $240,000. Government incentives will take care of 50 percent of the total, bringing the investment down to $120,000. Based on the number of bulbs in the building (over 700), that would make for annual energy savings of $116,000, giving this project a payback period of just one year. Talk about low-hanging fruits!

  • HVAC: I think the estranged Dr. Evil put it best when he said, "It's frickin' freezing in here, Mr. Bigglesworth." The building is extremely cold, which is probably costing a pretty penny in a New York City summer. I've spoken with the HVAC foreman about increasing some of the temperatures so that the plant isn't so cold, especially when people are not at work. Turning each A/C unit up just one degree in a building this size could have a monumental effect on the building's energy consumption and result in some dramatic cost savings. 

One thing is for sure -- there is no shortage of work to be done, both at the Bronx printing facility as well as companywide. I'm thrilled to be working for a company that promotes corporate sustainability with such zeal, as most notably demonstrated by the launch of the "Cool Change" program in 2007. Next Monday I will be visiting the Dow Jones Headquarters in Princeton, NJ. The company will be holding the public groundbreaking ceremony of its solar panel parking carport, the largest single-site solar panel project undertaken by a company to date.  

Stay tuned -- should be an exciting 10 weeks!

Jonathan "J." Stone is a 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow at News Corporation - Dow Jones and a Net Impact member. He is an MBA candidate at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Further coverage of the Climate Corps program is available at GreenBiz.com/edfclimatecorps. This content originally appeared on the Environmental Defense Fund Innovation Exchange Blog and at Vault.com.

Images CC licensed by Flickr users Mitchell_Hall and geraintwn.