Consider these numbers: $350 million in net operating savings over the project lifetimes, 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity.
These are the astonishing savings unearthed by 51 EDF Climate Corps fellows working at Fortune 1000 companies this summer.
As impressive as these numbers are, the stories from individual fellows are even more compelling. They illustrate time and again how a smart and resourceful person -- armed with analytical skills, specialized training, and a single-minded focus -- can rake in huge reductions in costs and emissions. Here are just three stories from this year’s champions of energy efficiency:
• Nick Fassler evaluated hospital energy efficiency projects for HCA Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. Fassler found ways to reduce energy use from lighting by up to 30 percent, which, if rolled out across HCA’s hospitals, could save the company $7.8 million in annual electricity costs and cut 52,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
• Ryan Mallett spent his summer dialing up energy savings at Verizon. During one of the hottest summers on record, Mallett evaluated the installation of a thermal ice storage system at Verizon’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. The investments Mallet recommended could save the company a total of $9.16 million over the project lifetimes, while avoiding more than 8,700 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
• At eBay’s San Jose headquarters this summer, Megan Rast evaluated opportunities to save energy by installing power management software, lighting retrofits, and replacing older computers. The projects she recommended could save more than $1.5 million over their lifetimes, and avoid more than 4,800 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
If MBA students can come up with results like these in a 10-week summer fellowship, imagine what could happen if businesses all across the country got serious about energy efficiency. It would be enough to bend the curve on energy consumption from commercial buildings -- the source of 18 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution -- while boosting the bottom line.
That’s the power and potential of energy efficiency. Maybe all you need is a champion to help you harvest it. Who will be your champion?
For video highlighting EDF Climate Corps fellows, visit http://youtu.be/EaCqgujNW_U.
Victoria Mills is managing director of Environmental Defense Fund's Corporate Partnerships Program. This content is cross-posted on EDF's Innovation Exchange blog. More information about the Climate Corps is available at edf.org/climatecorps.
Image courtesy of EDF.