Climate Corps 2011: Warming Up to Tackle Efficiency from Within

EDF Climate Corps

Climate Corps 2011: Warming Up to Tackle Efficiency from Within

Editor's Note: We are pleased to present the first of the 2011 EDF Climate Corps posts. This post is from Jake MacArthur, who will be a Climate Corps Fellow at REI near Seattle. You can read posts from Climate Corps fellows from years past at GreenBiz.com/EDFClimateCorps.

Route planned? Check. Flights booked? Check. New climbing gear purchased? Needed!

In a few days, I will be sitting on a glacier in the shadows of Denali surrounded by breathtaking granite spires. The days are getting long, the rock dry, and I can't wait to immerse myself in long alpine climbs smothered by the Alaskan wilderness. But first, I need to head to REI to purchase a new rope.

Speaking of REI, upon return from my trip, I will be working at REI Headquarters near Seattle as an EDF Climate Corps fellow this summer. I recently returned from the EDF Climate Corps training, where all 57 fellows gathered at MIT's Sloan School of Management for intensive energy efficiency training. We brushed up on our energy units, dug into the nitty gritty of lighting efficiency and toured Sloan's soon-to-be LEED certified facility. The following are three of my big takeaways from the event:

1. Catalyzing successful energy efficiency initiatives requires more than just being technically savvy. Not only did EDF's training cover the technical aspects involved in corporate energy efficiency, but we also discussed keys to breaking down barriers to allow for long-term, systemic organizational change, strategies for successful adoption and best practices for presenting recommendations identified by previous fellows.

2. I had no idea there was so much to know about lighting! It's not just about a simple light bulb and fixture. We discussed the intricacies of lamps vs. luminaires, ballasts, and the number of luminaires per ballast. I'm sure the chapter on lighting in the EDF Climate Corps Handbook [PDF] will prove to be quite useful this summer.

3. Surrounded by so many motivated and articulate peers, I have no doubt significant energy efficiency gains will be achieved once again this year. I'm looking forward to tuning into the EDF Business Blog for continuous updates from my peers about their respective experiences and findings throughout the summer.

The training got me charged about the summer of work ahead of me. I am particularly enthused to work for REI, a company whose customers really value energy efficiency efforts behind the products they purchase. My first day there is right around the corner, but in the meantime, I am off to Alaska!