Climate Corps has found ways for corporations to save $89 million in operational cost while avoid producing over 157,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by investing in projects which pay back the original investment within 5 years. This is done by using interns on 10 week assignments. 

 

Goals of Climate Corps

Climate Corps is an internship program organized by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to address the concern that most companies incorrectly associate environmental policies with economic sacrifice. This program demonstrates that implementation of sound environmental policies is very good business. The goal is to identify cost savings, and increase profitability, by reducing energy usage.

The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that annual savings up to $40,000 can be achieved for every 50,000 square feet of office space through implantation of no and low cost measures.

The Environmental Defense Fund works with Net Impact to identify, train, and embed MBA students in large corporations to develop practical energy efficiency plans. During their 10 week work assignments, Climate Corps fellows identify energy and cost saving opportunities. To maximize the program’s effectiveness, host companies agree to provide interns access to senior level executives as well as financial and operational records.

 

How Does the Program Work?

Finding Participants

Net Impact identifies participants based on several criteria. Potential fellows must exhibit financial savvy and technical abilities (preferably in engineering or computer technology), and must also have some experience with corporate consulting or similar advisory roles. They must also have a high level of ecological awareness and passion, which experience has shown provides the foundation for the program’s success. 

Competition to enter this program is growing. In 2009, more than 160 people applied for the 26 positions.

Net Impact's role in the Climate Corps Program is to recruit, interview, and match qualified and interested MBA and graduate students. Net Impact is a network of 10,000 students and professionals with a focus on corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development and environmental sustainability. The Net Impact network includes over 240 chapters in cities throughout the world and a central office in San Francisco.

Training

Before the work assignments begin, students enter a training program conducted by the EDF and Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI is a think tank dedicated to developing a profitable transition from fossil fuels to areas of efficiency and renewable sources of energy. The Climate Corps training program focuses on savings associated with lighting, HVAC, and office equipment.

A reference manual, Climate Corps Handbook, was developed especially for this program. The handbook provides methods to identify, prioritize, and benchmark buildings’ energy usage and efficiency. Steps to developing practical improvement plans are included as well. Fellows use this handbook throughout their work assignments.

 

Success Stories - By The Numbers

The 2009 class identified efficiencies that could save $54 million in net operational costs over the project lifetime (5 years or less). These energy savings equate to the average use of 14,000 homes in the United States. In turn, 100,000 metric tons of potential greenhouse gas emissions per year are eliminated. This is equivalent to taking 12,000 SUVs off the road.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, Climate Corps fellows have delivered project plans forecasting total savings of $89 million and avoiding 157,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

 

Participating Companies in 2009:

• Accenture

• Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)

• Ahold USA

• Biltmore Farms

• Cisco Systems

• Dell

• Bay Inc.

• EMC Corporation

• Genzyme

• Grubb Properties

• Houston Rockets/Toyota Center

• Hewlitt Packard

• Inuit Inc.

• National Instruments

• North Carolina Central University

• Raytheon Company

• salesforce.com

• Savvis

• Shorenstein Realty Services L.P.

• Sodexo

• Sony Pictures Entertainment

• SunGard

• TXU Energy

 


 

References:

Environmental Defense Fund - http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=31429

Rocky Mountain Institute - http://www.rmi.org/

 

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