EDF Climate Corps Expands Internationally, Focuses on Top Energy-Saving Opportunities

May 20, 2014
Stephanie Kennard, (212) 616-1260, skennard@edf.org

Today, Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps announces its expansion into China, the world’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Now in its seventh year, EDF Climate Corps is an innovative fellowship program that places specially trained graduate students in companies, cities and universities to save energy, money and the environment.

EDF Climate Corps fellows work to advance energy management within organizations by overcoming barriers to efficiency. By placing fellows in facilities across the U.S. and now China, EDF Climate Corps is closing the gap on resources and information needed to limit energy waste and advance low-carbon energy solutions.

“Climate change is already impacting us and we need to drive solutions for large-scale reductions in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions that can be applicable anywhere,” Victoria Mills, managing director of EDF Climate Corps said. “By continuing to demonstrate the environmental and financial benefits of advanced energy management, EDF Climate Corps is accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

This summer, EDF will place 117 Climate Corps fellows in 102 host organizations. Five hosts are multinational companies with facilities in China: Apple, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Cummins and Legrand. As China faces increasing urbanization, EDF Climate Corps’ work there will support greater EDF efforts to advance market-based solutions to reduce emissions and shape the future of building energy efficiency.

While EDF Climate Corps is expanding internationally, the program continues to increase its impact in the United States. Two-thirds of this year’s EDF Climate Corps fellows will work in the nine U.S. states that together consume more than half of the nation’s energy: Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Florida. In Illinois, EDF Climate Corps joined forces with the City of Chicago to complement the city’s Retrofit Chicago initiative to reduce building energy use by 20 percent over a five-year period. Fellows this summer will support building owners and operators in improving energy performance in some of Chicago’s most prominent commercial buildings, including the Merchandise Mart

“As a participant in the City of Chicago’s Retrofit Chicago initiative, it seemed only natural for The Merchandise Mart to work with a fellow, given EDF Climate Corps’ impressive success with building owners,” Mark Bettin, vice president of engineering at Merchandise Mart said. “As the energy market matures in Chicago, we are excited to work with EDF Climate Corps to study newer technologies and refine the building’s demand response capabilities.” 

Also as part of EDF’s alignment with Retrofit Chicago, five area organizations, including Urban Innovations, have signed on to work with EDF Climate Corps as Feature Projects through December 2014 for a deeper dive into their energy performance.

“Urban Innovations is pleased to work with EDF Climate Corps as a Feature Project given that adaptive re-use of existing buildings has always been at the core of our business and embracing sustainable operations and practices is very much a natural evolution for us,” Alfrieda Green, vice president property management at Urban Innovations said. “We look forward to leveraging the expertise and resources of EDF Climate Corps to strengthen our platform and develop an integrated approach to sustainable building operations and capital planning.”

Further, thanks to support from The Wells Fargo Foundation, EDF Climate Corps will continue its partnership with the Building Green Initiative to place fellows in minority-serving institutions to improve energy efficiency within communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“We see EDF Climate Corps as a smart investment that aligns with our business as a leading financer of high-performance energy-efficient buildings,” Stephanie Rico, vice president, Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo said. “It has returns far beyond cost savings from energy efficiency; it prepares our next generation of leaders who will join us in our efforts to help accelerate a transition to a ‘greener’ economy.”    

Since its launch in 2008, EDF Climate Corps has uncovered more than $1 billion in total energy savings for participating organizations, equivalent to eliminating 260,000 cars from the roads each year. Inspired by EDF Climate Corps’ success, producers for Showtime Network’s Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series on climate change, tapped EDF to help tell the biggest story of our time. Last summer, producers followed three EDF Climate Corps fellows on their quests to save organizations energy and money. This Monday, May 26 at 8pm, the series will feature EDF Climate Corps and its work with participating organizations Caesars Entertainment, Office Depot and Texas Southern University.

See the full list of organizations and fellows participating in EDF Climate Corps. For more information, please visit edfclimatecorps.org. 

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EDF Climate Corps (edfclimatecorps.org) taps the talents of tomorrow’s leaders to save energy, money and the environment by placing specially-trained EDF fellows in companies, cities and universities as dedicated energy problem solvers. Working with hundreds of leading organizations, EDF Climate Corps has uncovered nearly $1.3 billion in energy savings. 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.

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.