In Lean Times, Top Business and Public Sector Organizations are Using Grad Student Talent to Uncover High-Value Energy Savings

October 16, 2012
Katie Ware, 202-572-3314,
Jon Coifman, 212-616-1325,

(BOSTON – October 16, 2012) – Facing tight budgets and limited resources, a growing list of companies and public sector organizations are turning to a unique initiative offered by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that provides specially-trained graduate students from top schools around the country to uncover cost-effective energy savings opportunities and develop concrete strategies to capitalize on them.

EDF Climate Corps fellows have worked with nearly 200 satisfied organizations, uncovering an average of $1 million in energy savings over the course of each fellowship, according to a new analysis. Along with energy savings, EDF is cultivating a new generation of skilled young professionals who have already begun moving into leadership positions in both corporate and public institutions.

“By day two on the job, our EDF fellow saved us $100,000,” said Les Holmes, Director of Real Estate at publisher Bloomberg BNA. “EDF brought valuable experience and perspective, and helped bring a strong energy management program to an even higher level.”

Participating companies this year range from Google and Facebook to Boeing, Pfizer and Verizon. Public sector hosts include the City of Los Angeles; the public schools in Boston, Chicago and Houston; and the New York City Housing Authority. (Detailed stories about their projects are available here.)

“For three years running, EDF Climate Corps has been a great resource for REI, finding opportunities throughout our business, and identifying real, practical solutions we can bank on,” said Kirk Myers, Manager of CSR at REI, a leading outdoor retailer.

EDF fellows work in office buildings, factories, hospitals, data centers, and a wide range of other commercial and residential facilities. Their specialties include advanced lighting and climate controls; employee engagement; financial analytics; and strategic planning. Engagements are custom-tailored to meet the needs of the organization.  

“Energy efficiency is a goldmine, but digging for that gold takes resources not everybody has,” said Victoria Mills, Managing Director at EDF. “Climate Corps is a solution. Hosts get skilled professionals who hit the ground running, backed by 25 years of EDF experience working with hundreds of companies.”

The program provides valuable support for host organizations whether they already have an advanced energy strategy in place, or are just getting started. EDF handles recruiting, matching, training and rigorous follow-up and evaluation.

“Our EDF Climate Corps fellow became a member of our team and provided exceptional value on a fast-paced complex project,” said Vincent Davis, Board Member for Envision Charlotte, a North Carolina public-private partnership dedicated to economic and environmental sustainability.

In just five years, EDF Climate Corps has found $1.2 billion in energy savings, with the potential to avoid yearly carbon dioxide emissions equal to the pollution from 200,000 cars.   “Ingersoll Rand has hosted six EDF Climate Corps fellows over the years, and each time they have far exceeded expectations,” said Scott Tew, Executive Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency at Ingersoll Rand. “The investment is a no-brainer.”

EDF Climate Corps is now accepting applications for companies, cities and universities to host a fellow in 2013. Find details about hosting a fellow at or email

Environmental Defense Fund (, a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter: