EDF Climate Corps fellow | March 27, 2013
“Knocking down a brick wall by yourself with your bare fists is next to impossible. But organize a team equipped with sledgehammers and a plan, and it gets a whole lot easier,” said Gwen Ruta in a Fast Company Op-Ed explaining the concept behind EDF Climate Corps.
This blog post is the sixth in a series, highlighting our team of ‘sledgehammers’ – the 2012 EDF Climate Corps fellows– and their plans for breaking down the barriers to energy efficiency at their host organizations.
Name: Jack Hogin
Host Organization: Boeing Company
School: University of Washington’s Foster School of Business
Opportunity: Boeing Company wanted to create a tool to measure the impacts of their employee environmental engagement efforts.
Barrier: Companies of all sectors and sizes are increasingly turning to employee environmental engagement to: (1) to help achieve stated company environmental goals; and/or (2) support employee recruitment, satisfaction and retention. However, regardless of the purpose, the benefits of employee environmental engagement are hard to quantify.
Solutions Identified: Hogin developed a tool that Boeing’s employee teams can use to calculate the financial and environmental impact of their identified employee-led environmental projects. To be as user-friendly as possible, Hogin developed the tool to be a web-based format consisting mostly of multiple choice questions and minimal open-ended data entry. Calculations are completed “behind the scenes” by the tool based on the responses to the multiple choice questions that reference quantified and cataloged metrics for numerous potential environmental actions for Boeing’s manufacturing and office environments.
The tool provides the following five benefits:
- Motivation – feedback on the potential impacts of actions can help motivate teams to complete environmental projects.
- Prioritization – by empowering teams to calculate potential savings from a project they can better prioritize which projects to work on first.
- Recognition – successful teams will be better positioned to be celebrated when the impacts of projects are known.
- Replication – knowledge transfer of successful projects will be improved and allow other teams to replicate ideas.
- Compilation – Boeing will be better able to aggregate and report the impacts of successful employee-led environmental projects.
Quote: “All-in-all, my goal for the tool is that it can be completed within 5 minutes or less, allowing teams to focus more time and resources on the implementation of their proposed projects.”
Name: Andrew Cole
Host Organization: Fidelity Investments
School: Babson College
Opportunity: Fidelity Investments wanted assistance translating ambiguous Energy Star ratings into measurable targets.
Barrier: Many companies make it a priority to raise their Energy Star rating. After all, this is the path to the ultimate stamp of building efficiency: LEED Certification. But when an executive demands a 15-point increase on a particular building, it can be a little ambiguous as to what that really means. How many computers need to be shut down? Will a lighting upgrade be enough? Can we get away with simply adjusting our office temperature?
Solutions Identified: During his EDF fellowship, Cole gained an understanding of the most sensitive Energy Star factors. By slightly toggling each factor, Cole was able to create a simple Excel tool that predicts the effect of each factor on the others. After completing the template, you’ll know that (depending on a number of factors unique to every building) when a manager asks for a 15-point rating increase, you’re looking at a 75,000 kilowatt-hour-per-month reduction.
Quote: “Most facility managers and engineers will try to increase their scores by playing a game of guess-and-check; making a given improvement and waiting for the energy bill to show how much they are actually improving. Clearly, this ad hoc method does not reflect any understanding of Energy Star, and most of us need to show a tangible plan before we start implementing off-the-cuff projects without predicting results.”
About EDF Climate Corps
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 found an average of $1 million in energy savings for each participant. 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.
About Environmental Defense Fund
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. For more information, visit edfbusiness.org. Read our blog at blogs.edf.org/business. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/EDFbiz.