Manufacturing a greener product

EDF Climate Corps fellow | September 10, 2013

Did you know that 70 percent of the energy required to put a car together goes into painting it? Read below to learn more about how our EDF Climate Corps fellows are working with General Motors and Ingersoll Rand to identify energy saving opportunities.

Jonathan Beck


Name: Jonathan Beck
School: Columbia University
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Host Organization: General Motors

Q: Why did you join EDF Climate Corps?
A: I joined EDF Climate Corps to be able to do energy efficiency work in a large industrial setting as opposed to an academic setting or at a start-up. I jumped on this opportunity to practice things I’ve done in coursework and a chance to work with a large organization to improve and optimize their behaviors.

Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: I’m working on paint shop energy reduction. Seventy percent of the energy required to put a car together is in the painting step. The sustainability team is working on making recommendations for a new painting facility that the company is developing. My assessments this summer will help to influence the design of this facility, to save the company money and to support the company’s longevity.

Q: In tackling that project, what has been the most difficult part?
A: The hardest part of coming up with these recommendations is to ensure that the energy optimization options provided do not interfere with the production schedule of the facility.

Q: Have you found any ways that have been helpful in overcoming those difficulties?
A: I’ve been working very closely with plant operators and a variety of stakeholders to build safeguards that service the needs of operators and build trust in energy optimization.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
A: If we decide change is impossible, we’ll prove ourselves right.

Vikram Sokkalingam


Name: Vikram Sokkalingam
Hometown: Coimbatore, India
School: Babson College
Host Organization: Ingersoll Rand

Q: Why did you join EDF Climate Corps?
A: I was working in a power plant construction company in India. One of the sites was in a very green farmland. As the plant was being constructed, I was able to see the how landscape was destroyed before the plant was even open. It was really disturbing and changed me. When I was looking into fellowships, I saw that what EDF is trying to accomplish is an exact fit with my MBA studies, skills and passions.

Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: Ingersoll Rand is a company for whom energy efficiency auditing is a business stream. I’ve been talking to customers to try and find out what they’re looking for in energy efficiency and what their mindset toward it is. With this, we can create a value chain to help make energy efficiency projects work.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned this summer?
A: Coming from being an engineer where the boundaries are pretty known, to an area where it’s more clouded, has taught me how to connect the dots myself by putting together different perspectives.

Q: What has been the best part about working at Ingersoll Rand?
A: I used to be a manufacturing engineer. I’ve been able to carry what I knew before and use it here. Also, knowing that what I’m doing is helping design their strategy as they move forward. It’s much more than dollars saved.

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
A: I just read a saying, “Even our mere existence, breathing, causes imbalance.” I want to communicate to people that bringing about less of an impact is vital.

Mansoor Baloch


Name: Mansoor Baloch
Hometown: Turbat, Pakistan
School: Georgia Institute of Technology
Host Organization: Ingersoll Rand

Q: What is an interesting fact about you?
A: I’ve gone to school and have lived in Pakistan, Turkey and the United States.

Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: I’ve been doing analysis with the energy services team to identify energy efficiency projects. We’ve been working with local stakeholders and the facilities management team to perform high level energy audits at two manufacturing locations to make a business case for some of those projects.

Q: What has been the most difficult part of this project?
A: The most difficult thing is to get in touch with people. Most of them are busy and travel often. It makes it especially difficult because I only have a short period of time in my fellowship.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received this summer?
A: I was advised that, when going and talking to stakeholders, to make things easy for them. It should be as easy as possible, not yet another difficult task. Whatever we propose should make sense and help them in what they’re doing.

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
A: I believe sustainability is not a choice anymore but a necessity for a company driven by value creation. Businesses are increasingly embracing a growth strategy decoupled from adverse environmental and socio-economic impact. With my background and skills, I want to be able to help companies harness the power of innovative business ideas to solve environmental and socio-economic problems and create shared value.


This post is a part of our "Interviews with Tomorrow's Leaders" series. Stay tuned for more interviews with our 2013 EDF Climate Corps fellows! 

About EDF Climate Corps
EDF Climate Corps ( 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 Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at