Proving Sustainable Business is Good Business

EDF Climate Corps fellow | August 7, 2013

Recently we interviewed two EDF Climate Corps fellows, Jonathan Hempton at CA Technologies and Greg Smith at VIA San Antonio. Both are passionate about the environment and hope to make part of their work in life showing businesses that energy efficiency and sustainability make sense.

Jonathan Hempton Name: Jonathan Hempton
Hometown: Bedford, MA
School: The Fletcher School - Tufts University
Host Organization: CA Technologies

Q: Why did you join EDF Climate Corps?
A: I became aware of the fellowship through a couple of alumni who recommended the program. I think energy efficiency is the most important short-term solution to many of our energy challenges, especially the climate crisis. Additionally, I believe the private sector plays a critical role in solving many of these problems. When I saw an opportunity to work on energy efficiency projects in the private sector, I jumped at the chance.

Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: First, I’m finding energy efficiency opportunities in CA’s Framingham office. I’m also benchmarking CA’s company-wide water and waste use. Once that’s in place, we will be able to identify projects to reduce them.

Q: In tackling those projects, what has been the most difficult part?
A: CA has a lot of offices, many of which are in multi-tenant locations. That means that they often don’t get metered data and CA has limited control over what can be done to improve energy efficiency.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received this summer?
A: The importance of open ended questions, probing and listening. If you can ask the right questions, you can get to the heart of problems very quickly

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
A: The basic, leaving it better philosophy has been the focus of my professional life so far. I want to think of solutions to problems in a sustainable way. Not just in terms of making things green, but also through sustainable business models. I’d like to show people that that’s possible and can be done well.

Greg Smith Name: Greg Smith
Hometown: Maryland
Carnegie Mellon University
Host Organization: VIA San Antonio

Q: What is one interesting fact about you?
A:I heard from Chris Gassman that I’m the fifth generation of EDF Climate Corps fellows to come from Carnegie Mellon University. We’ve had a fellow from Carnegie Mellon every year since 2009. We even have two fellows this year!

Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: I am working to identify energy efficiency solutions for park-and-ride and transit centers operated by VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, Texas. I’m specifically looking at five older facilities and trying to determine what energy efficiency solutions could be introduced at each. Many of the opportunities I am investigating are relating to upgrading the lighting systems because their HVAC systems have been replaced recently.

Q: What is the most difficult part of tackling that project?
A: For me, it’s easy to identify energy efficiency opportunities. The difficulty is gathering the data from across the organization and the incentives from the utility that are necessary to build the business case for implementation.

Q: What is one thing you learned this summer?
I’ve learned that when you start studying energy efficiency, you notice things you didn’t before. You start staring at light bulbs a lot more often, and when you walk down the street sometimes you find yourself saying, “Hey, look at that high pressure sodium light.”

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?
I want to help prove that energy efficiency is achievable for businesses. Personally, I have a background in information technology, so I’d like to do energy efficiency work through that lens as well since there is so much IT equipment in the workplace.

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