Greening Cities with EDF Climate Corps

EDF Climate Corps fellow | August 26, 2013

Opportunities to save big with energy efficiency are not limited to the corporate world. EDF Climate Corps fellows have found a wealth of opportunities within the public sector as well. Read below to learn about how three of our fellows are identifying energy savings for the cities of Cleveland, Santa Fe and Bloomington.

Abraham Weiner


Name: Abraham Weiner

Hometown: Davidsonville, MD

School: Case Western Reserve University

Host Organization: City of Cleveland

Q: What is an interesting fact about you?

A: I’m conversationally fluent in American Sign Language.

Q: Why did you join EDF Climate Corps?

A: I’d known about the program before I even considered business school, and it was actually one of the reasons I applied. In the business world, I felt like I could have a bigger impact on the health of the planet over other sectors.

Q: What are you working on this summer?

A: The main task that I’ve been working on is helping the City of Cleveland understand what the best alternative financing options are for their municipal energy efficiency projects. I have been talking with wide variety of stakeholders such as state, county and municipal staff, bankers and lenders, financial advisors, ESCOs, lawyers and a variety other people to gain a complete view of the plethora of options.

Q: In tackling that project, what has been the most difficult part?

A: It’s been working with stakeholders in and outside the City to communicate that saving energy is saving money and that it should be prioritized. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, of which I’ve been a part of, is one of the departments that is pushing citywide energy efficiency improvements.

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?

A: For the city, I want to make the business case for energy efficiency. For the world, I want a sustained and thriving planet, and I believe the path to that is showing people that one can do well by doing good.  

Jessica Lehmann

Name: Jessica Lehmann

Hometown: Vinemont, AL

School: Case Western Reserve University

Host Organization: City of Santa Fe, NM

Q: Why did you join EDF Climate Corps?

A: Energy efficiency and climate change are real issues, and I’m hoping it’s not already too late to address them. If we don’t do something now, there may not be a chance for recovery, so I feel a sense of urgency to act. I also heard excellent reviews of the program from a couple of my peers that were fellows last year.

Q: What is one of the projects you’re working on?

A: I’m working to create and implement an in-home website to audit energy use. People would be able to go to this website, enter in all the information about their home and at the end, using Santa Fe rates, be able to see incentives to save money specific to their area. This would be a user friendly format to encourage energy efficiency all across the city.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned this summer?

A: I’ve learned that municipalities seem to be really similar to small businesses in that there are a lot of people working really hard under a limited budget and time constraints. That’s been eye opening. Also, my supervisor illustrates that if there is one person in place within an organization who’s knowledgeable and proactive about energy efficiency, change can happen.

Q: What has been the best part about working with the City of Santa Fe?

A: The independence and trust they’ve afforded me in my role.

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?

A: Part of the mark I want to leave on the world is to better something, whether it’s improving climate change or educating oppressed women. There is a part of me that really wants to help people and help the future. I also want to make a good living doing something I love.  

Ian Champ

Name:  Ian Champ 

School:  Indiana University

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Host Organization:  City of Bloomington

Q: What is an interesting fact about you?

A: I earned my Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout in 2007.

Q: Why did you apply for EDF Climate Corps?

A: I heard about the program and it seemed like a perfect fit. I plan on getting into the consulting field after I graduate, and it seemed like a nice mix of working with a group I respect and getting experience. I saw the fellowship as an opportunity to really make an impact and gain experience in my chosen field.

Q: What are some of the projects you’re working on?

A: The City Sanitation Department is looking to replace their trucks, so I’ve been looking at alternative vehicles such as hydraulic and electric hybrids. I’ve also been working with the Parks Department to calculate project paybacks for lighting and motor retrofits at the two City operated pools. Finally, I’ve been working with the Bloomington Fire Department on setting energy reduction goals for the department and participating in the Chief's Energy Challenge.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned this summer?

A: I’ve learned how to be even more efficient with my time than before. As I’ve been pushing to keep going on various tasks, it’s helped me to become more productive.

Q: What is the mark you want to leave on the world?

A: My long-term goal is to come back to Indiana and help my home state become more sustainable in general. I want to help make the case in the heart land for energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, especially because in my mind it fits so well with the Midwestern mindset.  


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