The Faces of EDF Climate Corps: Part 10

EDF Climate Corps fellow | April 12, 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 tenth 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: Chad Reed Chad Reed

Host Organization: Ingersoll Rand

School: Johns Hopkins University

Opportunity: To assist Ingersoll Rand in achieving its goal of a five percent reduction in energy consumption in 2012 alone, Reed was hired as an EDF Climate Corps fellow to identify, scope and financially analyze high-impact energy efficiency investments.

Barrier: Reed discovered a number of challenges to implementing these energy efficiency investments:

  • Because individual sites are unique, overall enterprise goals may not provide the specificity to create site-level strategic plans. This slows execution.
  • An absence of standardized financial metrics across sites for project approval, as well as an overreliance on simple payback when considering projects.
  • Lack of an enterprise-wide network that facilitates sharing energy efficiency best practices. This also results in institutional memory loss.
  • Lack of resources and personnel to follow through on the management, measurement and implementation of identified energy efficiency projects.

The experiences of other large organizations indicate that these barriers to energy efficiency are common.

Solutions Identified:  Ingersoll Rand leveraged its EDF Climate Corps fellow and Energy Consulting and Advisory Services (ECAS) group to overcome these common barriers in the following ways:

  • Winning site-level managers' support for standardized project evaluation criteria by making the no-nonsense business case for energy efficiency. They are also investigating how this objective would pay off for individual sites.
  • Broadening, standardizing and publicizing a wider array of financial metrics across sites, such as Net Present Value (NPV), Return on Investment, Internal Rate of Return and bundled payback. For example, Rand identified a lighting retrofit with a simple payback of over five years but a positive ten-year NPV, as well as a 3.2-year simple payback when considered as part of a bundle of projects. Normally, Ingersoll Rand would not consider a project with such a long payback period, but after considering its performance under these new metrics, it is now in the process of approving the retrofit.
  • With the help of an external consulting group, ECAS is building virtual infrastructure for an energy network that aggregates data on site-level energy use, as well as energy efficiency projects. It facilitates enterprise-wide best practice sharing. Additionally, it enables site managers to manage, measure and verify the implementation of projects – it enabled Rand to adapt best practices from more efficient facilities to the facilities he worked on.
  • Budgeting for the organizational resources to implement the energy efficiency projects Rand identified.

Potential Savings: Together, Reed’s recommended projects could save Ingersoll Rand nearly $270,000 in annual energy costs, 3 million kilowatt hours and 3.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions – equal to the annual emissions of 292 cars every year.

Quote: “Consistent with its track record as an industry leader, Ingersoll Rand will apply the lessons learned in my collaboration with ECAS to overcome the organizational barriers to energy efficiency.”  


Name: Nicolas Lopez Nicholas Lopez

Host Organization: Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP)

School: University of Texas at El Paso

Opportunity: Lopez was asked to identify energy efficiency savings across four HACEP public housing developments.

Barrier: The most difficult and locally controversial project was the developments’ HVAC systems. The chiller systems required major changes, so they needed to be analyzed deeply.

Solutions Identified: Lopez made a mathematical model of the chiller and all its components – from the pipes to the boilers and fans – to determine the optimum configurations of HVAC systems and maintenance routines. The formulas and the algorithm employed, allowed HACEP to “see” what couldn’t be seen.

Potential Savings: Lopez identified three HVAC and chiller projects that could save $280,000 over 15 years, as well as 700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and one million kilowatt hours of electricity every year.

Quote: “If this was not exciting enough, Texas Senator Jose Rodriguez read about my work and invited me to deliver a presentation to his Green Jobs Advisory Committee, a group of professionals in El Paso working to attract and create Green Jobs to and in the region. My work at HACEP could help this group develop workforce training programs for renewable energy in Texas.”  


Name: Katherine Grote Katherine Grote

Host Organization: America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA)

School: Presidio Graduate School

Opportunity: ACEA created an aggressive sustainability plan and hired Grote to put it into action by investigating strategies to reduce energy use at temporary events.

Barrier: Grote discovered several barriers to energy efficiency specifically for temporary events, including = a lack historical energy data and information, given that much of the equipment for temporary events, such as lighting and sound systems, is rented.

Solutions Identified:  While working with the America’s Cup Event Authority, Grote put together a list of best practices for overcoming these barriers:

  • Be prepared to estimate energy-use with widely divergent metrics. The America’s Cup has never been held in the City of San Francisco. Much of the equipment used during the event is European, so estimated energy use data can be in both metric and standard units, and include European and American voltages.
  • When renting equipment, consider the cost of fuel, electricity and carbon. Buying the newest, most-efficient technology is an investment that can be tough to justify, and it isn't usually available for rental. The fuel, electricity and CO2 savings that these investments could deliver, however, could make them worth it.
  • Reduce, plug in and use alternate fuels. There are ample opportunities to reduce energy use even at temporary events. Substitute LEDs for incandescent lights, turn off equipment when not in use, or prioritize natural ventilation strategies over air conditioning. Overall emissions can be further reduced by prioritizing grid power over diesel generators, increasing generator efficiency and using blends of locally sourced, waste-based biodiesel.
  • Remember, it’s more than a sport -- engage fans. The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project seeks to raise awareness about ocean health. This summer Grote also made recommendations for ACEA to engage with fans about energy efficiency and renewable energy during the race.

Quote: “Like other large international sporting events, the America’s Cup organizers seek to leave a legacy of economic, environmental, and social benefit for the region. In a partnership with San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, I am translating what I've learned from my work with ACEA into what will hopefully be the foundations of an energy efficiency policy for events in the City of San Francisco.”    


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   

About Environmental Defense Fund

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 at