At a Glance


Retail and Apparel

Project Type

Commercial Energy Efficiency




Charlotte, NC


Alexander Kent used departmental feedback to generate a curriculum for sustainability awareness, and created an energy model to inform senior leaders of the potential for retrofit projects.


Alexander Kent worked with Belk, the largest privately-held retail department store chain in the United States with approximately $4 billion in annual revenue. During his 11 week EDF Climate Corps fellowship, Kent was hired to work on two primary projects: the first, to promote internal understanding and awareness for the sustainability department, and the second, to create an energy model to prioritize efficiency retrofit projects.


Kent conducted 30 interviews with senior associates across all of Belk’s functional departments. These interviews yielded common cross-departmental themes including unrealized sustainability related projects. Kent aggregated interview responses and the top ten sustainability based projects were shared companywide and with executive leadership to further garner support and momentum for sustainability throughout Belk. Kent also aggregated data into a simple and functional excel model used to prioritize high return retrofits of stores and distribution centers with energy efficient equipment such as LED lighting technology.

Potential Impact

Kent used the information from the interviews to generate a department-specific curriculum around issues of resource efficiency, environmental risk and potential environmental regulation. The energy model Kent created helped Belk senior leaders take into account life-cycle costs of equipment retrofits including variable utility costs, deferred maintenance costs and local incentives such as utility provider rebates.

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