At a Glance



Project Types

Commercial Energy Efficiency, Financial Evaluation and Planning




Chelmsford, MA

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Net Present Value:


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Annual kWh Savings:

12,700,000 kWh

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Annual CO2 Reductions:

6,600 metric tons


Charlie Umberger built a plan to scale the implementation of variable frequency drives and lighting retrofit projects across Comcast’s Northeast Division.


Comcast, a company with approximately 139,000 employees and thousands of buildings spread across the country, enlisted Charlie Umberger to help build a plan to scale energy-efficiency solutions across its Northeast Division. Two prior EDF Climate Corps fellows had been instrumental in launching pilot initiatives with variable frequency drives in headends (similar to data centers) and lighting retrofits. Now, Comcast wanted to know what these solutions would look like when scaled and how they could impact division-wide energy consumption.


To get the answer, Umberger built a plan to implement variable frequency drives in each of the five regions in the Northeast Division. This required compiling data sets of building types, square footage, HVAC equipment and state-specific rebates. In addition, Umberger evaluated lighting retrofits by working with a lighting firm to get quotes on different types of lighting solutions. These lighting solutions were analyzed, and then, a plan was created to scale them across the entire division after building a tool to benchmark lighting energy consumption. Once the data was compiled, Umberger put together a three year plan combining the variable frequency drives and lighting retrofit projects, and he prioritized the different projects for each region.

Potential Impact

Umberger found that these projects have the potential to reduce the division's annual energy consumption by over 12.7 million kilowatt hours and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 6,600 tons while paying for themselves in fewer than 4 years, without rebates. In some locations, the payback period could be just over a year. Umberger’s plan also showed Comcast how the scaled energy-efficiency initiatives compared to total energy consumption. Knowing more could be done, Umberger also made initial suggestions for a purchasing policy and a benchmarking tool, which could help optimize the selection process for retrofit projects.

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