JC Penney

At a Glance


Retail and Apparel

Project Type

Engagement and Behavior Change




Plano, TX


Yih-Wei Chien helped JCP find significant energy savings by helping employees become engaged in energy efficiency practices.


In May 2010, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP), one of America's leading retailers, issued a press release detailing its commitment to reducing energy consumption 20% by 2015. To help meet this goal, JCP worked with EDF's Climate Corps program to bring in Yih-Wei Chien, a MBA/MS candidate at the University of Michigan's Erb Institute. Since cost-effective facilities upgrades in an already 90 Energy Star rated, LEED Gold certified building are few and far between, Chien was tasked with developing a strategic plan to engage JCP's Home Office associates in strengthening their energy awareness and conservation. 


Chien took JCP's existing retail store energy awareness program (EMPowered) and adapted it to fit the culture of JCP's Home Office building. He began by researching the successes of and barriers to EMPowered through store visits in California and Texas. Chien also familiarized himself with Home Office culture through two means: (1) Walk the Home Office building before, during, and after normal work hours to understand associate energy usage, and (2) Conduct an extensive market segmentation project through a series of informational interviews throughout the Home Office. The end result is not only a campaign designed to bolster JCP's culture of energy conservation, but also a program that could produce considerable financial and environmental benefits.

Potential Impact

Chien estimates a potential cost savings in excess of $880,000 and energy savings of over 8.3 million kWh of electricity by the end of 2015. These figures equate to nearly 6,000 metric tons of CO2 abated over the same time frame.

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