Tried and True: Celebrating our Fifth Year with the EDF Climate Corps Program
By: Tim Fleming, Director of Sustainability Operations, AT&T
I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who, once I find something that I like and works well, I’ll keep going back. It’s like the restaurant down the street that has been there since you moved in. You go there at least once a week. You try everything on the menu and you are constantly raving about it to your friends, strangers even. You just want everyone to know about this spot, because once they try it, you know they’ll become a regular like you. That’s what we at AT&T have found in the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps program.
AT&T will be engaging with EDF for the fifth year in a row, because it’s that good.
Tried and true
Over the years, we have come to value our EDF Climate Corps fellows more and more. These fellows are hand-picked to meet the specific needs of the host company and over the course of 10 to 12 weeks, they develop concrete, actionable plans that accelerate the company’s energy and water efficiency programs. I know you’re asking yourself, “How much can an outsider really accomplish within a company as large as AT&T, in that timeframe?” As it turns out a lot can be done. During the summer of 2010, our EDF Climate Corps fellow laid the groundwork for a lighting sensor program that has turned into a multi-million dollar savings initiative.
Since then we’ve invited EDF Climate Corps fellows to help with other projects (somewhat like perusing the menu and trying new things at that local restaurant). Over the years, fellows have hit diverse topics such as Free Air Cooling and Energy Data Dashboard systems.
Spreading the word
Water efficiency in cooling systems is our most recent project with the EDF Climate Corps program. Water is a big deal. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, buildings in the U.S. consume approximately 47 billion gallons of water every day. AT&T’s facilities alone use approximately 3.3 billion gallons of water a year. Through our work last year, we were able to find attainable, cost-effective improvements in large-scale commercial cooling systems that could save 28 billion gallons of water annually, if they were adopted nationwide.
We were so encouraged by the results that we worked with EDF to create a free toolkit other companies can use to implement water saving programs that would work best for their organization. These efforts have led EDF to offer Water and Energy efficiency programs to other companies to guide them through the process – not so different from asking the waiter for suggestions based on what foods you like!
This year we want everyone to know about our neighborhood restaurant. We want EDF Climate Corps fellows to work with other companies to implement the water toolkit. It’s the best of both worlds. Others will have the opportunity to experience how effective EDF Climate Corps can be and find ways to curb their water use and help minimize their environmental impact. I think that once you try it, you will become a regular just like us.Director of Sustainability Operations, AT&T Director of Sustainability Operations, AT&T