Changing Culture: Cutting Energy

“Twenty-six students from some of the nation’s best business schools have taken on an unusual summer assignment: helping cut corporate America’s energy bills.

“They belong to an internship program organized by the Environmental Defense Fund that embeds MBA students with companies that want to use less energy, either to fight global warming or just to save money. The Climate Corps interns – drawn from such schools as Yale, UC Berkeley, Columbia and Michigan – will spend 10 weeks hunting for ways to trim the amount of power their host companies need.

“The Environmental Defense Fund has a history of partnering with businesses to tackle environmental problems. The internship, now in its second year, is the latest extension of that approach. Last year’s class of seven interns found enough savings to cut their host companies’ energy bills by $35 million over five years.

“…Before joining their host companies, the interns spend three days in the Climate Corps “boot camp,” getting tips on saving energy in different kinds of buildings and companies. Some sessions focus on saving power in heating and ventilation systems, lighting and data centers. Others focus on financing equipment upgrades. The students also learn how to overcome resistance from company executives and employees who don’t want to change.

“Real culture change is what we’re after,” Sturcken said. “And it’s so exciting to see business students who are so passionate about this.”

SF Gate

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