Capturing the Energy Efficiency Opportunity

Lessons from the EDF Climate Corps

September 17, 2010

Event Summary

Summary Report CoverThe September 2010 event hosted at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business brought together Climate Corps companies and fellows from the past three summers to share lessons learned, and to identify common themes or innovations that could be more broadly applied to accelerate energy savings and reduce climate impact. This inaugural event attracted nearly 100 Climate Corps companies, fellows, EDF and Duke staff, guest speakers and members of the Duke community. The interactive format of the event gave participants, organizers and supporters an opportunity to identify the most promising strategies for identifying and delivering on efficiency gains in industry. READ REPORT pdf icon


Guest Speakers

The guest speakers at the "Capturing the Energy Efficiency Opportunity" Conference were:

  • Michael W. Lamach (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ingersoll-Rand)
  • Peter Senge (Author, The Fifth Discipline; Founding Chair, Society for Organizational Learning (SoL); Senior Lecturer, MIT)
  • Bill Chameides (Dean of the Nicolas School for the Environment, Duke University)

Conference Overview

Over the last three years, over 80 companies and select MBA fellows have worked in dozens of leading companies through Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program, identifying opportunities for energy efficiency that save money and reduce greenhouse emissions. The insights generated through the Climate Corps experience provide a rich learning opportunity for all companies and organizations looking to unlock the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency.

To capture and re-apply these powerful insights, Duke University and EDF are hosting an interactive workshop, facilitated by Duke University faculty and staff with Climate Corps alumni and their host companies, to distill lessons learned from three years of work in the field. We will draw on the framing of energy efficiency as innovation to connect these challenges and successes to what we know from decades of studying innovation and organizational change. The organizing framework for the conference will be the "energy efficiency process" (Fig. 1) which views energy efficiency in corporations as a series of decisions regarding:


Why did the company seek to improve its energy efficiency? Was it pushed by corporate boards and upper management, customers or stockholders, lead firms in the supply chain, industry associations, or other factors? What barriers to energy efficiency existed in the organization?


How was information about the opportunities for energy efficiency in a company gathered? What actors or organizations were involved in identifying the opportunity for energy efficiency in the organization?


How were energy efficiency projects financed? What financing mechanisms were put in place to fund investments in energy efficiency? What payback thresholds existed for projects?


Who was responsible for implementing energy efficiency in the organization? How did they overcome barriers to energy efficiency? What incentives were provided for organizational or behavioral changes?

Benchmarking and Reporting

What industry standards were used to benchmark the organization’s progress in energy efficiency? Were energy management standards reported to management or other corporate reporting mechanisms?

The Energy Efficiency Process

The day will be spent with EDF Climate Corps members and their sponsoring organizations organized in panels around each of these phases of the energy efficiency process. The conference agenda includes an opening keynote speaker, facilitated working sessions on key process steps to capture the energy efficiency opportunity, and a concluding networking reception where prospective corporations and students for Summer 2011 can receive information about the program.