The Intern Diary: Thermostat Wars & Energy Efficiency

by Aman Singh Das | July 14, 2010

  • My Vault

Last month, I embarked on a 10-week-long EDFClimate Corps fellowship at News Corp.-Dow Jones. I blogged about the spectacleof its printing facilities in the Bronx, printing millionsof copies of The Wall Street Journal and New YorkPost daily. At this point, I've officially passed the halfwaymark of my fellowship and have taken the plunge into investigating energyefficiency opportunities and deleting costs for this massive company.

The EDF Climate CorpsInternship connects MBA students with companies on want to focus on becomingmore sustainable in their operations by focusing on energy efficiencysolutions. Jay Stone is part of their 2010 class

I recently ventured over to the Dow Jonesheadquarters in New Jersey for the public groundbreaking of their solar panel installation. With the country'sattention focused on the BP oil disaster, there's no better time tounderscore the importance of alternative energy. As two U.S. senatorsspoke about the duality of economic and environmental benefits of suchalternative energy projects, I could literally sense the boost in morale of theone thousand or so employees gathered on the lawn to witness their companyreceive praise for being a leader in the sustainable revolution. Uponcompletion, the project will be the largest corporate single-site solar panelinstallation to date and will generate 4.1 megawatts of electricity.

This experience provided furtheraffirmation of the myriad of benefits companies, employees, and, mostimportantly, the environment can generate by going green. It's no longerjust the trendy thing to do, but it is becoming a social and financialresponsibility. Hence, I returned to my office the next day thinking about waysthat Dow Jones and News Corp. could further seize sustainable opportunities.
In this spirit, I started looking into some HVAC changes toDow Jones's 400,000 square foot printing plant, which is using a great deal ofenergy to stay cool in this rather brutal New York City summer. The beststudy I have found on the topic was produced by the Department of Energy stating that "by turningyour thermostat back 10-15 degrees for eight hours, you can save about 5-15percent a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as one percent foreach degree if the setback period is eight hours long." Since theplant is in use 24/7, a 10 degree setback would likely result in negativeemployee feedback. Therefore, I am proposing a one degree week-long trialperiod, during which we turn the air handlers up just one degree and gauge ourenergy usage for that week versus a week under old temperatures. As long asemployees are still cool enough in their working conditions, a small changelike this could have a big difference in annual energy savings.

In addition to the lighting retrofit I mentioned in my first blog, Iam hopeful this HVAC project will garner significant savings for News Corp.-DowJones. Stay tuned for my findings. I'm only half way through my fellowship andit is constantly becoming clearer that there is no shortage of the low-hangingfruit that is energy efficiency.

-- Jonathan 'J' Stone, MBA, Stern School of Business, New YorkUniversity, 2010 EDF Climate CorpsFellow at News Corp. – Dow Jones, Member of Net Impact

This is the fifth post in a series ofblogs that In Good Company will host this summer in collaboration with EDF, featuring fellows fromtheir 2010 Climate Corps class, as they journey through their internships. Withtheir posts, these interns will give us a rare lens into the behind-the-scenesoperations at companies who are proactively discussing corporatesustainability, one conversation at a time.

Filed Under: CSR

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