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EDF’s Climate Corps at State of the Union

January 28th, 2014 · No Comments

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) program to put people impassioned about clean energy within major Corporations and institutions to help drive energy efficiency and clean energy projects that will save money while reducing pollution is about to get a lot better known.

This evening, sitting alongside the First Lady of the United States, will be:

Tyrone Davis (Winston-Salem, NC)

Fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps

Tyrone Davis, from Winston-Salem, NC, has been legally blind since the age of nine. Despite his vision loss, he ran cross-country and track in high school, and received a political science degree and Masters of Public Administration from North Carolina State University.

He developed an interest in environmental issues during his time as an undergraduate, which led to a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2010, placing him at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black university. His recommendations showed the school how to achieve savings of more than $31,000 a year, resulting in nearly 200 tons of carbon emissions reductions annually.

Tyrone’s father owns and operates a small office cleaning service, while his mother is a cost clerk for the county’s school transportation department. He has one younger brother currently attending North Carolina A&T State University. Now in his third year at Elon University School of Law, Tyrone hopes to use his skills to benefit the environment and make communities safer

What Davis achieved at Elizabeth State is the sort of energy efficiency payoff that is being seen at university after college after university.

Tip of the hat to Davis for his achievements, to EDF for the Climate Corps program, and to the White House for giving visibility to it.

We should hope that Tyrone’s story provides a tool for a larger discussion.

  • This is not ‘just’ about one man even as Tyrone Davis sounds like a very impressive young man.
  • This is not just about Elizabeth State University, which is certainly happy to be saving $31,000 per year and is certainly ecstatic over its 15 minutes of fame.
  • This is not ‘just’ about EDF’s Climate Corps, even as they merit a pat on the back.
  • This not ‘just’ about energy efficiency being a profitable path to follow, with efficiencies providing a great return on the investment.

The story is broader …

  • Across the nation, student groups have worked with University funding — typically with endowment funds — on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. At campus after campus after campus, these projects are returning better profits than the general endowment fund is seeing in its investments (see this Endowment Institute report).
  • These projects have multiple additional value streams — not ‘just’ in reducing pollution, but also making the campuses safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable places to work and study.

Let’s hope that, this evening, the President takes the message beyond “dollar invested due to Tyrone’s work provided several dollars in savings” to these broader realities.

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Tags: Energy