Berkeley MBA Students Generate Energy Savings as Climate Corps Fellows

Megan Rast, MBA 11, found no low-hanging fruit in her summer search for energy efficiency gains at eBay.

Rast, a fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF’s) Climate Corps program, had to abandon her initial strategy focusing on data centers after discovering the tech company had just unveiled a highly efficient new data center. So she dug a little deeper and found individual computer usage was a significant drain on energy. But purchasing energy-efficient computers wasn’t enough—behavioral changes were needed as well. Her recommendation: power management software.

“It allows IT to override excessive energy consumption by individual computers,” noted Rast.

Rast and classmate Joey Barr, MBA 11, were among 51 MBA students nationwide to participate in EDF Climate Corps this summer. The program partners with Net Impact to match students with companies in need of practical, actionable energy efficiency plans. Participating companies also included Bloomberg, Pepsi, and Target. Barr worked for Shorenstein Realty Services.

Fellows participate in a three-day training, and then embed with companies for 10-12 weeks to search out energy savings and develop investment and implementation plans. Rast and Barr each identified ways to potentially reduce carbon emissions by some 5,000 tons and save their companies upwards of $1 million.

Rast actively blogged about her Climate Corps experiences in reports that were picked up by websites including Vault CSR, Greenbiz, and Reuters. Her assignment proved particularly challenging because eBay has a highly engaged “green team” and is an active user of solar power.

"Despite my uncertainty of finding low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency at an environmental leader like eBay, I found my stride and was able to calculate the energy savings of a number of computer power management solutions," Rast wrote in her last blog post. "Thanks to this project, and a few smaller projects on facility upgrades, I was able to dig in and provide recommendations that will be implemented across eBay."

To read Rast's blog, click here.

Megan Rast, MBA 11