04/04/14 :

PowerSave Campus Awarded CIWEA’s Employer of the Year Award

UC Berkeley is just one of 16 colleges participating in the PowerSave Campus program.

The Alliance to Save Energy is commonly recognized as a leader in the field of energy efficiency, but our work often blurs the lines between disciplines, creating myriad benefits outside the world of energy. The Alliance’s PowerSave Campus and PowerSave Schools programs are great examples of how an interdisciplinary approach to promoting energy efficiency can generate actual energy savings while simultaneously fostering a unique, multifaceted educational experience.

The PowerSave Campus program was recently named the California Internship and Work Experience Association’s (CIWEA) “Employer of the Year.” This prestigious annual award recognizes PowerSave Campus as an “exemplary internship and work experience program,” highlighting the academic and professional development aspects of the distinguished student-led energy efficiency initiative.

2014 PowerSave Campus Energy Efficiency Summit
Interns from all 16 campuses at the 2014 PowerSave Campus Energy Efficiency Summit

PowerSave Campus is the first non-profit organization to be named a CIWEA employer of the year, joining past recipients of the award, including Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios, Shell Oil Martinez Refinery, and Enterprise.  

While the program was nominated for the employer of the year award by a representative on the Cal Poly Pomona campus, the program was also recognized for its work with students on the fifteen other PowerSave campuses throughout California. The program’s interdisciplinary approach to energy efficiency is based around four key focus areas: green career training, infusion of energy efficiency concepts into academic curricula, energy efficiency outreach, and measureable energy savings.

Lynae Salgado, student intern and manager for the Cal Poly Pomona team, takes notes during a lighting audit of the campus’ main library


















Lynae Salgado, intern at Cal Poly Pomona, assists with a lighting audit at the campus library

Each university’s PowerSave Campus program employs four to six student-interns who work closely with campus stakeholders (faculty and staff) to educate the campus community on energy efficiency, achieve energy savings, and mentor the next generation of energy efficiency professionals. Campuses benefit directly from the cost savings generated by energy efficiency and conservation projects, with the program realizing total energy savings of 161,418,841 kWh and combined savings of $6,484,250 during 2013. The campus and surrounding community also benefit indirectly through access to energy efficiency expertise and resources provided through PowerSave Campus outreach efforts - reaching 463,333 people in 2013 and creating a vast network of energy conscious individuals. 

Students are engaged by the PowerSave Campus program in a variety of ways; from being hired as paid interns, to working to fulfill academic credit as for-credit interns, or simply benefiting from the outreach and education events held on campus. The PowerSave Campus program also provides fantastic networking opportunities for student interns. In addition to the contact that interns have with professionals on campus, PowerSave hosts two annual convergences that bring together interns and stakeholders from all 16 campuses. Convergences such as the PowerSave Campus Energy Efficiency Summit provide a forum for interns to meet and interact with colleagues from other campuses, share best practices, and receive trainings from Alliance staff and other energy efficiency professionals.   

Student interns gain valuable professional experience from their time working with the Alliance. In fact, 83% of PowerSave Campus graduates currently hold a "green job," defined as work that contributes substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Furthermore, 98% of PowerSave Campus alumni continue to support sustainability after graduating from the program. These figures illustrate the efficacy of PowerSave Campuses’ interdisciplinary approach to encouraging energy efficiency.  

Cal Poly Pomona intern Brandon Sauer posing with another intern wearing the team's PowerSave mascot, Penny the Penguin, during a tabling event for a national energy savings competition called Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN)
Cal Poly Pomona intern Brandon Sauer poses with PowerSave Mascot Penny the Penguin at Campus Conservation Nationals

With combined cost savings of over six million dollars and outreach efforts reaching nearly a half-million people in 2013, it is easy for student interns to realize the importance of their roles, making the work experience both rewarding and ‘real.’ While we have been aware of the success that PowerSave Campus has as a workforce development program, it is wonderful to be recognized for this aspect of our program on a larger scale as the CIWEA’s employer of the year.from their time working with the Alliance. In fact, 83% of PowerSave Campus graduates currently hold a "green job," defined as work that contributes substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Furthermore, 98% of PowerSave Campus alumni continue to support sustainability after graduating from the program. These figures illustrate the efficacy of PowerSave Campuses’ interdisciplinary approach to encouraging energy efficiency.