Bringing Energy Audits to Small Business

By: Katie Harrington | June 22, 2012

Ever sit in a class just daydreaming? While you're tapping your fingers thinking about the closing joke Ira made in last week's This American Life, the fellow next to you might just be having a silent epiphany about how to help America's small businesses shrink their $60 billion energy footprint. That was Net Impact DC member Daniel Hill 18 months ago in his MBA accounting class.

Daniel had been thinking about the lack of attention given toward small businesses looking to become more sustainable organizations, all because their building, budget, or name was too small.

Not the passive dreamers, Daniel and his friend Dave Hussey founded the Green Impact Campaign (GIC), now a nationwide effort (and 2011 Force for Change Award winner) that provides students tools to perform free energy audits for local small businesses. To help their effort grow coast-to-coast, Daniel knew he'd have to connect with students gung-ho about making an impact in their communities. Being a Net Impact member himself, he knew where to find them.

Leveraging the network to spread the impact

Partnering with Net Impact, Daniel rolled out the campaign to more than 30 student chapters, who signed up to perform audits in their community. Total savings for businesses? More than $90,000 per year.

To scale up, the Green Impact Campaign has enlisted fellow Net Impact DC members who are professionals in the sustainability field. Together, they plan to roll out additional tools and frameworks to make the campaign even more attractive - to both student auditors and the businesses benefiting from them. These include additional support and training toolkits for auditors, and a potential low-donation model that would encourage businesses to ascribe greater value to an otherwise free service.

So what will you be thinking about next time you daydream? More importantly, who in the Net Impact network will you work with to make that dream a reality?

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