Sarah Ford | February 18, 2014

Goodwill Affiliates Reduce Energy Use and Return Money to Mission

Source: Goodwill Industries International

By Anca Novacovici

In 2012, the Goodwill® enterprise launched the Energy Conservation Challenge, aimed at encouraging member Goodwill agencies around the U.S. and Canada to reduce building energy consumption. Thirty-two Goodwill locations participated in this friendly competition, and more than 500 Goodwill facilities benchmarked their energy performance in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

Based on the challenge’s success, Goodwill has organized a new Energy Challenge running from July 2013-June 2014. Forty-seven Goodwill agencies are currently working to reduce their energy consumption and related costs, benchmarking data for more than 700 Goodwill facilities. Below are some of the benefits that the early adopters of the challenge found:

Goodwill Industries of Texas (Austin)

As the earliest Goodwill member to track and benchmark its data, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas (Austin) reduced energy consumption by nearly five percent in one year, which saved the organization a conservative $50,000 in electricity costs alone.  To do this, they created a green team with cross- divisional participation and set a goal to evaluate each facility and improve efficiencies. They also conducted an energy audit of each location. Changes included ensuring the donation doors were not left open between donors, and that the lights and air conditioning were turned off when the room or building was not in use. They assessed weatherization options, and installed and correctly used programmable thermostats in their buildings.

The Austin Goodwill asked staff to remove non-essential electrical items from the premises, such as desk fans and heaters. The mantra of “use less” became part of training for new hires, 90-day reviews and other staff celebrations.  In addition to the cultural shift, the agency added energy reduction to its balanced scorecard. The Goodwill attributes its success to executive support, buy-in and long term commitment. They celebrate small and large success stories, and are on the road to continuous improvement that will save more money, allowing them to serve more job seekers in their community.

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana (Indianapolis)

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana is another early adopter that has been using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager as a tracking and measurement tool. The process of reviewing bills and entering the data into Portfolio Manager led to the discovery of opportunities that resulted in savings of $23,000 – and this was before focusing on decreasing energy consumption at the stores.

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