Carbon Reduction Challenge

An initiative of the GT College fo Sciences and Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at Georgia Tech, in collaboration with the Georgia Climate Project

For organizations

Get information about participating in the Carbon Reduction Challenge at your organization.

Organizations that have participated in the Carbon Reduction Challenge dramatically reduce their long-term carbon footprints while saving money or making minimal investments. Over the past 10 years, student projects have resulted in over 140 million pounds of CO2 reductions and hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings.   Want to learn more? you can watch this short video:   

How It Works

The Carbon Reduction Challenge is a summer program that runs from May to August. 

1. Apply for the Carbon Reduction Challenge 

Applications will open for the Summer 2024 challenge in March and will close in May. Check back in March for updates! 

2. Learn about the drivers of climate change 

We’ll run an asynchronous, virtual orientation at the beginning of the summer for the student(s). The videos will:  

  • Provide an overview of the program 
  • Teach more about the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions  
  • How to calculate the finances and carbon capture 

3. Develop a carbon reduction project 

We challenge the students to work with your organization to identify a project that can reduce CO2 emissions while saving money. 

4. Receive regular feedback 

Students can attend virtual check-ins with Georgia Tech faculty experts to help with any technical project questions.  

5. Submit a final report to your organization 

The students will write up a reporst with their calculations and recommendations and submit it to your organization as well as our team, for implementation considerations.  

6. Compete for cash prizes at Georgia Tech 

We’ll organize a final competition where the teams will present on their project and compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes.  The expo is held every August.

Organizations that have participated in the Challenge
City of Atlanta
Delta Air Lines
Georgia Tech
The Home Depot

The listing of corporate logos on this site does not constitute an endorsement by Georgia Tech.


Teams of students will design and implement a strategy for reducing their organization’s CO2 footprint while saving them money. Each team must quantify the CO2 reductions and cost savings that are associated with their reduction activities through the investigation of primary literature. The project is conducted in close partnership with stakeholders within the organization, with guidance from the Georgia Tech Carbon Reduction Team, and lasts 12-14 weeks from start to finish.

The benefits of participating in the Challenge include economic, strategic, marketing, and workforce development benefits.

A. Economic
Ultimately, saving carbon emissions means saving energy costs, so there are sizeable financial benefits to enacting the carbon reduction plans developed by participating student teams. In the history of the Challenge, participating organizations have saved up to $30,000/yr through low- or no-cost modifications to their energy use.

B. Strategic
As we transition into a carbon-constrained world, the market will reward those who have enacted carbon reductions. Many markets (e.g. California, the Northeastern states, the EU, South Korea, New Zealand, and parts of China) already have a price on carbon emissions (see updated map here), and the United States EPA has the obligation to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. By acting to minimize your organization’s dependence on fossil fuels, you will be at a strategic advantage when carbon pricing in enacted at the federal, regional, or state level.

C. Marketing
Participation in the Challenge allows you access to additional marketing channels via Georgia Tech’s communications, as well as any local and national media which cover the Challenge (should your organization opt in to such coverage). If of interest, your organization would be featured as a “partner” on the web-site. At a bare minimum, your organization would be featured at the final Poster Expo for the Challenge, where a large range of community stakeholders and members of the public view the project outcomes. There is significant value in branding your organization as a partner, given that the public is increasingly interested in supporting organizations that are leaders in the area of sustainability, and climate action.

D. Workforce development
The Carbon Reduction Challenge presents an opportunity to 1) recruit new talent to the organization in the form of high-achieving, engaged, and informed students who are entering the job market, 2) train existing employees to identify and enact carbon reduction projects that benefit the company’s bottom line, and 3) foster a culture of teamwork and shared culture around sustainability goals at your organization, towards increased employee satisfaction.

The program is held over a 12-14 week period. Each team is expected to spend no more than 4 hours a week on their project, unless requested to do so by their direct supervisors at the partner organization.

Students are expected to create a preliminary plan after 3-4 weeks into the program, to refine that plan and sharpen the project scope by roughly 6-8 weeks into the program, and to finalize their implementation after 12-14 weeks for presentation to stakeholders at a Final Poster Expo held in the middle of August.

The students are encouraged to contact the Georgia Tech instructor team (Dr. Cobb and Dr. Toktay, in addition to associated support staff) with any questions throughout the entirety of the program. Students will receive specific, tailored guidance about how to make their project successful, from the beginning to the end of the challenge. Mid-way through the Challenge, students will receive feedback from the instructors and their peers during a presentation about their progress, and their plans for the remainder of the Challenge.

As faculty directors, Dr. Kim Cobb and Dr. Beril Toktay are always available for a conversation with prospective partner organizations, and can share their past experiences and answer any questions. General inquiries can also be sent to

Participate in the Challenge

Contact us to get more information about how the Carbon Reduction Challenge can work at your organization.