How To Launch an Energy Efficiency Competition in the Workplace

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As ENERGYSTAR partners look to increase employee participation in energy management campaigns, a little dose of competition and the idea of a reward may get your employees onboard. Companies may decide to launch campaigns internally to conserve energy at their corporate or other office locations. Several national companies have launched internal campaigns to reduce energy consumption in the work place.

Employees of L’Oreal USA in New York City participated in an energy reduction challenge to reduce kWh electrical energy use. Cone Communications LLC was hired to brand the internal campaign, “I’ve Got the Power.” This campaign ran for 6 months and progress was tracked floor by floor in the national headquarters. Cone designed materials used to promote the campaign. They created fact sheets including energy saving tips, informational posters and stickers to be placed on light switches to remind employees to “Turn it off.” They also went so far as to producing sticky notes to serve as a friendly reminder to some staff to turn their computers off at night or to close their window blinds in their offices. Each floor recruited an internal ambassador, or “Energy Champ” to represent each floor and to motivate their colleagues to participate in the competition. Employees were also engaged through a Facebook page designed specifically for this cause. The prize at the end of the competition was $5,000 for the floor with the most energy reduction over the 6 month period.

The results speak for themselves. The winning floor achieved a 37% total reduction in energy use and overall employees reduced energy by 9%. The cost savings associated with the campaign was 8%. 23 of 26 floors reduced their energy consumption. Over 30% of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted due to inefficient use or wasted use when energy is not needed.

There are many other ways businesses can achieve energy reduction in their workplaces. Some examples include placing recycling bins in their break rooms. Some offices may even offer coffee mugs that can be washed and re-used versus using Styrofoam cups or other disposables on a daily basis. Offering a water cooler or water filtration system in the break room also gives businesses the opportunity to become greener. Staff can set reminders to turn their computers off at the end of the day. Some offices have window coverings that can be lowered as needed to help conserve energy.  Offices can also invest in Energy Star certified equipment that reduce energy use. For instance, many printers are now offering “power saving modes” that feature a sleep type setting that will “wake” when a print job is sent to the printer. Break rooms can also be equipped with Energy Star appliances such as dishwashers, water coolers and refrigerators. Businesses can also trade inefficient light bulbs out for Energy Star certified LED bulbs.

Businesses can create friendly competition amongst branch offices to reduce energy consumption. There is plenty of room for creativity- have departments compete against each other to see who can recycle the most or place branch locations in a competition to see who can reduce their energy bill the most. Create custom awards or recognize employees with extra vacation time. A little competition never hurt anyone- especially the environment!

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