In this post we’ll talk more about the importance of Energy Awareness and why encouraging staff or inhabitants works best. When it comes to energy saving practices, there are plenty of resources which are always beneficial, but we should never forget that one of the most important aspects about energy management is the building’s occupant’s habits and that they are actually our best allies.

As we’ve said before, we can find many types of software and hardware solutions to achieve energy efficiency such as sensors and timers. They’re all part of Energy Saving Practices.

Nevertheless, there are other soft measures that don’t necessarily require hardware such as encouraging practices like turning lights off when leaving a room. These are valuable actions which can be acquired by the occupants of a building and will in fact be significantly helpful in saving energy.

Encourage staff and inhabitants

Believe it or not: one of the simplest ways to save a significant amount of energy is to encourage staff or inhabitants to switch equipment off at the end of each day and when not in use.

How to achieve this? Energy Awareness is the right answer.

Hardware may get damaged, but the occupant’s habits will remain. Those who benefit from energy awareness can spread their practices to others. They can even educate future generations about the importance of saving energy. That surely is a long term goal!

Each of us has a personal and a corporate responsibility to maintain focus on energy efficiency in light of energy costs and an ever increasing awareness of environmental responsibility.

What is energy awareness?

Energy awareness is basically about understanding that simple changes in our habits can lead to big reductions in our building’s energy consumption. People will get motivated if they actually see how much energy they are wasting. The more they see that their actions matter, the more inclined they’ll feel to do something about it.

Transparency of data toward the company’s personnel is the first step on the way to continuous improvement in energy efficiency.

The key way is to find specific targets within the organization because the more you can make your energy-awareness message directly relevant to your building, the more that building’s occupants will understand and appreciate it.

Here again, collecting and analyzing data comes essential to find out if your energy awareness program is working or not. Sensors are able to gather data about people’s habits. Thus, data reports show where major opportunities for saving energy are located.

Looking at detailed energy data is the ideal way to find routine energy waste. You can check whether staff and timers are switching things off without having to patrol the building day and night, and you can usually figure out who or what is causing the energy wastage that you will inevitably find.

How to properly encourage competitiveness 

When implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program, we often use strategies like the competitive model. It goes like this:

There are some cases when one of our customers has more than one building and these are often comparable with one another. The goal is to encourage people to contribute to maximize energy efficiency. Competitiveness between users can in fact foment better energy practices.

One of the most important steps within an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program is to provide internal and external audiences with an update of the success of the program. We must always celebrate achievements and recognize the important role that both employees and other building users play in reducing energy use.

There’s a useful guide for implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program here.

Example from my practice

Let me provide an example. My customer has many shopping centers and some are very similar in size, weather conditions, number of shoppers, etc. What we do is the following. We put one monitor in the bosses’ office of each shopping center. Thus, they can see the comparison (through some KPI’s) between different shops’ energy performance.

Once people see this real time data, they start competing. This way, each of them is constantly striving to accomplish their best performances and be the most rewarded. At the same time, energy efficiency practices are even more reinforced. Thereby, we are hitting two targets with one shot.

Come up with innovative ideas

What we do about the energy consuming behaviors we encounter is what counts. At the end of the day, we can be sure that both hardware and software do their job properly; but there is a remarkable importance in energy awareness.

Each case is always different and this makes consulting a highly creative job which consists of coming up with innovative ideas in order to adjust to everybody’s needs. And the more times we watch how things are done, the better our ideas are.

Sources

SEAI calls on organisations to build on €1billion energy savings | Environment & Energy Management. (2016).Eandemanagement.com. Retrieved 6 May 2016, from http://eandemanagement.com/2016/04/seai-calls-on-organisations-to-build-on-e1billion-energy-savings/
The What, Why, and How of Energy Management. (2016). Energylens.com. Retrieved 6 May 2016, from http://www.energylens.com/articles/energy-management