Cut Energy Use by Engaging Building Occupants in Energy Reduction Contests


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This webinar on energy reduction contests was presented by Pulse Energy and Michael Driedger, Sustainable Buildings Advisor for Busby, Perkins & Will, an architecture and planning firm known for its commitment to sustainability and green building design. Michael shared how a recent inter-office competition reduced energy use by 16.5% in seven Perkins & Will offices across North America.

Michael’s presentation included:

• insights into setting up a successful energy reduction competition
• plans to make the savings generated by the competition persistent
• an explanation of the role of real-time energy displays in the competition

Published in: Business, Technology
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Cut Energy Use by Engaging Building Occupants in Energy Reduction Contests

  1. 1. Energy Saving Competitions Guest Presenter: Michael Driedger Sustainable Buildings Advisor Busby, Perkins + Will
  2. 2. Agenda Energy Conservation at Busby Perkins + Will The Perkins+Will Energy Cup competition Overview of Pulse™ software modules Q&A Estimated time: 45 minutes
  3. 3. Perkins+Will • Architecture, planning, and design • 1,200 employees in 20 offices Internationally • Strong commitment to environmental sustainability (#1 Greenest Firm for 2 years) Vancouver Office of Busby Perkins+Will • 80 Staff • 95% of design staff are LEED Accredited Professionals • More than 100 design honours, including 6 Governor General and 11 Lieutenant Governor Awards
  4. 4. Energy Conservation Efforts at Busby Perkins+Will Projects • Retrofits/ Building Upgrades (insulating envelope etc) • Occupant Engagement • Energy Management Software • LED lighting replacement Lessons Learned • As the building has a simple heating system with no cooling (all passive) and no centralized building automation control we have always been able to save more energy through engagement than technological upgrades.
  5. 5. Perkins+Will Energy Cup • 7 offices in 2 countries and 3 time zones – 141,400 sq. ft. of office space – 590 employees • Two week, two round playoff format • Goal: reduce energy use by 8%
  6. 6. Competition Dashboard
  7. 7. Getting Started • Started with a small competition to test concept (Vancouver vs Seattle) • Set goals (7% reduction) • Got commitment from participants • Coordinated with key personnel: – Energy champions or “Power Rangers” in each office – Pulse Energy staff to arbitrate the competition • Prepared messaging and incentives
  8. 8. Actions Taken During Competition Extreme behavioral patterns for Competition • Lower than low lighting levels (task lights and dimmed monitors only) • No use of heating during a period that would require heating • Cold showers • No coffee (machines turned off) Successful behavioral patterns (to continue) • Switching off boardroom lights and task lights • Use of stand by power and turning off monitors • Turning off computers of staff not in for the day
  9. 9. Actions Taken During Competition Extreme Operational Changes • Turning off both HRV • Turning off all refrigerators • Running laptops on batteries Operational Changes (to continue) • Turning off under used refrigerators • Naturally ventilating the server room when possible (open door also heats the office space) • Turning down the set point of the water heater (very inefficient heater) • Removal of lights in areas that don’t require them (near atrium and the one’s that light
  10. 10. Results • Average energy reduction across entire competition: 16.5% • Greenhouse gas emissions prevented: 0.75 tons • Maximum daily energy savings achieved: 42% • Total energy savings: approximately 2 MWhr • Persistent energy savings after competition period: 5% average across 7 offices (17% in one office)
  11. 11. Lessons Learned • Start simple and build upon previous successes • Competitions spur creative approaches to energy savings. While some actions may not be persistent they may point towards the need for an operational change. • Some energy savings persist after competition ends
  12. 12. Recommendations • Add light switch to accounting office • Add a light switch for atrium perimeter lighting • New more efficient water heater • Make stand by power setting after 20 minutes automatic on all machines • Motion sensors in kitchen, exit stairs and new sensors in boardrooms • LED upgrade throughout the office (after lighting is adjusted and wiring upgraded)
  13. 13. Recommendations • Add a separate switch for the hall lighting and copy areas • Change of halogen lighting for admin staff at front to softer LED option • Set up protocol for naturally ventilating the servers • Set up a shut down protocol for un-used computer terminals • Removal of older fridges and consolidation of fridge goods to fewer fridges
  14. 14. Future Plans • Energy Cup will become an annual event • The goal is to add every P+W office • Add the feature of a water competition • Building capacity for longer competitions • Challenge our consultants and clients • Engage a sociology student to study behavioral changes and energy efficiency
  15. 15. Pulse™: Occupant Engagement Dashboard
  16. 16. Pulse™: Occupant Engagement Dashboard (Cont’d)
  17. 17. Pulse™: Management Module
  18. 18. Pulse™: Reporting Module
  19. 19. Pulse™: Reporting Module
  20. 20. Competition Dashboard
  21. 21. Q & A
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  32. 32. Thank you!  Additional questions?  Contact Pulse Energy at: 1-877-331-0530 or at  Look for future and archived webinars on our website: