Saturday, September 08, 2012

A new turn in the history of energy efficiency

Saturday, September 08, 2012
Mix a little new energy tech with a pinch of behavioral psychology and you are obliged to get something unexpected.

Consider what happens, when New York City-based ThinkEco recently a challenge for international industrial packaging company Greif lead four-month energy.

The goal was of course to save energy. And that she achieved. Sixty employees two Griffin building cut 2,400 kWh use their energy for 10 weeks. But it was something else, the the challenge interesting, especially for businesses.

The story begins with the Ohio-based Griffin already high sustainability charts. The manufacturer who had sales $4.20 billion last year, reduced its energy use enterprise-wide 10% between 2007 and 2010. In addition, Griffin plans a 15 percent cut in energy consumption up to the year 2015 and 20 per cent by 2020 (per unit of output with 2008 as a base year measured) to achieve. The company has deposited also aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Done to have the obvious in order to save energy, Griffin was on the lookout for innovative. Enter the Modlet, developed by energy efficiency tech companies ThinkEco (thanks, ThinkEco, to not call it a plug load demand management optimization solution.)

The Modlet is a small box that you plug into a power outlet. It comes with a USB connector that goes in your computer. This is a wireless signal which the Modlet to talk allows your computer. Insert a device into the Modlet, and then your computer screen shows the energy consumption of the device.

The most interesting from your computer, you can control, closed the power flow in the body and even schedule and disadvantages in advance. For example, you could establish a schedule, so clear it makes devices not in use on at night and on weekends.

By using the Modlet, organized a contest between two Griffin building, with a team of 30 employees in each ThinkEco. The project comes from the behavioral science, indicating that people are more inclined to save energy when you compare their performance against others - one of several ideas arise in the study of how and why we use energy.

Modlets were handed out to the employees. Discover the teams to the devices save opportunities for the energy to achieve reductions and to build an energy IQ. Members of each team together a common Web dashboard where could she monitor results and to exchange ideas.

The team performed well. What surprised Mei Shibata, ThinkEco the Chief Strategy Officer, was not the energy savings, but as employees in what was required.

"We surprised had it how much offline interaction between people on the dashboard was," Shibata said. "That's for me was interesting." "They did it alone."

The project took on a life of its own and began to reach other types of employee goals, the company independently seek energy savings. Young employees engaged. Team members met at itself during lunch strategically. Dissolved hierarchies.

"It was a team-building exercise." It was a great way to people to speak to each other. I was surprised like Ernst people - we were asked to something not in their thinking, job description was, "she said."

She added that the project seemed to democratize the workplace. "We had administrative assistants, line managers... we had all employees participating." It didn't matter who you were, you were there along with the rest of your team.

Shibata is not sure, what inspires them, rally, but at least part of it seemed the Visual nature of the project. Many understood in an abstract way, that your company sustainability was prosecuted, but here you can actually see and changes could effect.

Before then "they knew that they worked sustainably minded - for a company, but how it relate to me?" She said.

The project is by saving energy. The motivational benefits and the team were an additional advantage.

So if ThinkEco and Griffin are an indication, the integration of behavioral psychology in energy efficiency can create added and unexpected improvements in corporate cultures that have nothing to do with energy. This is a bit more careful and discover more and more company employee-driven energy efficiency.

ELISA is a long-time energy writer. Your free newsletter on energy efficiency is available at

View the original article here

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