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Ideas that work

Stage an energy efficiency awareness day or week

Bring employees on board by holding a special one-day event focusing on your key energy efficiency measures.

Set up an Awareness-Raising Committee to plan the day and set the stage to kick off your program. Before the event, build interest in the measures you plan to take and in the related activities to be held on the day. Promote the event in the company’s communications materials. Consider arranging for co-sponsors, exhibits, draws, giveaways and free lunches or cafeteria specials. Set up an energy hotline to provide information on your program, and accept employee suggestions on energy efficiency improvements.

If you are more ambitious and have the resources, you may want to hold an energy awareness week. Use the same general game plan as you would for an energy efficiency awareness day.

However, if you hold a week-long campaign, consider taking a broader approach to energy savings. For example, focus information and activities on getting energy savings from retrofits, incorporating energy efficiency into planned facilities, and using less energy at home and on the road. The important point is to host a signature event that celebrates participation and broadcasts your energy-saving program.

Conduct a night audit

Do an energy efficiency audit to check workstations at night. Take note of workstations where computers and lights are not shut off, and visit the employees who work there, explaining in a friendly and informative way how much energy they could save by shutting down for the night.


  • Avoid using compressed air where low-pressure blower air will do the job just as well.
  • Consider using an expert computer-control system to manage refrigeration systems.
  • When purchasing energy-consuming equipment and systems …buy smart and maintain smart!

At regular intervals, hold a draw for prizes. Leave a contest entry form at workstations where computers and lights are shut off. The next morning, these employees can submit the form to win prizes related to furthering energy efficiency. You can have friendly competition between groups or, if your company has more than one facility, between buildings.

A new focus – month by month

Choose a different key message every month. For example, devote the first month to reviewing energy management issues at your facility and learning more about the costs and other factors involved. Dedicate the second month to lighting retrofits and accompanying awareness initiatives. Focus the third month on motors and equipment. Wind down in the final month, and celebrate it with a staff barbecue or party and an awards presentation for employee suggestions.

Partner with a utility company

Conduct your energy efficiency campaign with a local utility company. You may find that partnering with a local utility company can expand your corporate initiative into community involvement. For example, the target audience could be provided with information that extends their knowledge about saving energy and protecting the environment in the workplace, at home and on the road.

Shutting down motors

Post signs on motors stating they can or cannot be shut off when not in use. Employees who may be tempted to leave them on to avoid start-up time should be encouraged to “shut down” to save energy. The same principle can be applied to other equipment, lights and appliances.

Keep the momentum

Hold various events throughout the year to reinforce your energy efficiency campaign. These events may include ongoing efforts to obtain employee suggestions, energy efficiency conferences, workshops, challenges and competitions. Such measures ensure that energy efficiency issues remain in the forefront throughout the year.

Saving energy underground at Goldcorp

Goldcorp Inc.’s Porcupine Joint Venture, a gold mining facility in Ontario, has cut energy costs by 10 percent since August 2005, thanks to its employees’ enthusiastic, practical approach to saving energy.

The “Watt-Watchers” employee awareness program encourages employees to suggest ways to save energy in daily operations. A panel of 10 energy managers then selects the best suggestions and discusses them with management in the relevant departments.

During the program’s first year of operation, employees submitted more than 250 suggestions. Some of these were complex, but most were simple to implement and over 40 were put into practice.

The recommendations included installing motion sensors, disconnecting equipment not in use and reducing unnecessary lighting in unused areas of the mine. A more substantial change involved rewiring underground ventilation fans so they could be controlled from above-ground stations and operated only when workers are on site. The auxiliary ventilation fan project cost about $300,000, but in the program’s first nine months, the company saved about $183,000 in energy costs.

By participating in the program, employees are helping the company become more competitive and raising awareness for future energy reduction projects.

Source: Heads Up CIPEC, February 1, 2007 Vol.  XI, No. 3.

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