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Saving on energy bills

The ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™œ๐™š๐™™๐™ฎ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™จ is like a high-stakes game of Monopoly, where the goal is to accumulate as much cash ๐Ÿค‘ as possible. But instead of a title deed, in real life the resource can be clean water, arable land, the environment, virus-free air etc. (โ€œ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™จโ€).

When everyone takes more than their fair share, it can lead to overuse and depletion. We all know that. But ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™—๐™ž๐™–๐™จ, ๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™ž๐™—๐™ž๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ ๐™จ๐™๐™š๐™™๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ, ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™›-๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™™ ๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ drive us to overuse and deplete anyway. Here are some examples:

Information and imposition of fines can only do so much. What if, instead, we could make it easy, attractive, social and timely for people to NOT overuse common resources? Letโ€™s take the example of reducing the energy bill at work.

How to reduce office energy bills

Reducing energy usage at the workplace is not always as simple as encouraging remote working or turning down the thermostat (though it sometimes isโ€ฆ). The amount of energy used depends on how employees act in the office. it follows that, to cut energy bills and emissions, ๐™š๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ ๐™ข๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™›๐™–๐™˜๐™ž๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™– ๐™จ๐™๐™ž๐™›๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™š๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™š๐™š๐™จ ๐™—๐™š๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š. But unlike when people use energy in their own homes, employees donโ€™t directly bear the cost of the energy they use in their office. They take it for granted and leave the bosses to worry about it. Also, sharing workplace facilities with many colleagues makes people feel that their actions wonโ€™t make a big difference in this context. This is a classic example of the ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™œ๐™š๐™™๐™ฎ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™จ. Some good news! ๐™€๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ ๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™จ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฆ๐™ช๐™š ๐™ก๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™๐™ž๐™›๐™ฉ ๐™—๐™š๐™๐™–๐™ซ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ง๐™จ:

  • staff are bound by organizational policies

  • they look to their employers and colleagues for guidance on how to behave whilst at work

  • they can be held accountable for their workplace behavior.

So then, wow can employers encourage staff to use less energy in the workplace? Drawing on their EAST framework, UK's Behavioural Insights Team suggests that to encourage employees to save energy at work, employers need to ๐™ข๐™–๐™ ๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™ฎ, ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š, ๐™จ๐™ค๐™˜๐™ž๐™–๐™ก ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ข๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ.

Make it Easy

Make it Attractive

  • When salient messaging through posters and โ€œturn it offโ€ stickers was combined with strong messaging from the CEO and senior staff modelling energy saving, it resulted in a sustained 30% reduction in the number of monitors on as well as smaller reductions in hard drives and lights.

  • Selecting โ€˜exemplary employeesโ€™ to demonstrate energy saving behaviors in the office, and publicly rewarding them, can reduce energy consumption by 5-12%.

  • Competitions can be effective too. Back in 2010, the UK government used a competitive approach to reduce energy consumption of departments, publishing monthly performance tables with a real-time display of energy consumption in the resorts. They even held a real competition to see which building could save the most energy. After a year of this initiative, the government saved 10% of its energy consumption.

Make it Social

Make it Timely

  • The โ€œfresh startโ€ effect refers to the feeling of empowerment we get from having a clean slate. This means that an ideal time to pursue a change is after a salient temporal landmark (a fresh start): like the beginning of the week, new year, our birthday, a new job, graduation etc. In our workplace context, prompts to save energy could be embedded into onboarding packages to help build positive habits for newcomers.


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