4) Race to the Finish Line – Before handing off the baton, make sure to set goals for your competition. Participants need to know what they’re working toward and your FM team also needs a metric to measure the success of the program.
Some organizations set a goal for the entire challenge, such as an overall building reduction by a certain percentage or saving X number of kilowatts. Others may simply strive to get a specific portion of their occupants to participate.
Whatever goals you settle on, make sure they realistically reflect your occupants’ ability to achieve them, Liaboe recommends. If you shoot for the moon but miss your target, participants may feel their efforts were for naught.
5) Set the Clock – Depending on your occupant culture, competitions can last for a matter of weeks or months. The College Conservation Nationals, an electricity and water conservation program for universities and colleges, only runs for three weeks. Other colleges find a semester is an ideal length. If you own your space, a whole building challenge could be sustained for a full year. But for a quick efficiency hit, a single month allows you to compare utility bills with ease.
“Occupants can establish new behavior in two to four weeks, so make sure your competition provides enough time to turn actions into habits,” Liaboe explains. “You can then refresh every quarter or on an annual basis.”
6) Keep Your Eye on the Prize – Find out what will motivate your participants. Sometimes bragging rights are enough but others may need something more concrete. Cash prizes and gift cards are standard, as are food rewards. Commemorative plaques, trophies, or certificates can also serve as a pat on the back.
Try branded items for the competition, such as t-shirts, stickers, reusable bags, and water bottles. Participants can also vie for eco-friendly products, such as an LED task lamp or bulbs, workout gear, or smart power strips. Consider a company outing or tickets to a local event, suggests Liaboe. To really up the ante, enter participants into a drawing for an extra day of vacation.
7) Monopolize Progress Reports – No matter how long your competition runs, it’s imperative to refresh the program periodically. Participants need continual reinforcement of their progress to stay motivated.
“You have to show people where they are making a difference,” says Buckley. “It’s one thing to establish a baseline for energy consumption, but you have to create momentum around improvement.”
Kick-off events, social media updates, and company announcements via email or newsletters can help keep the competition on everyone’s radar. If resources allow, create a dedicated website or intranet page to highlight improvements. Public displays or kiosks and desktop apps are also effective as they provide immediate feedback, says Liaboe.