8) Do a Victory Dance – Make sure your competition ends with a bang and not a whimper. Bring out the marching band (literally, if you can) and toot your horn for any gains. Clearly communicate the results and make it a point to thank participants for all of their efforts. No matter whether your target objective was reached or not, you want everyone to know the campaign was a success, particularly if you intend to make the competition a regular event.
“You want to avoid sending negative messages or making individuals feel poorly about their participation,” Love stresses. “These competitions are all about encouraging tenants and providing the tools, information, and incentives to empower individuals to save energy.”
9) Go Fishing for Feedback – Once your competition has ended, seek feedback from participants, says Buckley. They may have valuable suggestions on how to improve the program, from simplifying instructions to picking a more attractive incentive for the next round.
“Developing tenant engagement strategies involve some trial and error. Don’t be hesitant to try something simply out of fear that it may not work,” encourages Love. “Keep in mind that the bigger picture is about positive interactions with tenants, building the skills of your property management team, and uncovering opportunities for savings.”
Roll the Dice
While energy competitions may seem like all fun and games, don’t peg these challenges as a trivial pursuit – the savings are a hard win.
“Volunteer energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit,” Buckley says. “Energy competitions are a great motivator and accelerator for behavior change. Making everyone feel part of the solution is really effective in terms of reducing energy.”
Kilowatt games are also a way to build positive relationships with occupants. “A strong program can frame energy and resource management as an organizational value, which provides a strong marketing advantage,” adds Liaboe. “It also increases workplace pride and teamwork.”
This dialog with tenants, employees, and students can have a domino effect on facilities management as a whole. With their eyes focused on efficiency, occupants may spy areas for efficiency that you haven’t had a chance to notice, adds Liaboe. When occupants see facilities management as a partner who wants to improve their workspace, they also tend to be more open about subsequent improvements.
As you move beyond an energy competition, look for additional ways to engage occupants with sustainability.
“Challenge everyone to think about not only what’s best practice but next practice,” recommends Buckley. “Once people get a taste of success and feel appreciated for their efforts, they’re motivated to tackle even bigger challenges.”
Jennie Morton firstname.lastname@example.org is senior editor of BUILDINGS.