Solid energy management and sustainability plans are important and can provide a great benefit to the company and to the environment. But, these plans can’t work properly if not everyone on your team is on the same page. In order to keep their teams involved in energy management and sustainability practices, some companies have implemented a number of successful programs and projects.
Spreading awareness of sustainability and energy management initiatives is no easy task: Jeri King, assistant to the associate vice president at the University of Iowa’s facilities management department, says that, “In earlier days, probably one of the biggest challenges for a large department with various units was making sure that everyone on staff had access to current information about what and how the department was doing.” According to King, “By moving from a printed staff newsletter every other month to an intranet that is updated continually, staff members are more connected.”
Other companies, such as Jones Lang LaSalle, aim to spread sustainability and energy-management awareness beyond the facilities team to the entire company. Jones Lang LaSalle’s ACT (A Cleaner Tomorrow) program has a number of elements focusing on employee communication, motivation, and education. The program features a global website and provides daily communications, such as the ACT tip of the day, which might suggest things that employees can do to improve sustainability in their own office environment – such as printing double-sided, only printing when necessary, turning off lights, recycling office paper – or it might suggest things that they can do at home or in the community to support sustainability efforts.
Jones Lang LaSalle’s employees also took part in Earth Hour this past March (approximately 1,200 of the company’s employees took a pledge to turn off their lights for one hour on a particular Saturday night). According to Dan Probst, chairman of the company’s Global Sustainability Board, the company then had a fun contest. “Everyone commented about what kinds of fun things they might do during that time [when the lights were turned off], such as play games with their kids, have a campfire outside, [etc.], and then we had some awards and recognition for some of the most creative ideas,” says Probst. “We do some fun things like that to get people involved.”
The ACT program at Jones Lang LaSalle has gotten employees even further involved in the green movement: Some local offices have gotten involved in local programs to clean parks, plant trees, and work on other environmentally friendly projects. “When we sent out a notification looking for volunteers to head up the program in our corporate offices in different cities, we were just overwhelmed with the response by people who wanted to take on that leadership role,” says Probst. “And, the employees push us sometimes to do more – get rid of Styrofoam coffee cups, recycle ink cartridges, etc. We’ve had very, very enthusiastic participation.”
Raytheon Co.’s Energy Champions and Energy Citizens programs have had similar enthusiastic response. Like Jones Lang LaSalle’s ACT program, Raytheon’s Energy Champions and Energy Citizens programs aim to get employees involved in the company’s sustainability and energy-management initiatives on a more personal level. The Energy Champions program is currently on a volunteer basis – employees who are interested in the program get the support of their manager, complete a training program, and use their peer relationships to influence culture change to get people to conserve energy wherever they can. The Energy Champions run annual and semiannual campaigns to promote sustainability, such as Earth Day celebrations and events during Energy Awareness Month in October. According to Steve Fugarazzo, managing facilities engineer at Raytheon, there are approximately 2,000 members involved in Raytheon’s Energy Champions program.
In addition to Energy Champions, Raytheon also has an Energy Citizens program, which currently has more than 21,000 personnel involved. To become an Energy Citizen, Raytheon employees must pass a sustainability questionnaire each year, which quizzes them on their sustainable practices and provides tips on environmentally friendly things they can do at home or with their transportation. Employees who become Energy Citizens are rewarded with a different lapel pin and a congratulatory note from the business unit leader each year. Additionally, different business units throughout Raytheon have a friendly competition to see who has the most Energy Citizens as a way to encourage more employees to take the questionnaire and become involved in the program.
The facilities services department at Cobleskill Regional Hospital also has an employee awareness program for its sustainability and energy-management efforts, known as the “Think Green” awareness program. To spread awareness to hospital employees about the energy management and sustainability efforts in a fun way, the “Think Green” campaign had green posters printed up and green electrical switch plate stickers that say “BHSC [Bassett Hospital of Schoharie County, the hospital’s original name] has L.I.T.E.S. (Leadership Initiative Towards Energy Savings)” to remind staff members to turn off the lights when they leave the room. According to Tom Smyth, director of facilities services at Cobleskill Regional Hospital, the maintenance staff, including himself, purchased green T-shirts to wear on occasion to further remind everyone at the hospital of the notion that “going green” means that everyone needs to pitch in to save some energy (and some money).
The team at Cobleskill was able to use the “Think Green” awareness campaign to get a larger number of employees to turn off lights, recycle, and become interested in reducing the hospital’s carbon footprint. Additionally, the hospital’s entire staff, including the maintenance team, engaged with the community and the nearby State University of New York (SUNY) to plant trees and new landscaping on the hospital campus to further Cobleskill’s greening efforts.
Read about our Who's Who organizations and their best practices in the following articles:
We hope that the experience and successes of our Who’s Who leaders will supplement your team’s best practices. Do you have best practices to share with your peers? Leave a comment at the end of this page or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.