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Does saving energy turn you off? Energy team in Latvia investigate…

All participating municipalities in Latvia were visited before the competition started to raise awareness and skills of the Energy Team members in order to achieve energy savings in their buildings.

Working in groups, the first task was to look at what the barriers might be to making energy savings. Once these had been identified, each team brainstormed as to how these barriers might be overcome – how they could motivate their colleagues to change their ways. One member from each team then had to present their best ideas to the rest of the workshop attendee’s after which everyone had to vote on the best options.

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Interestingly, most of the barriers suggested were behavioural rather than financial or technological aspects, especially forgetfulness and motivation:

Behavioural.aspects

Forgetfulness (8), motivation (6), unwillingness & indifference (5), lack of time (5), I do not pay for it (5), lack of information about EE measures (5), unaware of the building energy consumption and the main consumers (4), old habits (3), a lot of work (3)

Technical aspects

no switches for different room sections for lighting (5); I don’t have table lamp (4); shady windows with no sun light (3); old equipment (3), no one has set an energy saving mode for computers (2), it’s hard or impossible to reach the plug (2)

Financial aspects

funding restrictions i.e. the principle of cheapest materials/products (2)


As the majority of reasons are related to behaviour; here are some of the participants’ ideas on engaging employees:

In order to improve their knowledge it would be necessary:

  • to make energy saving reminders visual, easy to understand and humorous;
  • to inform employees about how much the building consumes and how much this costs (using e-mails, meetings, visual materials);
  • to teach employees about functionalities of office equipment (energy saving mode, eco-function etc.)

In order to motivate the employees, it would be necessary:  

  • to organise internal competitions with prizes (cash bonuses, one additional day for holidays, trips out, home-made goodies);
  • to organise events with a specific focus on energy saving together with colleagues (such as team building activities);
  • to meet with head of the municipality, expressing gratitude for participation in the competition and colleague positioning (the best employee of the week/month);
  • to present and share the best practical examples (exchange of experiences with other municipalities through visits, meetings). 

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What prevents you from saving energy and would encourage you to change your old habits at work? 

Liga Zogla, EKODOMA

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