Solar electricity and energy efficiency are crucial components of our planet’s sustainable energy future. To pave the way for policy and other organizations WWF launched the WWF Upfront program in 2016. This three-phased approach turns WWF’s operations more energy efficient and powers them with renewable energy, one office at a time. At the base of energy efficiency lies monitoring -with a Smappee energy monitor-, offering the necessary insights in energy use to take energy efficiency measures. The second step is to reduce energy consumption. Offices which signed up for the Upfront program discovered they could reduce their energy consumption, by up to 50% through behavioral change, saving thousands of dollars a year. Technical improvements (installing more efficient energy using appliances) enable to save even more. Then, renewable energy options are explored. More specifically, a team of energy experts researches whether solar PV is possible. To WWF they are powerful examples to convince others to follow their lead.
Energy efficiency starts with energy monitoring.
WWF has the objective to show by example how to reduce an organisation’s impact on climate. It wants to do more about its energy impact by improving the energy efficiency of its offices all over the world, as well as installing renewable energy on or close to its offices. “That’s why my colleagues and I initiated the WWF Upfront program”, says Jean-Philippe Denruyter, Manager for Applied Energy Solutions at WWF. “With the help of Eric Bush at the Topten organization (topten.info) we developed a process to help offices take action on efficiency. Eric suggested to start with an energy audit and to use a Smappee energy monitor to do so. That’s when I discovered Smappee’s many advantages. It’s easy to install, you can track both energy and solar and it’s easy to use also for non-techies -which isn’t always the case with other tools-. It’s also an affordable solution for multinationals with a multitude of offices, like ours, that want to track and control solar power production and energy efficiency locally but also in a centralized way. In addition, it’s a great way to visualize the otherwise invisible energy use to our employees. Few people leave the water tap open when leaving the kitchen; but many people leave the lights on when leaving a room, even though it’s a similar kind of waste. It’s just less visible. With Smappee colleagues instantly see the impact of their actions, such as increasing the temperature setting on an air conditioner. This makes a huge difference when you want to get people to think about energy efficiency.”
Energy monitoring is only the first step in WWF’s three-step approach. Secondly an Energy Efficiency week is organized in which the collected insights are used to reduce the electricity consumption. Technical improvements are suggested and the impact of efficiency actions is monitored. The staff also receives training on behavioral change and energy management. Finally, the Smappee data are used to calculate solar needs accurately. In order to install solar it is important to know in detail how much electricity the office consumes at any moment. Even more so if the authorities do not allow to inject solar electricity on the grid. Then any solar electricity that is not consumed by the office is lost.
One global solution applied to different local situations.
Every office has its own characteristics and specific needs. National legislation might not be supportive of solar power or energy efficiency. For instance, not being allowed to inject solar electricity on the grid requires a very good understanding of office electricity needs before installing solar PV. Low electricity prices will have an impact on the efficiency of appliances available on the market.
Climate also influences energy efficiency decisions. In tropical regions energy monitoring and management is focused on electricity, as gas is often not used. Jean-Philippe: “In tropical countries, the greatest challenge is managing the HVAC , that may represent 70 to 80 percent of the total energy use. Efficiency solutions include better temperature settings, insulation and more efficient appliances.” In Western countries, HVAC will often have a lower influence on electricity consumption, due to the use of gas for heating. Centralised heating and cooling systems for multi-office buildings also limit the options for individual improvement, and require good coordination with the building management.
Clearly, it’s not easy to develop an approach with tools that can be deployed worldwide. “That was also one of the strengths of Smappee: you can install it in nearly any office in the world and the data are available on iPhone or Android phone and pc.” concludes Denruyter.
Save up to 50% of energy in a week.
An increasing number of WWF offices is taking part in the WWF Upfront program and the results are astounding. WWF Myanmar was the first office to take part in the program. “The AC turned out to be the main issue. Instead of asking people not to use the AC, we asked them to think about their usage and take simple measures to improve efficiency like closing doors between rooms, increasing the minimum temperature to 26 degrees, switching the AC on a little later in the morning and turning it off a little earlier in the afternoon as the day cools”, says Jean-Philippe. “As a result, despite hotter temperatures and more staff in the office -two factors heavily impacting the use of the AC-, we were still able to save on energy that week.”
The Ha Noi (Vietnam) office soon followed. The country has a strong growth in electricity consumption and plans to build new coal power plants. The WWF office wants to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce energy needs. Jean-Philippe: “We measured the energy use of appliances, provided advice and tested improvements in equipment use. During the Energy Efficiency Week everyone could access the Smappee webpage and app, showing the office’s real-time energy consumption and much more. We discovered that 30% of the office’s energy, even 50% in summer, went to air conditioning and nearly 20% went to the fridges and water dispensers. Thanks to Smappee we could accurately calculate that we saved 28% of energy over the week by switching off appliances like water dispensers at night and changing the air conditioning habits.” And the positive experience continues. During the second energy week in Viet Nam, this time in the Hue office, 50% of energy consumption was saved.
Keep savings thanks to energy insights.
“The main challenge is to continue saving energy over time”, says Jean-Philippe. “We’re working on this in different ways. I monitor the energy use remotely thanks to the Smappee platform and use the data to develop recommendations e.g. set electricity consumption reduction targets; replace equipment; install solar panels. But the offices also need to contribute their part. The office in Brussels shows the Smappee results on a screen at the office entrance so that people are continuously reminded of the importance of energy saving. In every office equipped with Smappee, employees have access to Smappee data, a constant reminder to think about their power usage habits.The office in Hue, that reduced their energy use by 50% during the energy efficiency week, produces a Smappee report every two months to remind colleagues of their energy consumption. The offices in the WWF Upfront program might start competitions to see who saves the most energy based on the Smappee data. This is a fun way to keep the momentum alive and keep people motivated to continue their efforts.”
Also on a global level WWF is taking measures. The organization is currently setting goals for 2020 to reduce its energy consumption and to increase the use of solar power. Over time they aim to have every office report on their energy use based on Smappee data and will have an annual electricity consumption reduction target in order to encourage continuous improvement.
Partner. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Industry. NGO, multi-sites
WWF is one of the world’s largest nature conservation organizations, with a network of offices in more than 60 countries. The International Secretariat is located in Gland (Switzerland). The WWF focuses on building a future in which people live in harmony with nature by: preserving biological diversity, a responsible use of renewable raw materials and a reduction of pollution.
WWF wants to do more about its energy impact by improving the energy efficiency of its offices all over the world, as well as installing renewable energy solutions. This asked for a monitoring solution tailored to the different needs of the offices -an office in Europe has very different needs than in tropical countries-. In addition, the solution had to be easy-to-use as the users aren’t necessarily energy experts.
WWF has set up the WWF Upfront program to make its own operations more efficient and to power them with renewable energy, one office at the time. On the one hand a Smappee energy monitor is installed with the aim to reduce the energy consumption as it gives employees a clear view on the energy flows in the office via the Smappee app. On the other hand solar panels are put into place wherever possible to provide offices with renewable energy.
– 10 offices with smappee; several more soon.
– 18 offices with solar PV equipment (see wwf.eu/solar).
– Consistent good results in reducing energy consumption e.g. Vietnam (Ha Noi) saved up to 28% in one week and Viet Nam (Hue) even 50% and counting.
– Continuous insights in energy consumption and improvement of energy efficiency for employees.
– Offices can save up to thousands of dollars on a yearly basis by reducing AC use, change their behavior and eliminate standby-power.
– Easy to use, even for non-techy people.
– Cheap solution to get insights and control energy use.
– Combination of insights in energy and solar.
– Applicable worldwide.
– Data access from anywhere in the world via pc and Smart phone.
– Instant insight in energy use and the impact of one’s actions on energy use.
– Longevity of the behavioral change because of fun-factor e.g. competitions, instant impact visible.