1 simple, no-cost change reduces Accenture's energy use by 14%

© WWF-Canada

The Champion:

Alicia Nixon, National Environmental Lead, Accenture Canada

The Change: 

“We adjusted the office building lighting schedule after learning that lights were remaining on beyond when most employees would typically be in the office, such as on weeknights and weekends.”

The Result: 

“Office lighting reduction of 42 hours a week and saving 36,000 kWh per year which is equivalent to the amount of energy (and associated costs!) required to light our entire 4th floor for ten months!”

How long it took: 

“Three months -- from the day we first started to look at the energy consumption of the building lighting and plug loads, to the day when the change took effect.  Once we understood the data, we asked ourselves, where could we make the biggest difference?   There were several meetings with building and facilities management to decide on the change to implement, to ensure that the new lighting schedules were correct.”

The biggest challenge: 

“Making sure that our people (employees) are happy and making sure we weren’t making too drastic a change in the working environment.  Since the building and facilities leads were so supportive, all it took were a few conversations to discuss the needs of the employees and to inform them of the changes that were coming.”

The breakthrough:

“When we discovered how much energy we were saving.  Through this lighting schedule change, we learned that our HVAC fans were looped into lighting, so that when lighting was reduced, the energy used for the fans was also reduced.  With one simple change, our total yearly energy consumption decreased by approximately 14%!”


“When I first calculated this 14% savings amount, I thought, am I right? Am I doing the math right? I had to calculate it several times to confirm. It was great. We were definitely proud of what we had accomplished. We’re also thankful to the building for being supportive. It made all the work worthwhile.”

The advice:

If you can make use of smart meters, do so because they are a valuable part of an energy conservation program. Even better, if your company needs a new space, look for buildings that are already sub-metered.

Get everyone involved with changes like this -- keep everyone informed and in the loop.  Keep communication lines open especially with employees to let them know what’s coming.

Make sure to track results because it helps to show improvement over time.

Join Alicia and sign up to become a Living Planet @ Work champion. Inspire your colleagues and be a catalyst for environmental change at your workplace with our free resources and support.

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