By Jill Anderson, SVP of Public Affairs & Business Development
As a public benefit corporation and a leader in clean energy generation, NYPA is always looking to reduce electricity use, particularly during the peak demand summer season, and improve the overall efficiency of its operations. The Daylight Hour initiative provides an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency in the workplace and to start a meaningful dialogue with employees about energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We often overlook the seemingly minuscule amount of energy it takes to power our lights, coffee machines, computers, phones, and other office loads. Daylight Hour and similar energy efficiency campaigns highlight simple ways of reducing our energy footprint in the workplace. Last year, NYPA leveraged the momentum achieved from Daylight Hour to launch our own annual campaign called “Efficiency Fridays.” With this initiative, we are successfully promoting energy efficient practices throughout the summer.
Like other workplace sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives, Daylight Hour depends on employee engagement. We use clear, concise language to convey the idea that participation is easy and will not disrupt work. Our message is simple: Turn off lights in day-lit areas to save energy.
Daylight Hour is promoted through several different communication channels. We place posters near elevators, add postings to our intranet, send out a text message reminder to employees 15 minutes prior to the event, and make an announcement over the loud speakers as we approach the start of the hour. In addition, our social media team creates a buzz on Twitter and Instagram to help relay the Daylight Hour message to thousands of NYPA’s followers. The unsung heroes of our successful participation are the members of NYPA’s Green Team, who rally their colleagues to turn off their lights.
NYPA’s Sustainability Office carefully monitors the energy usage in our 17-story White Plains administrative office building through the Power Authority’s NY Energy Manager, a statewide, real-time energy management system. To inspire friendly competition, we track the electricity reduced by each floor and post the results on the intranet. In addition to floor-by-floor energy comparisons, we track whole building energy performance and, more specifically, the reduction in the building’s total lighting load. The results have been astonishing (even our energy experts think so)! As illustrated by the graph below, we successfully reduced our building’s total lighting load by 33% or 25 kWh. That savings only represents an hour. These numbers are encouraging us to consider how much we could save if we incorporated daylighting into our regular routine.
The total lighting load of NYPA’s White Plains Office, as measured by NY Energy Manager.
Through Daylight Hour, we have learned valuable lessons about what it takes to engage our employees and successfully communicate the importance of sustainable workplace practices. NYPA employees are willing to get involved in workplace initiatives, but it takes consistent effort to keep them focused on what needs to be achieved. Throughout this effort, we have been inspired to explore a range of strategies and to become bolder and more creative in our approach and our message.