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Starbucks Employees To Compete in BPA Energy Pilot Program
July 6th, 2012
Starbucks is partnering with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and a group of Northwest public utilities in an effort to determine if behavior change can deliver significant energy savings to the region.
The pilot program with Snohomish County Public Utility District, PECI, Lucid and Puget Sound Energy will gather real time energy-use data from Starbucks stores and provide access to the information via a web-based portal. Starbucks employees will then compete to see which stores can reduce energy consumption the most.
Unlike traditional energy-efficiency measures that focus on the adoption of technologies such as energy-efficient appliances and lighting to save energy, behavior-based programs achieve energy savings through changes in individual or organizational behavior and decision-making.
Waste management, healthcare and transportation industries have been applying behavior-based approaches for years, while utilities and others in the energy industry have only recently begun using them as a means for encouraging energy savings.
The other two pilot projects – administered by Clark Public Utilities and Cowlitz Public Utility District – will use OPower’s platform for engaging ratepayers in energy conservation by providing feedback about energy use and comparisons to other households of similar size. Both pilots will make use of OPower's new Facebook app, which allows participants to compete with one another and share their energy-usage updates. OPower also delivers feedback to ratepayers via traditional printed bills, email and text messages.
BPA has committed up to $300,000 in funding per year. First phase results from the behavior-based energy efficiency pilots are expected in 2013.
"This is another example of how BPA and Northwest public utilities are working together to find new ways for Northwest residents and businesses to save energy and reduce their utility bills," said Karen Meadows, acting vice president of Energy Efficiency. "We commend these utilities for venturing into this relatively new potential source of energy savings and energy efficiency awareness. We're eager to see the results."
Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.