W+K launches Off-On project

Wieden + Kennedy in London has developed a new energy-saving project in an attempt to reduce the agency’s consumption and in turn provide a children’s home in Nairobi with solar power…

Wieden + Kennedy in London has developed a new energy-saving project in an attempt to reduce the agency’s consumption and in turn provide a children’s home in Nairobi with solar power…

 

The project, titled Off-On, is simple. Screensavers and LED floor displays will show W+K employees how much energy they’re using in real time. These will hopefully prompt staff to reduce their consumption, and these savings will then be translated into benefits given to the school in Nairobi. The arrangement with the school has been set up via a partnership with NGO SolarAid – if W+K can reduce the office’s energy consumption by 10% over the year, it will save enough money to light up four classrooms and a kitchen at the school with solar panels.

The idea is an extension of the energy monitors that many of us have at home, but uses technology that has been designed for the workplace in conjunction with engineers at Pell Frischmann (with the coding for the project done in-house at W+K). “Energy monitors really do change your behaviour at home,” says Sophie Dollar, W+K project leader. “The problem is in the work place they’re pretty redundant, as unless you’re paying the bills, you turn a blind eye to it.” W+K aims to encourage its employees to reverse this habit, and be as vigilant at work as at home.

The project will start with a pilot, which begins at the agency this week. If successful, W+K intends to roll it out across its network and then offer the open source software for free to other businesses and schools so they can also adopt the strategy. The software is designed to work with all makes of energy monitors.

“Whilst the nation’s offices are wasting £7 million worth of energy each day, there are over 1.5 billion people around the world with no electrical supply,” says Dollar. “Off-On is about transferring this corporate waste into charitable gain and in so doing giving employees a tangible incentive to behave in a more environmentally responsible way. We’re tackling both environmental and social issues simultaneously.”

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