Advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy London has developed a pioneering project to encourage employees to reduce their energy consumption while simultaneously benefiting charity. Britain wastes around £7 million every day in the workplace due to energy inefficiency. Wieden + Kennedy thinks it has found a way to make employees not only aware of their energy consumption but to actually care about it in a way that might spread to the home and beyond.
Wieden + Kennedy’s concept is called OFF-ON and encourages staff to turn off as many power-consuming appliances as possible when not in use, and the company then invests every penny saved in ‘turning on’ a children’s home in Nairobi with solar power. The idea is to give people a tangible sense that when turning off an appliance in London, they’re turning one on across the world.
Screensavers and LED floor displays will show Wieden + Kennedy employees how much energy they are using in real time and relate what they are turning off in London, to what they are turning on in Nairobi.
In a ground-breaking partnership with NGO SolarAid, the creative agency hopes to make a significant difference to students and teachers at the children’s home. By reducing the office’s energy consumption by just 10% over the year, Wieden + Kennedy will save enough money to light up 4 classrooms and a kitchen with solar panels.
But they don’t want to stop there. The ambition is to expand the project beyond the agency’s network, enabling as many businesses and schools as possible to ‘turn on’ in the developing world. At present, an estimated 1.5 million women and children die every year in Africa from kerosene poisoning caused by toxic gas lamps, whilst health clinics lack the electricity to run equipment and children work in dark classrooms.
To encourage employee participation, Wieden + Kennedy has developed an innovative, custom-made system with engineers at Pell Frischmann that uses real time energy monitoring to keep employees constantly up-to-speed with their progress.
Wieden + Kennedy’s ambition is to make OFF-ON a free and accessible community for all businesses and schools. Once the London pilot is completed, the company hopes to develop open-source software to work with all makes of energy monitors. All people will need to do is download the OFF-ON software and sign up to the community site.