Incentivizing energy-conscious actions

Work completed by Mike Stopka while Director of Sustainability at the University of Chicago


CLIENT: University of Chicago        DATE: 2014 - 2016        LOCATION: Chicago, IL

PROJECT SCOPE: Instituted new financial structure and incentives for Regenstein Library to engage building users, driving low-cost energy efficiency improvement

DESCRIPTION: University typically pays energy bills for Regenstein Library, but an atypical arrangement was created whereby a portion of utility costs avoided, due to this project, will be shared with Regenstein to incentivize participation. Capital project funding was not available for this project, so a unique approach was taken to drive energy savings:

  1. Behind the scenes, low-capital optimization of existing building systems using retro-commissioning procedures
  2. Simultaneously, run a communications campaign to engage all building users to incentivize energy efficiency consciousness and action

Actual energy use was benchmarked for 1  year prior to instituting any efficiency measures and post-project energy use is currently being tracked to determine final cost savings.

RESULTS: Project nearing completion

  • New billing structure incentivized participation
  • Expected energy savings 6-8% (using minimal capital funding)
  • Changed building user culture to be more energy conscious

ROLE: Strategic Plan, Facilitation, Project Management, Research, Analysis, Communication Design

PARTNERS: Franklin Energy