Engaging Employees in Energy Efficiency

The people inside your building are responsible for the bulk of its energy use. The actions of your employees also impact how the building’s systems run, especially if they do things like cover vents, remove light bulbs, and adjust thermostats – signs that these systems may not be functioning as intended.

By working with your employees you can empower and engage them to become part of the solution. Plus, your employees will
appreciate your efforts.

Provide a seat at the table
Reach out to your employees and empower them to take an active role in improving the efficiency of the place where they work.

Collect feedback
Let your employees be your on-the-ground eyes and ears in the search for energy waste, whether it’s unnecessary lighting, hot or cold spots
in the buildings, or equipment that’s rarely used but left running.

Create a mechanism for employees to share their suggestions with you. Make sure you respond to comments and act on recommendations when feasible. You may even offer a reward for the best energy-saving ideas.

Encourage employees to create a green team
Educate staff members about the basic principles of energy management and empower them to establish their own departmental
green teams.

Share energy goals and progress
Transparency is the first step to getting the people inside your building or space interested in what you’re doing. When you share your energy reduction goals and progress toward saving, employees and occupants sit up and take notice of your efforts. After all, they can’t help you achieve your goal if they don’t know it exists!

Keep score
Email, post online, or publicly display the past 6–12 months of energy use information in a high-traffic area. Seeing the data and any trends in energy use can inspire employees to contribute to continued savings. Update the data monthly to keep employees informed about your progress toward achieving your goals.

Send blast emails and newsletters
Send regular emails or newsletters with updates on progress and seasonal tips to cut energy use at work and at home.
You can also use this as a platform to highlight successes and shine a spotlight on energy champions.

Get creative
A little creativity goes a long way. Consider creating door hangers, post-it note reminders, or light switch covers to help occupants or employees remember to take action.

Spread the word about how to help
Help them help you! Get employees involved by identifying energy-saving actions they can take. You may focus on a top 10 list of
actions that applies to most of your employees’ workspaces.

Make sure to emphasize the benefits of each behavior, whether they’re related to better health and wellness (less eyestrain from better task lighting) or to environmental protection (community benefits from less pollution).

You may also choose guidelines that can be practiced at work and at home, so everyone can see benefits in both locations. Some example actions might be:

  • Turn off lights, fans, and appliances when not in use.
  • Activate computer power management features that automatically put the device into a low-power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity.
  • Use smart powerstrips to make sure all electronics are powered down when not in use.
  • Check for running faucets and report leaks.


Once you’ve identified which actions employees should take to save energy, it’s time to spread the word! Maintain regular contact with reminders, tips, and updates.

Give incentives and recognition
Good work deserves a pat on the back. Really good work deserves a prize. Whether it’s a coffee mug or a check, incentives and recognition are great ways to motivate your employees to achieve even greater energy savings. By providing incentives and recognition, you’ll help sustain momentum and support for your program.