Conclusion and Next Steps

Conclusion

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CarbonCulture at DECC was designed to test one central hypothesis: that it is possible to deliver high performance sustainability engagement that could scale to large populations at low cost.

Existing ‘high-performance’ engagement programmes achieve high uptake, but can come at a high cost-per-user — particularly in large, complex organisations. Conversely, ‘low-cost’ engagement programmes can be delivered with less resource but normally have low impact.

The technical architecture of the CarbonCulture platform allows for deployment at a large scale, and achieved uptake comparable to conventional ‘high-performance’ programmes, with a projected cost-per-user close to the level of conventional ‘low-cost’ programmes.

With uptake of 40%, the levels of engagement achieved in the CarbonCulture at DECC pilot were very high, whether measured against existing sustainability engagement programmes, wider generic user engagement programmes, or general-purpose web based applications.

The pilot identified levels of user engagement as different users were attracted or incentivised by different tools. These ‘segmentations’ illustrated that certain tools can be used to pull additional groups of users in at different points during the deployment. The order in which this is done can make a difference, helping to reduce costs, and to maximise overall engagement and use of all tools.

The technique of adding additional options over time led in each case to an uplift in participation numbers. We believe that this provides a sustainable mechanism to attract and retain users over a long period of time by keeping them interested in fresh new tools, as well as attracting new staff to the platform.

The pilot has proven a valuable new way of driving engagement and adoption of behaviour change with sustainability outcomes. Modelling of the impact of these behaviour changes suggests that with a portfolio of tools, savings delivered by this web-delivered mechanism could directly reduce an organisation’s total carbon emissions by around 10%, and release direct savings in energy bills.

While the user-facing, cultural side of the CarbonCulture platform has demonstrated its benefits in achieving user engagement, the physical savings unlocked by the real-time data collection and visualisation (by identifying unnecessary or reducible energy consumption) were also high.

The technical side of the platform has also proved invaluable for allowing users to visualise energy use, and to facilitate communication between building users and the facilities managers and other experts.

Comments

I like the Distributed Dialogue approach, esalicpely the bit about creating the environment in which it can happen'. Research by Cardiff University and others suggest that the majority of people in the UK are concerned about climate change. If at the same time they do not seem to be making any changes to their lifestyles, there is reason to suspect that they need help to overcome barriers they may perceive. Will the engagement kit help people identify what the barriers are that prevent them from making different choices; choices that they want to make but don't feel able to? And then, once it is clear how they could be enabled or empowered to change their behaviour, who will help them realise change? There are many others than Government who can play a valuable role here. Perhaps the Localism agenda and the Big Society ideal are expected to encourage this, but without a consistent and credible driving force they are likely to fall short. If DECC's 2050 Challenge is to be met, we will need to see a Yes we can' mentality picking up soon. I have seen this in some of the Low Carbon Community Challenge projects and it can feel hugely inspiring and encouraging. The circumstances however were often exceptional, with project teams relentlessly putting time and effort into the project in order to gather momentum, and DECC keeping a close eye. Now, among all the scepticism and the cynicism that Government, and polictics in general, are facing, how will they inspire positive local activism in the style of LCCC? Where is their Low Carbon Future Champion' will they be able to find among their ranks someone who can credibly fulfil this role? And, finally, will they have the courage to adapt the Localism Bill and Big Society concept to become instruments for this other, urgent agenda: reducing climate change? …

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Next Steps

Nextsteps

Within this pilot, the hypothesis that it is possible to deliver high performance sustainability engagement that could scale to large populations at low cost has been proven. We are now planning future developments, and we would love your input and involvement in these plans.

From the outset, we were hoping that CarbonCulture at DECC would create opportunities to apply our learning to wider audiences, and for further development and collaborations. Some new projects are already underway, and others are in development with corporate and government partners.

There have already been significant outcomes. The real-time energy displays and accompanying public engagement tools that we used to run the initial engagement with DECC staff have already been deployed across eight Whitehall departments including Number 10 Downing Street, and we are now making them available to corporate leaders. At DECC, these tools alone helped facilities managers to identify efficiencies that delivered 10% gas savings, and we expect comparable savings to be unlocked elsewhere.

These tools will help organisations to identify specific opportunities to access the maximum energy and cost savings within their businesses, as well as providing valuable input to our ongoing research on how to get maximum impact across a range of cultural and physical contexts.

The next stage of our research will be to build on the successes of the pilot by deploying the CarbonCulture platform on a larger scale and translating user behaviour changes into measurable impacts on carbon emissions. We plan to run a series of development projects that will build on the work already done in the pilot to improve the performance of the CarbonCulture platform and tools. In collaboration with partner organisations, we will extend the tools already developed, as well as developing new ones.

To maximise the impact of this work, we have started a new social enterprise to host these collaborations and disseminate the benefits as widely as possible. CarbonCulture will provide large organisations — who are willing and able to pay for energy savings — with tools that could save them millions of pounds per year. The revenues will enable us to make these world-class tools available today to people and organisations who would otherwise not invest in carbon savings for many years to come.

We would love you to join in!

Comments

a 60 watt incandescent light bulb is very dfefirent form a 13 watt fluorescent bulb. In an incandesent electricity runs through a filament. Because the filament is so thin, it offers a good resistance to the electricity, and this resistance turns electrical energy into heat. The heat is enough to make the filament white hot, and the white part is light. The filament glows because of the heat. it incandesces. on the other hand, A fluorescent bulb uses a completely dfefirent method to produce light. inside the tube their are argon and mercury vapor gases. electrons flow through the gas from one electrode to the other, thus making a whiter light. ive had all types of brand name bulbs in my home, never noticed a difference between any. (all same wattage) their is no difference besides the name and the price. parts and gasses are all the same. in other words, get the cheapo they work just as good. …

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