Halfway there! CUBE participants gather at the competition midpoint
To celebrate the 6 months’ energy savings achievements and continue to build momentum, the CUBE participants gathered at 80 Victoria St. for the Mid-Point Candidate Meeting, co-hosted and sponsored by Landsec.
It is halfway into the competition season and collectively 15 GWh of energy savings have been achieved by the participants. That’s equivalent to powering over 3100 UK houses for a year, with the carbon savings equivalent to taking about 1800 cars off the road for 1 year! Overall, about £4 million was saved in total. And we are not done yet!
Despite being a competition, saving energy and the environment is still a collective action effort. Throughout the day, participants brainstormed and shared ideas and initiatives revolving around energy saving and sustainability to learn from each other and foster a sense of community.
A zoom into customer engagement at Landsec
Landsec shared their story and approach to engaging their customers on sustainability and energy use. The highlight was to hear directly from Hilary at Experian, one of their customers, who gave an overview of the changes they made to their space thanks to collaborating on energy deep dives with Landsec. Overall, in just the office space in the 80-100 Victoria Street building, they managed to achieve 1.8MWh of energy savings!
At the whole building level with 80-100 Victoria Street in particular, Landsec has conducted chiller enhancements and BMS optimisations with AI learning in progress to increase the energy efficiency of the building. During the building walkthrough, participants were able to see these changes for themselves.
Energy sufficiency in action
CUBE at its core is about reducing energy consumption and eliminating what you do not need – using sufficient energy to keep things moving and not more. This can be a delicate balance to navigate.
To drive home this message, the participants played a game of Jenga where each piece represents energy in an office building. Like normal Jenga, participants were made to pull out the blocks and make sure that the tower did not topple, a metaphor for reducing unnecessary energy usage whilst making sure the building can still function normally and ensure building occupiers are still happy and comfortable!
The winner of the game was given, among other things, a mini Jenga to remind them of the day and that key message. But no one left empty handed either. Laura Harnett, sole founder of Seep, came by to introduce her alternative non-plastic cleaning products and gave everyone a sample to take home and do their part in preserving our planet.
The main highlight of the meeting, however, was the breakout sessions. Participants were spilt into two groups to either co-develop ideas on sustainability strategy or engagement and behaviour change.
Sustainability as a business priority for CRE
In this breakout group, participants were pushed to have an open conversation on the challenges they face to move towards more sustainable operations. With the guidance of Greg Borel and Anna Burrage from Ampersand Partners, participants were taught how to think about sustainability more strategically and what it means to incorporate Net Zero into the business strategy. Some top tips taken from the session were:
Taking a market view helps understand where long-term trends are headed and what areas are most valuable and should be prioritised.
Having a clear strategic rationale for sustainability that is embedded in the business strategy is essential to identifying the change needed.
Making behaviour change real and actionable
Meanwhile, the other half of the participants were thinking about how to motivate tenants to get involved with their energy-saving efforts. Dr Kate Laffan from the Psychological and Behavioural Science Department of the London School of Economics led a workshop on behavioural insights for energy conservation. Instead of thinking like landlords, participants were made to think like their tenants and consider what pushes them to change their behaviours and save energy.
She outlined two key frameworks that help push the participants to understand tenant behaviour:
Three layers: The premise here is that there are three layers behind any activity, the physical, the individual and the social. To encourage behaviour change, one should think about what barriers and opportunities there are in each layer behind an activity.
EAST: To better guarantee behaviour change, the change should be made Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.
Only up from here
The achievement of the participants over the last 6 months is no small feat but there is still more to do. The day ended with a reflection on what was learned, what further initiatives they can take on, and what buildings they would like to push forward to join the race in season 2 - launching Summer 2023.