Helping cut energy consumption and leading the way on sustainability

The city of Växjö in Sweden has a vision of becoming a completely fossil fuel free city. With clean energy and a better quality of life for the 80,000 people who live in the local area. And local energy company Växjö Energi AB (VEAB) has a big part to play in that plan.

What VEAB needed

VEAB needed to get their customers to use 5% less electricity. But to hit that target, they needed a way to make their customers more aware of how much energy they use, day-to-day. In the past, the only way for someone to know how much they were using was to look at their meter or monthly bill. But in real life, people don’t check those things. So VEAB needed to find a simple, visual way to let people keep track of exactly how much energy they’re using in real time.

The challenge

The tricky part wasn’t developing the technology, but figuring out how to get people to use it. We had to find a way to make sustainability fun. We needed to reach people who wouldn’t normally think twice about how much energy they’re using, or what effect that might have on the environment.

Our answer

We worked hand-in-hand with VEAB to launch an online energy saving service called EnergiKollen. EnergiKollen uses simple graphics to show people how much energy it takes to do different things. Many people don’t realise how much energy a hairdryer or electric kettle eats up, for example. EnergiKollen makes that instantly clear. But the real genius of EnergiKollen is that it allows people to compete with their neighbours to see who can save the most. And that gives them the motivation they need to actually use it and stick with it. People can see for themselves exactly how much energy they’re using and what their carbon footprint is. And for businesses, it’s a great way to show their customers that sustainability isn’t just a buzzword to them.

A success story

EnergiKollen was an instant hit with VEAB’s customers. More than 30,000 households and 1,000 companies had the opportunity to take part. The data showed that those who used the online tool saved around four times more than those who didn’t. And the competition winners were typically achieving energy savings of 30%. In one contest between companies and politicians in Växjö, the winning team cut their electricity consumption by 47.4%. Based on VEAB’s success, five other utilities in Sweden have followed suit. Today, over 600,000 people across Sweden are using the same online tool to slash their energy bills and help protect the environment.

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