The New York Power Authority (NYPA), the nation’s largest state public power organization, is one of more than 300 entities to participate in the Building Energy Exchange’s Daylight Hour campaign. Daylight Hour is an international social media campaign designed to raise awareness about the benefits of using natural light in indoor work spaces. By turning off lights during the 2015 Daylight Hour event, NYPA reduced lighting load by about 30 percent at its administrative offices in White Plains, N.Y., saving approximately 380 kWh of energy. NYPA has used the annual event as a springboard to launch its own daylighting campaign and to engage in higher level conversations with employees about sustainable workplace practices.
The primary challenge to executing a successful Daylight Hour campaign centers on messaging to employees. NYPA’s Sustainability Office spearheads this effort and has identified a variety of strategies. In the months leading up to Daylight Hour, notices about the initiative are posted on an internal website and hard-copy posters are hung near all elevators and in common areas. The White Plains Office Green Team -- a cross-departmental volunteer group -- helps to build support for the event by recruiting participants. On the day of Daylight Hour, an intranet reminder is posted in the morning, a text message reminder is released 30-minutes before the event, and a loudspeaker announcement is made at the start of the hour alerting employees on all floors that Daylight Hour is about to begin. Another engagement strategy is competition, with employees encouraged to compete in saving energy floor-by-floor. Employees inspired to take up the challenge generally lead the effort. As not all floors have been renovated, and some have greater access to natural light than others, they have to be careful to turn off lights only in areas with sufficient daylight. Through the NY Energy Manager, the Sustainability Office tracks energy reductions real-time, and posts screen shots of the results at the end of the hour.
During Daylight Hour 2015, the White Plains Office’s total lighting load decreased by about 30 percent, or 380 kWh. Tangible energy and cost savings such as these give momentum to NYPA’s employee engagement efforts. The success of the 2014 Daylight Hour event inspired the Sustainability Office to launch an annual daylighting campaign called “Efficiency Fridays.” With this initiative, NYPA continues to promote daylighting throughout each summer.
By participating in Daylight Hour, NYPA is identifying new strategies to engage employees and successfully communicate the importance of sustainable workplace practices. Like most people, NYPA employees are willing and often excited to get involved in workplace sustainability initiatives, but it takes a well-thought out, coordinated approach to keep everyone on track. Daylight Hour has inspired NYPA to think of new ways to save energy and engage employees in sustainability.
With organizations and companies taking part globally, 2015 BEEx engaged over 300 offices spanning 58 million square feet of office space to reach nearly six million people on social media, and most importantly, to save enough energy in just one hour to power 15 New York households for an entire year.
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