Class 5 Energy was an approach to energy reduction developed in White Bear Lake Minnesota that was tested in two unique settings – a school and a healthcare facility. Using materials developed for Class 5 Energy’s Schools for Energy Efficiency (SEE) program, this pilot test sought to determine if existing materials could be adapted to meet the needs of a facility operating around the clock, successfully reducing energy using only behavioral strategies. After uncovering barriers at both Cambridge-Isanti Public School and Ridgeview Medical Center, it was determined that the behavioral programs should work to overcome the shared barrier of cultural inertia by following a five-step process focused on: education, identifying opportunities for cost savings, engagement, tracking progress, and communication. Class 5 Energy structured the overall energy saving effort around identifying and targeting priority audiences with tailored strategies and program materials, relying heavily on social diffusion and modeling to establish new social norms at both the school and the medical center. Energy coordinators at each facility were charged with coordinating different aspects of the program, an energy steering committee developed policies and procedures, and peers representing all key areas of the school and medical center played pivotal roles in demonstrating that energy conservation was a key choice in helping each facility achieve its mission. While a third-party engineering firm was initially used to measure and verify results, Class 5 Energy eventually developed their own web-based tool that allowed users to enter monthly utility data, track progress, and share results graphically. Cambridge-Isanti Public School saved over $3 million in energy costs through participating in the program over the course of nine years. Ridgeview Medical Center’s participation lasted only 15 months but resulted in more than $75,000 in savings and a 6% overall reduction in energy use.
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