Allia, the UK’s leading organisation dedicated to helping impact ventures to thrive, is a partner in GreenSoul, a newly launched EU pilot programme that aims to encourage more eco-awareness and energy efficiency by individuals when using shared spaces, such as public buildings, workspaces and offices.
Whilst initiatives encouraging energy efficiency in the home have become more widely understood and adopted, with smart meters gaining ever more popularity, the challenge is how to motivate similar behaviour change in individuals when using a shared space, such as at work.
Allia has been working with European partners on the GreenSoul project for two years. Now the pilot will focus on testing innovative technologies together with persuasive and interactive communications to alter and improve the ways people use shared devices (such as lights and printers) as well as personal devices (appliances that people plug in at work, such as mobile phones).
Allia’s Future Business Centre in Cambridge is the base for the UK pilot – other buildings in Spain, Greece and Austria have also been chosen to provide a range of data from different climates and varied building infrastructures and architecture. The centre is home to Cambridge Cleantech, who are part of the Cambridge Cleantech cluster and have been working on GreenSoul since the start of the project; they will disseminate the pilot’s research findings to the wider business community across Europe. Arcus Global, also tenant at Allia’s Future Business Centre, has agreed to take part in the UK pilot and will be implementing smart devices in its office to observe the energy usage of its staff.
Special monitoring systems will collect and record data on energy usage – from device level, for an individual (smart plugs will be installed on workstations) as well as at the entire building level. GreenSoul’s novel platform will interpret this energy usage and then use individual devices to communicate back to each user with recommendations and advice. A variety of techniques will be used to communicate to users, from persuasive social apps to interactive mechanisms which will be linked to networked devices.
David Broach, Performance Manager at Allia, said “People are focused on sustainability in their homes and surroundings, but do not seem as concerned when it comes to their work environment. This project will explore the potential for energy saving strategies within the workplace, utilising a combination smart technologies and persuasive techniques, across a range of geographies, climates and building types, to maximise energy savings and efficiencies.”
Tim Lancaster, AWS Practice Manager at Arcus Global, explained “Arcus Global was created to bring the benefits of Cloud technologies including energy efficiency to the public sector. Our systems and services run on AWS infrastructure which uses 88% less energy than a traditional data centre. That’s a big saving but our staff are keen to do more, and this pilot will enable them to reduce their energy usage while testing what initiatives will work best in other offices.”
Sam Goodall, International Projects Manager at Cambridge Cleantech, said “We are delighted that the pilot has finally got underway after two years of hard work to get to this point. We believe the project will provide some really effective ways of encouraging people to consider and reduce their energy use.”
Allia is committed to sustainability and in addition to its involvement in the Cambridge Cleantech cluster, aligns its work generally with the UN sustainable development goals*, ensuring that all projects it supports focus on these outcomes. The organisation’s buildings are BREEAM accredited (the Cambridge Future Business Centre is rated excellent) and have energy efficiency and sustainability built into every feature, including solar and the same rainwater harvesting system. Recently Allia’s Peterborough Future Business Centre achieved the highest level of accreditation by the Investors in the Environmental national environmental scheme, achieved for the organisation’s commitment to minimising its environmental impact and widening its sustainable approach. It has been shortlisted for an environmental award for this endeavour.
Allia aligns its work with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This start-up supports: