Good practice

Competitions and games motivate staff to be energy and resource efficient

Competitions and games motivate staff to be energy and resource efficient
©producer, image #122720322, 2017, source:
Energy, Carbon
All sectors
Low cost
Annual saving:
5 - 25%
Payback time:
0.5 - 3 Year(s)

Sherrifs track down energy villains

  • US wholesale company offers staff rewards and encouragement to cut energy costs
  • Killer Watt Gang game creates energy saving spirit which is good for team-building
  • Generates energy cost savings of up to € 4.5 million per year 

Creating a spirit of friendly competition leading to cooperation and team-building are just some of the side-benefits of programmes aimed at promoting energy efficiency. Colleagues are encouraged to provide ideas on how daily working routines can be redesigned or changed to save resources and/or do things more efficiently. The suggestion box concept can be combined with competitions between departments or teams with incentives for employees to change behaviour.

BJ's Wholesale Club, a chain in the US, applied these techniques with great success. It encouraged employees to think about energy saving opportunities and organised monthly competitions aimed at spotting wasted energy use. One effective game, called the Killer Watt Gang, involved volunteer 'sheriffs' who visited stores in search of 'villains' that leave lights on, run taps unnecessarily, keep fridge doors open for no reason, and so on.

Key results

On top of the team-building and spirit of friendly competition generated by the programme, BJ's Wholesale Club has reduced energy costs by some € 4.5 million per year. Although the company does not track the results of the employee effort in a quantifiable way, it does reward stores that respond well to the programme by paying for a pizza party!


“Even though the [energy efficiency] system is centrally controlled, store managers and facility personnel in each location play a pivotal role in making sure the system functions properly and in performing required maintenance. Each store is responsible for shutting off and turning on lights in some areas, such as the bakery and food court... [The Killer Watt Gang] competition can be a great motivator for the Clubs. We get some excellent feedback from the programme.” - BJ’s Wholesale Club’s Energy Manager

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