The mayor and the cleaner cooperate to save energy: the conclusion of the European save@work campaign

The mayor and the cleaner cooperate to save energy: the conclusion of the European save@work campaign

How much energy can a building save with a little help from the employee’s?
Quite a lot it would seem!

Teams from 8 European countries came together in Brussels during European Sustainable Energy Week to discover which of them managed to save the most energy following a year-long behaviour change, energy saving competition for public sector employee’s.

The save@work project which took place in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK, has been supporting teams of employee’s in 176 public sector buildings to save energy using simple behaviour change techniques and experiencing extraordinary results. save@work was implemented by ENERGISE partner GreenDependent Institute in Hungary, which also led the materials development and research support work in the project.

The winning teams managed to save between 10% - 25% of their average yearly energy consumption, making significant impacts on both their carbon emissions and the financial costs of running their buildings.  Collectively, the 176 buildings managed to save in excess of 4 million kWh, nearly 1,800 tonnes of CO2 making a cost saving of around half a million euros.

Apart from the savings achieved, an important outcome of the project - noted by numerous participating municipalities - was the group and community building taking place in the buildings. Employees from very different departments and levels of work worked together to plan and implement the changes in their everyday office practice, cooperating in ways that they had not done prior to the save@work campaign.

Talking at the event, which was held at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU, Truls Borgström, Energy Counsellor  said ”The save@work project is interesting because it shows that it is possible to reduce the energy consumption a lot with simple measures that don’t require investment”.

By identifying how energy is used in the office, the energy team for each building simply focussed on making small changes to their energy consuming behaviours and used a huge variety of techniques to encourage their colleagues to do the same!  The overall winning team, the Town Hall at Zemst, Belgium, managed an extraordinary saving of 25%.


The winning teams from each of the participating countries were awarded certificates by Vincent Berrutto, Head of EASME’s Energy Unit who said that “the public sector has a key role to play in the achievement of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets.  Projects like save@work not only brings economic and environmental benefits but also positive interactions between employees“

More information about the project can be found at the save@work website.