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Best Practice For Engagement is Persistence: Earth Hour Lessons Learnt

Continuing our series of how to engage tenants we take a look back at our Earth Hour Winners.



Earth Hour saw record participation this year, however more important that the number of people that sign up are those that take real steps to reduce their consumption. This year the reduction in consumption over Earth Hour was just over 7% for buildings. Tenants reduced over the whole Earth Hour Weekend and their average reduction was 7.1%.


These numbers are significant when added up, but more important is the fact that these buildings and tenants came together and worked together to promote an initiative like Earth Hour. While the support around initiatives like Earth Hour is waning amongst the general public, we had not only a large number of participants but some of the best results since BOMA Toronto started the challenge 6 years ago.


The winners this year demonstrated excellent example of how to build better landlord, tenant and employee engagement. Through all the cases presented below the one thing that is evident is that there is no short cuts to generating engagement. All of these winners put in the hours and face-time with the people they were aiming to engage.


Before we dive into the challenge, a couple of other acknowledgements are also important.


First off a thanks to our sponsors and advisors. Earth Hour takes a coordination of a lot of different parts. There were some minor updates to the race2reduce internal system to make registration easier for participants. Then there was updating our promotional material, getting the word out and verifying results.


It wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors, Bentall Kennedy, Cadillac Fairview, Oxford Properties and Pinchin. Verifying and reviewing all the data also wouldn’t be possible without our advisors, Energy@Work and QMC. Finally a big thanks to PosterOne for helping us update all our material and working with us to create the fun and effective social media posts this year.

Now let’s take a look at some ‘winning’ practices.




Building Challenge: Winner 4101 Yonge Street. Manulife



To win this coveted challenge, Property Manager, Jerome Tobin, along with his team had to undertake an extensive communication campaign. It included custom designing some of their own posters using our Earth Hour Branding. They also created elevator messages, in addition to the social media posts that we provided.


Part of Deskdrop that Manulife Property Management did to promote the Earth Hour Challenge

When I spoke with Jerome he mentioned that the whole operations team stepped up to come in during the Saturday night of Earth Hour to undertake the Earth Hour efforts at the property. This is something that many buildings do and that operators deserve thanks for – win or lose.


Jerome’s teams’ effort was well worth it and we were glad to see the Ops team up with Jerome, Maureen and the rest of the team to accept the Earth Hour Award for the Building Challenge at our COE Gala on May 23rd.


The final component of the magic happened through Property Manager, Jerome Tobin’s personal outreach to major tenants. Getting ahold of the right person at a tenant organization can be tough but through Jerome’s persistence he was able to meet with several tenants and engage them to help with the property’s Earth Hour efforts.


The results showed in tenant participation and reduction. Xerox, a tenant at the York Mills Centre narrowly came in place for the tenant challenge, with a substantial reduction of over 50%.


Tenant Challenge Winner: Atradius



Speaking of the tenant challenge, we were excited to learn about the efforts that Atradius undertook to take home the Tenant Challenge prize. We had the pleasure of meeting one of the integral players in the challenge, Symon Burgess at our Gala as well.


Symon’s energy shined through at the awards gala and it was this same level of energy that drove the deep savings Atradius achieved over the Earth Hour weekend – greater than 55% reduction.


When we spoke to Symon a recurring theme came up – hard work and dedication. Symon told us that he personally went to his co-workers on the Friday before the Earth Hour weekend and let them know what to unplug and turn off before they left for the day. The reductions speak for themselves with Atradius beating out stiff competition this year to claim top spot in the tenant challenge.


Portfolio Challenge Winner: Oxford Properties



The Portfolio challenge was taken home by Oxford this year with the group averaging the greatest reduction per building. Oxford also contributed 16% of the total Earth Hour Reduction through the efforts made at their properties. When I spoke to Liviu Craiu-Botan, National Manager, Energy and Technical Services at Oxford – he let me know that for them it is about the basics.


Oxford has a robust energy management system in place which positions them well for these types of challenge but Liviu highlights the value of throwing down an internal challenge to motivate teams. Things like prizes for the winning teams go a long way and if Oxford’s performance is any indication of the success of these programs, the results and definitely worth the investment!

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