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Energy giant to save customers £1bn through ‘carbon psychology’

Big Six energy firm npower is aiming to help its business customers save £1 billion on their energy bills through the use of a carbon psychologist to alter their energy habits.

Big Six energy firm npower is aiming to help its business customers save £1 billion on their energy bills through the use of a carbon psychologist to alter their energy habits.

Much like a traditional psychologist, npower’s carbon psychologist suggests ways businesses can work with their employees to alter their behaviour and help them embrace more energy efficient ways of working.

The psychologist offers a free energy assessment to firms, but unlike a conventional assessment, the psychologist focuses on the drivers that specifically underpin how staff behave in the workplace and plans campaigns to make a positive impact on energy consumption and the business’s bottom line.

According to npower, the service has already helped its business clients to save £26 million on their energy bills in less than a year.

Energy habits

“It often surprises businesses to find out that non-technical savings are usually greater than technical savings”, said Phil Griffiths, carbon psychologist at npower Business Solutions.

“Through learning about your energy habits, it is easy to make subtle, low cost and effective changes to help keep down your energy bills. It’s already produced clear and proven benefits for firms, big and small, saving businesses we have worked with over £26 million.”

Phil Griffiths joined npower following the firm’s acquisition of specialist energy management company, RUMM, in April 2015. RUMM specialises in using behaviour change to reduce energy usage and has achieved over £52 million in savings for its customers, equivalent to over 339,000 tonnes of CO2

Empowering staff

Commenting on the service in February, David Reed, head of npower Business Solutions, said: “The key to understanding how behaviour change works is to first understand the ‘constructs’ – or drivers – that underpin how your staff behave. Only then can you target an energy-saving intervention appropriately.

“[An example] construct is perceived behavioural control, which encompasses someone’s belief in their ability to make a difference and whether they feel they have permission to act. If staff don’t feel empowered, then they are unlikely to take responsibility to make changes.”

According to research from the Carbon Trust, many businesses can save up to 10 per cent on their energy bill through behaviour change. 

However, the research highlights that very few employers are currently taking action, with less than a quarter of employees surveyed saying that they had been asked to help save energy at work.