Legrand’s Energy Marathon 2.0

By Sachin Nimbalkar, Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Oct 24, 2016

On October 3rd, Legrand North America, a Better Plants Challenge partner, kicked off the Energy Marathon 2.0, a company-wide internal competition designed to save as much energy as possible through employee engagement and ready-to-implement technologies. The Energy Marathon is a 26.2-day (about 629 hours) energy saving competition that empowers employees to implement technology and process changes while reshaping their own energy usage behaviors. Legrand held their 1st Energy Marathon in 2014, with 18 participating corporate sites, and saved 588,540 kWh of energy and $46,732 on their electric bills. This year’s marathon will have more locations participating and have increased emphasis on employee participation and innovation. Based on Legrand’s experience, the best time to hold an Energy Marathon is over a 26.2-day period that generally does not experience extreme weather fluctuations from the baseline period being compared to. The competition can occur at one, or many facilities, so long that energy usage data is available to be measured and evaluated. The Energy Marathon 2.0 will be held at 22 participating Legrand locations across North America from October 3rd to the 28th.

New for 2016 are three winner categories for Best Performance, one for each Manufacturing, Distribution, and Office spaces. All three categories will compete to be the winner of their business class by reducing their electricity use against a September 2016 baseline. Energy Marathon 2.0 winners will be announced in November, 2016. To foster long-term energy reduction habits, Legrand will continue to monitor the three building class winners as they compete for the top title of Energy Marathon 2.0 Champion. The winner among the three will be the site that sustains its energy savings performance over the following several months. The ultimate Energy Marathon 2.0 winner will be announced on Earth Day 2017, April 22nd.

The steps needed for preparing for the Energy Marathon are: Legrand’s Energy Marathon Toolkit provides a step-by-step process to help others interested in developing, organizing and communicating their own Energy Marathon. As described in the toolkit, there are four key leadership roles necessary for a successful Energy Marathon: 1) Executive Staff, 2) Core Team Leader, 3) Core Team, and 4) Site Leader(s). The Executive Staff supports and helps launch the Energy Marathon. The Core Team Leader serves as project manager and handles all logistics including selecting Site Leaders, compiling energy readings, gathering and analyzing data, communicating about the event and making sure tasks are completed on time. The Core Team provides support to the Core Team Leader in critical roles such as facility operations, human resources, marketing communications, graphic design, and promoting sustainability. The Site Leaders serve as key liaisons from the Energy Marathon projects (typically low-cost, no-cost measures) at their specific sites to the Core Team. Each site should have its own Site Leader. The Site Leader should form a small local team to assist in responsibilities such as recording daily electric meter readings, communicating to local stakeholders, and identifying strategies to save energy at their site.

  • Identifying Core Team Leader and Core Team – Build a team that is able to brainstorm ways to save energy, recommend specific process and technological changes in facilities, communicate across your organization, and coordinate recognition for the winning site and other participating sites as appropriate.
  • Identifying Site Leader(s) – Seek qualified individuals who read the electric utility meters and lead communications and event execution at the site level.
  • Identifying how to interpret electric utility meter data – Not all meters are the same, some might be analog, some digital. Many have multiplication factors that must be applied to the numeric display in order to convert values to kWh. If it is not readily apparent how to distinguish kWh consumption on your electric meter, contact your electric service provider.
  • Setting a baseline – Choose the most appropriate timeframe that reflects normal operations and considers seasonal weather variations

The Energy Marathon Toolkit also provides detailed information on how to recognize the winners, how you share the results of the Energy Marathon, Energy Marathon checklist, and other important aspects of organizing the Energy Marathons.