Posted on
20 October 2016
Viet Nam is not only known for its pho and conical hats. Unfortunately it is also a country with a very strong growth in electricity consumption and a focus on building new coal power plants.

WWF-Vietnam has decided to demonstrate in practice that it is actually possible to do the opposite: reduce energy needs. That is why we are the second office to have joined WWF-UPFRONT, after WWF-Myanmar. This initiative, funded by WWF-Switzerland, aims to bring solar electricity to WWF offices, in combination with an energy efficiency training for WWF staff.

The energy efficiency training programme has been developed in cooperation with Top Ten International, an independent international program which creates benchmarks for the most energy efficient products: topten.info.

Project plan

Prior to the efficiency week, we analysed the office energy consumption with different tools, including a monitoring system called Smappee (smappee.com). The Friday before the efficiency week we also completed an energy training with Jean-Philippe Denruyter, the energy specialist managing the UPFRONT initiative.

Then, we ran the ENERGY EFFICIENCY WEEK with different themes every day. Each theme was meant to encourage staff to think about energy.

The Energy Efficiency Week

• On the POLAR BEAR DAY each staff had to think about their own action plan to reduce energy consumption.
• On the LOW CARBON TRANSPORT DAY we tried to come to the office in a more environmentally friendly way.
• On the LOW AC DAY we used fans rather than air conditioning.
• On Thursday we had AN EARTH HOUR LUNCH with more vegetarian food.
• On Friday we CAME TO THE OFFICE IN BEACH WEAR to highlight the link between the need for AC and the way we dress.

We could check the impacts of our appliance use with wattmeters. Everybody also had access to the smappee webpage, showing the office’s instant energy consumption and much more.
At the same time the energy team was running around to measure the energy use of certain appliances, provided advice and tested some potential improvements in equipment use.
Early in the week staff could place a bet on how much electricity would be saved during the week. At the end of the week there was a cocktail with the prize distribution.


Staff cycling to work on Low Carbon Transport Day, aiming at reducing the amount of C02 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere © WWF-Vietnam

Great Impact

The results were quite impressive. We realized that 30% of office electricity consumption comes from air conditioning over the year, going up to 50% during the 4 summer months, and that our fridges and water dispensers together nearly consumed 20% of the office electricity per year!

Thanks to Smappee we could accurately calculate electricity savings. We saved 28% of electricity over the week! We removed a lot of standby consumption and saw the impact of changes in our air conditioning habits. The challenge now will be to continue saving energy over time and to set consumption reduction targets. We will certainly show Smappee figures on a screen at the reception to keep reminding staff about the importance of energy savings and to show our visitors that we take our impact seriously.

“I am glad we can show our commitment for a better climate in the office. We had a great impact in one week only. With Smappee, it is great that electricity consumption becomes so understandable. We can really measure the impact of our efforts instantly!” says Ha Pham, the Energy Efficiency Lead, WWF-Vietnam,
"I was amazed by the Vietnamese colleagues' level of participation. It was a pleasure to go around the office and talk to colleagues about their ideas and impressions", says Jean-Philippe, WWF-International

WWF-Vietnam’s energy work

This energy efficiency project fits well with WWF-Vietnam’s more general work on energy. Like the other offices in the Mekong, WWF-Vietnam has launched a Power Sector Vision to convince the government and other stakeholders that the future of the power sector can be based on efficiency and renewables. At the same time, we have started an initiative to support the private sector to switch to energy efficiency and renewables, with support from WWF-Switzerland as well as to apply the low emission initiatives for cities under Earth Hour City Challenge Programme. It is great that WWF can show that it is serious about its own energy efficiency when it talks to the government and private sector partners.
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