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The Kill-a-Watt Quest

Author: Russell Marsan
May, 2013 Issue

Educating employees on how to change energy-wasting habits, then using that knowledge to create a spirited competition between local offices, is an easy path to a healthier bottom line and a cleaner environment. Fidelity National Title recently partnered with GreenTraks, a developer of energy tracking and carbon management software solutions, to implement the Kill-a-Watt Quest, an energy reduction competition.
For three months, eight branch offices of Fidelity National Title in Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties competed against each other to see which could reduce energy use the most by implementing some basic employee behavior changes. Teaching employees how to change their energy use habits typically isn’t the most exciting of topics, so to get employees motivated, the offices were encouraged to have fun with the competition.
Using a safari theme, since Fidelity employees were trying to “hunt down” and eliminate excess watts, GreenTraks created an educational and humorous energy behavior change presentation that was given to the employees just before the competition began. Each office then created a team name—such as Green Squirrels, Paperless Pumas, Jewels of the Jungle and Closing Cougars—and some also created theme days, like Tight-Watt Tuesday and Dim-Watt Wednesday. To further bolster team spirit, employees were encouraged to wear “green”-themed attire to work. One office went as far as wearing cowboy hats and making custom shirts with a green logo emblazoned “Watt Wranglers.” The offices also regularly sent creative emails and photos back and forth to help stimulate competitive juices. One such photo pictured an escrow officer working at her keyboard using only a headlamp to light her work area.
Fidelity proved that making minor changes to your daily energy use can really add up and lead to considerably lower energy bills. Some of the changes incorporated by the competing offices included: Using “daylighting” (natural light) when possible, adjusting and monitoring thermostats, eliminating “energy hogs” (like space heaters) and turning off equipment and appliances when not in use. To ensure the competition was fair and accurate, GreenTraks monitored and measured all branches’ energy data using analytics that verified reductions were real and not due to weather or other anomalies.
After all was said and done, the winning branch office in Healdsburg reduced its energy consumption by an impressive 24 percent over the three-month period, just by paying attention to daily routines. Normally, it would require a substantial capital expenditure toward energy efficiency projects to see an energy reduction as high as 24 percent, but Fidelity and GreenTraks accomplished it with very little expense—and a whole lot of fun. As an added benefit, employees took their new energy-saving habits home to help reduce their family’s utility bills.
“We’re proud of our Fidelity Green Branch certification, which recognizes Fidelity operations making a difference for the environment. But we wanted to do something even bigger to show other local businesses that they can make a difference, too,” says John Hilvka, county manager for Fidelity National Title Company. “Imagine if every local business engaged in a Kill-a-Watt Quest-type campaign: Collectively, we could reduce a lot of demand from our local power grid.”
“We provided the education, tracking, data management and some cheerleading, but the Fidelity employees were the ones who brought their ‘A-game’ and gave it their all. We’ve never seen results quite this high before, and we were really proud to work with such a great organization,” added a GreenTraks representative.
GreenTraks created the Kill-a-Watt Quest as a fun way for businesses and organizations to experience first-hand the benefits of energy management and sustainability programs. Such programs are not only great ways to reduce costs, they’re also a great way to attract new customers. A recent Gallop Poll showed that 77 percent of American consumers believe companies need to do more to protect the environment. By messaging your successful sustainability efforts out to stakeholders, you’ll not only attract new customers, you’ll also be encouraging others to do the same—leading by example and becoming a catalyst for change.
With some healthy competition, offices like those of Fidelity National Title can make a significant positive impact within their local communities by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and demand from the local energy grid.
Russell Marsan is national sales manager for GreenTraks, which provides companies with turnkey energy-efficiency and carbon management solutions. To find out more about the Kill-a-Watt Quest and how energy management helps reduce energy use and costs, please contact GreenTraks at


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