Crowd Energy Savings – collective energy savings
The changes that are currently taking place in the global society generate completely new directions and trends. One of the proposals is Crowd Energy Savings. It is a variant of the well-known crowdfunding. The idea which guided crowdfunding – also called social financing – is based on depositing small one-off amounts by the largest possible group of people interested in the project. The main foundation of this mechanism is the trust between the participants of the project and the originator built on the basis of fully public information about the activity. Similarly, in the case of Crowd Energy Savings the idea is based on generating small savings in energy consumption by the largest possible community.
The idea of Crowd Energy Savings is depicted in the figure below.
In this way the generated savings in the form of concrete financial amounts are maximized. They depend on the number of people joining the community. These amounts are later spent on joint investments or other purposes, agreed by the project participants (such as social room equipment or organic coffee). Even if from the perspective of one participant these amounts are not of great importance, collected together by a larger local community or a local government may provide tangible value and give the opportunity to use it effectively.
The following figure presents a sample scenario of Crowd Energy Savings.
As in the case of social financing such a mechanism must be supported by trust between the participants. Trust is necessary at the stage of generating savings and their subsequent spending. Generating savings may be due to changes in the behaviour of the project participants and it may be also stimulated by the use of new technologies and ICT solutions, like microgeneration in conjuction with the efficient energy storage. The Grinfy solution (www.grinfy.com) takes the lead in this trend as it supports such initiatives thanks to its capabilities and functionalities. Bearing in mind the intensive growth of communities built with the use of new technologies and social networks it seems that it is only a matter of time when such initiatives will emerge. The described mechanism is a part of the global trend of focusing on the returns of savings in the scale of kW instead of MW. It is a shift towards local scattered power industry where the main determinant of changes is the behvaiour of active energy consumers.
Extremely important is the educational value of this undertaking. Aggregating microsavings e.g. as a result of more effective work of computers and laptops and the subsequent presentation of the jointly obtained results (total less energy consumption, less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, globally measurable financial benefits) will have a much more powerful effect than presenting this data without taking into account the economies of scale. Joint activities in the field of energy efficiency for the local community may become for this group a factor that stimulates them to change the behaviour and further integrate the community. Measurable benefits e.g. in the form of new equipment for the social room as a result of the energy savings will be a real effect of environmental activities.