Press releases

Ecofys supports prize-winning research

Published: 02/03/2011

Public recognition, not money, motivates the most for energy saving in the workplace

Utrecht, The Netherlands, 02 March 2011 - Money is not necessarily the best incentive when persuading people to save energy in the workplace, finds a prize-winning study for which Ecofys supplied technical support and backup.

Receiving public recognition for efforts to reduce energy consumption provides a bigger motivation to switch off lights and appliances when they are not needed or to use stand-by mode when taking a coffee break than does a financial bonus, the investigation discovered.

“This new insight counters the common assumption that money is the key driver to human actions. It will play an important role in Ecofys work on achieving energy conservation through changes in behaviour and habits,” states Manon Janssen, CEO at Ecofys.

In the study, energy saving endeavours by office workers were measured using Ecofys smart meters. Their achievements varied depending on whether the results were kept confidential or were circulated publicly amongst participants, and on whether a financial reward was or was not offered.

“I found that focusing on financial benefit can be counter-productive. Social recognition was a more powerful and longer-lasting incentive and resulted in more energy being saved than when energy conservation successes were not widely disclosed,” says study author Margriet van Lidth de Jeude, who received this year’s David van Lennep Master Thesis Prize for her work.

The accolade was won in recognition of the study’s relevance to policy makers in that it reflects real behaviour, shows long term effects and was carried out in a business setting. Ecofys is exploring and developing on the findings for incorporation in its energy conservation, smart grid and other studies. Ecofys’ second international Energy Trophy challenge, an energy saving competition in offices, beginning shortly will provide an immediate opportunity to put the findings into practice.

Picture: Left to right -Margriet van Lidth de Jeude, M.J.J. (Michel) Handgraaf
Source:, photographer: Sander van de Geijn

Note to the editors

About Ecofys -
Ecofys is a leading knowledge and innovation company that operates in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change. It delivers research and service solutions from product development to implementation management. Its clients are energy companies, financial institutions and corporate businesses, governments and local authorities, international institutions, project developers, housing associations, building companies and energy consumers around the world.

About the David van Lennep Master Thesis Prize
The Prize is granted each year by the Dutch Foundation for Psycho Technology for exceptional theses related to psychology of work, profession and organisation.

For further information, please contact:
Mariëlle Vosbeek
Press Office Ecofys
Kanaalweg 15-G
3526 KL Utrecht
T: +31 (0)30 662-3402