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GIVING BACK: Rewards for individuals/ organisations for reducing, generating and storing renewable energy for other households

The idea is to give rewards to individuals and organisations in the form of: 1. Annual Awards for those who have helped to reduce, generate and store renewable energy the most within that year. 2. Project Funding for the few top winners who would like to develop their project further. 3. Incentives based on the amount of energy they have saved, generated or stored for others.

Photo of Titis Primita
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Currently there are plenty of green-building awards being organized all of the worlds, which keep architects, designers and developers thriving their best to ensure their building meet the green building criteria and to surpass the standards. In these awards there are only few key players involved, the architects, developers, contractors and building owners. How about individuals, students or small organization who want to take parts?
This reward system is a great way to involve individuals and small organizations (such as local communities and schools) to not only establish green initiatives within their own environment (which is very limited), but to expand their work to reach and help others to save, generate and store renewable energy to the extend that they want.
This how it will work:
  1. Smart- energy meter will be used in all households and community’s building (schools, clinics, etc) in an area. It will record the current energy consumption, energy savings and generation after certain green effort has been applied and how much they have in their storage. This smart energy – meter summary will be openly shown in a platform of website and mobile app. Therefore, anybody can compare their result with other households and they can communicate to offer and ask for help.
  2. When somebody share her/his renewable energy to others (or help to build/ provide the technology), it will be registered on the app and acknowledged by the beneficiaries. The smart-energy meter will monitor the energy efficiency, generation and storage result throughout the year and update the summary every month.
  3. In the end of the year, the total energy saved by the beneficiaries will be shown in the app, which will also show how much money has the beneficiaries saved from it.
  4. Beneficiaries are to give 25% of the amount of money they have saved to GIVING BACK program. Those collected fund will be given back to the energy donators and award winners. 

What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?

The idea can benefit any community, around the world. The focus is to connect individuals and small organisation to help each other in collaborating to create sustainable environments beyond their owns. GIVING BACK program includes everybody with different motivations in creating sustainable environments. The environment savvy, the people and communities and small organisations who need to create their legacy, the entrepreneurs, designers and any individuals who would like to get simple payments from their efforts. We can also involve big corporations in: 1. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) departments to sponsor this initiative 2. Companies who produce green technology to sponsor a community to start this program.

How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?

GIVING BACK program provides opportunities for everybody to start their own renewable energy initiatives and extend their individual efforts to others and rewarded for it.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

The implementation could be started within a small community of approximately 50 participating households from different backgrounds and few community buildings such as schools, clinics and markets.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

To build this idea further, I would love the OpenIdeo community to help giving ideas and to develop developing the tools (smart-energy meter and the applications tied to it) and ideas or any suggestions on how to transfer stored energy in a simplest way possible.

Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:

  • A type of energy not listed

This idea emerged from:

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jaime Gusching

Hello Titis!

Have you heard of the Acterra Award for Business Environmental Awards? I am impressed with the rigor of their criteria and strength of their judges panel. Perhaps they could even back Giving Back!

Their Business Environmental Award seems to hold sway in the Silicon Valley on the basis of community recognition, positive publicity, and the opportunity for the award recipients to publish their best practices.

Let me know if you're interested and I can connect you to a 2014 Acterra award recipient.

Photo of Titis Primita

Hi Jaime,

Thank you for the link! I've checked it out and Acterra have comprehensive criteria yet simple enough to be understood. We can also learn from the winners program models.
Yes, I would like to be connected with the award recipient. Please let me know the contact. Thank you!

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Hi Jaime and Titis, very interesting conversation here! Isn't OpenIDEO also a good platform to find winning program models?! I was just recommended by Bettina, an OpenIDEOer about a winning idea for recycling trash, and feel this idea is really great and covers the steps in Titis's plan with a good reward setup. You may be interested to check it out. Here is the link:

Photo of Titis Primita

Hi Shuting!
The Trash-Talk reward setup is actually very well aligned with the Giving Back idea, and special applause for the video and the idea of establishing the ambassador. I find it's important to have somebody that participant can talk to, share experiences and be inspired by.

As for the Giving Back incentives, it could be better to provide cash instead of voucher/ coupon, because the cash can help the donor to recover their 'investment' faster.

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Hey Titis sure thing! Coupon/certificate etc. will be used as an alternative when funding/cash is limited. Yet for sure cash is still the most convenient and useful incentive in many investments and reward systems. For funding, I would suggest partnering with NGOs to get the initiative. Besides NGO, how about foundations/corporations who have relevant business in the RE field? Any ideas here?

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Hi Titis,

Rewarding is important and it is nice to see your proposal here. I have seen some ideas on OpenIDEO that may be relevant or useful for you. Here is a link to an idea I feel you may be interested in:

Look forward to seeing your idea progressing. Maybe we can come up with some incentive toolkit together!

Photo of Titis Primita

Hi Shuting,

Thank you for your comment. Yes, Patrik has a great idea, but here I'd like to make something simpler (so simple that we do not need any paper/ screen to pitch), dumb-proof, fit to all, easy to explain (to people from all education level, age & culture), and very easy to remember. Therefore, this initiative could be communicated & spread by more people from mouth to mouth.

Yes, let's make toolkit together! Few basic things we need to include in the toolkit:

1. Getting Started
1.1. Select Community
1.2. Raise Awareness (Campaign Ideas & Example of Best Practices)
1.3. Recruit Participants
2. Implementation
2.1. Smart Meter
2.2. App
2.3. Monitoring process
2.4. Support system
3. Reward scheme
3.1. Incentive (scheme & delivery)
3.2. Program Funding (criteria, funding & mentoring/ incubator/ follow up)
3.3. Award (criteria & award)

But before all that, there are some first questions I need to answer:
1. What are simple best practices where a participant can help in providing renewable energy for others?
2. What kind of energy are we talking about?
3. Which smart meter to be used?

Please feel free to add, comment & build on this.
I'm looking forward to work together with you ;D

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Dear Titis,

I love this layout of plan and would love to work with you on answering your questions.

To answer your question no.1, I don't know the best but aiming at different communities, there will be one or many efficient practices. On OpenIDEO, you can see many different ideas that will engage individuals and communities in different ways: financial incentives, gamification, public education, expertise exchange, P2P funding/crowdfunding/bulk buying for renewable energies. You will almost find ideas/solutions for each step in the toolkit if you explore the research and ideas on OpenIDEO.

Environmental awards have been set up on different levels: from United Nations, to single block. Considering that this challenge is about connecting communities to renewables, I will suggest us to look at the community level reward setup.

Perhaps we can do a research on good environmental practices in our communities to begin with. What do you think?

Photo of Meena Kadri

Awesome thinking to explore incentives around renewable energy use, folks. Could be fun to do a User Experience Map for this idea: and also start to explore the practical aspects of the smart meters and what it would take to get this part of the concept up and running, for starters on a prototype. Looking forward to seeing where things head!

Photo of Titis Primita

Hi Meena,

Thank you for the User Experience Map. Will give the update soon!

Photo of Natalie Lake

Hi Titis,

This is a super neat idea. I think you might be interested in collaborating with McGee. His idea, MeterHero is similar to your idea but on a month to month basis and is more of an offsetting model than rewards (you offset energy guzzlers' (like restaurants) usage and earn rewards.) MeterHero is based of utility results but if you are interested in individualized energy tracking, Nyko, another OpenIDEO user, is coming up with an Energy SmarTraq that you may also be interested in.

Also if you're looking for smart home systems, you might want to team up with Mike!

I hope these help and I'd look forward to following your idea as it evolves :).

Photo of Titis Primita

Hi Natalie,

Thank you for your comment. The incentive was indeed build on McGee's idea, and I'm looking forward to team up with him, Nyko and Mike. Their idea can definitely be built together in this program :D