Blue Planet has accomplished the goals of the CGI commitment. They have built the web platform www.wefficiency.org and completed the pilot phase, which helped successfully crowdfund the upfront cost of energy efficiency upgrades for the 3 Hawaii-based nonprofit organizations; Damien Memorial School, YWCA of Oahu and Hawaii Public Radio. They built upon the successful pilot round and funded both an additional energy efficiency project for the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii and a second project for Damien Memorial School. This success is continuing with several nonprofit energy projects currently in development, along with refinement of the platform and outreach to additional potential nonprofit participants.
Blue Plant successfully funded five projects and raised $127,073 in crowdfunding for green initiatives (77% in loans, 23% donations) from 377 contributors. The anticipated energy cost savings for nonprofits totals $467,000 and the expected kWh reduction falls at 1,302,320 kWh, corresponding to a CO2 reduction of 1,114 tons. Every dollar spent in WEfficiency directly led to $3.50 in energy savings.
Blue Planet has developed all aspects of the WEfficiency program: they created project agreements and contracts; structured the process for efficiency project identification and contractor proposals; worked with stakeholders, such as Hawaii Energy (the PUC contractor that offers efficiency rebates), nonprofits, and contractors; built an engaging web platform that connects nonprofit organizations with a diverse crowd of supporters; created innovative marketing campaigns to boost program support; and developed approaches to scale WEfficiency and make it sustainable.
To develop their platform, Blue Planet worked with Sudokrew LLC, a Hawaii based web solutions company, to develop the core WEfficiency online platform. Under Blue Planet's direction, Sudokrew created a basic platform to (1) connect supporters, nonprofits, and energy contractors, (2) process and aggregate donations from the community, and (3) facilitate repayments from the nonprofit to the crowd. While this basic platform has proven successful in enabling energy projects, additional development work will make the platform more robust for projects involving larger numbers of supporters, and to frequently engage supporters as they track energy savings and project status/repayment.
Blue Planet has developed numerous partnerships to support and implement the WEfficiency program. For technical expertise and efficiency assessments, they have partnered with Energy Industries, Johnson Controls, and Honeywell Inc., three leading energy efficiency contractors. To broaden the reach of the program, they worked with the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofits to identify and connect with nonprofits suited to participate in the program. To test the effectiveness of various outreach strategies, Blue Plant partnered with Hawaii Energy, a contractor that helped to fund tests of engagement strategies like match funding, perk prizes, social media campaigns, and community events. They have also partnered with the State of Hawaii Departmentof Business, Economic Development and Tourism to align WEfficiency opportunities with existing state efficiency efforts such as the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. At the WEfficiency launch event, the program received the support of Governor Abercrombie and Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Blue Planet has also reached out to many nonprofit groups, with missions ranging across health and human services, education, the arts, and the environment. For the initial launch of the program, they selected three local nonprofits;Hawaii Public Radio, Damien Memorial School and the YWCA of Oahu. These organizations had mix of characteristics: they represented energy efficiency opportunities with short payback times, which was attractive to early adopters, offered high visibility, which assisted with marketing the WEfficiency platform during the launch phase to a wide audience of users, and engaged in diverse missions, which is now attracting growing interest from multiple nonprofit sectors. Other nonprofits are also engaged with WEfficiency to develop projects, including the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, the Waikiki Aquarium, Easter Seals, Shriners Hospital and others.
To develop marketing and awareness, Blue Planet engaged Sudokrew LLC to assist Blue Planet to develop and execute a marketing plan for the program'ss launch. Sudokrew's particular expertise is in web and social media-based marketing, with a focus on user engagement (i.e turning clicks into donations). Together, they ran various outreach campaigns across social media platforms, nonprofit communication channels, and community events. They were also able to test and analyze the effectiveness of each, to assist in the development of aplaybook to assist future WEfficiency nonprofits.
To date, WEfficiency has unlocked over $127,000 in clean energy loans and donations, which will save the four Hawaii-based nonprofits over $467,000 in energy cost dollars that will be put right back into making communities stronger. These projects will also prevent 1,114 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, avoid 88,000 barrels of oil from being imported to Hawaii, and advance towards a goal of 100% clean energy for Hawaii. Blue Planet is also working out the details on three new energy efficiency projects, which will enable an additional $1.3 million in energy savings for nonprofits. Furthermore, WEfficiency has enabled contributor dollars to be leveraged over 3.5 times, bringing added value to utilizing WEfficiency's philanthropic platform, and further illustrating the power of energy efficiency.
Blue Planet plans on continuing the WEfficiency project beyond the CGI commitment timeframe. They are continuing to build a queue of nonprofit participants, and plan on expanding the WEfficiency program to allow for an unlimited number of nonprofits in Hawaii and beyond to benefit from the power of energy efficiency.