EDF Energy - The Big Energy Project

The Education Award, Finalist, 2016

EDF Energy’s Big Energy Project has shown students, teachers and the wider public how to reduce their energy consumption and save money. The project also teaches valuable employment skills.

Good for society

  • Since its launch the programme has reached 4,773 students at over 90 schools.
  • A survey of students reached found that 89% feel they have a better understanding of energy efficiency.

Good for business

  • The Big Energy Project has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on employee morale at EDF Energy, with 92% of employees stating volunteering opportunities help make the company a great place to work.
  • The project is addressing the workforce of the future thanks to local initiatives and EDF Energy’s Challenge prize incentives, which include career talks from EDF Energy graduates to students.

EDF EnergyIn November 2012, EDF Energy developed a revolutionary educational project that would not only engage students to consider energy consumption in both environmental and financial terms but would also target teachers, volunteers and wider communities.

Overview

Working hand-in-hand with education charity the Transformation Trust, EDF Energy’s goal is to encourage youngsters within deprived areas to consider energy issues from an early age and, by harnessing their passion and commitment, to inspire their peers, families and communities to change behaviours. 

As well as helping students develop  positive energy-saving attitudes, their competence in areas like team work, problem solving, communication, creativity and leadership has been vastly improved.

The project also stimulates students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Additionally EDF Energy staff, at all levels, have had an opportunity to engage with volunteering and mentoring programmes.

Now entering its fourth year, the Big Energy Project continues to grow at a rapid pace.

In less than four years since the project was launched, it has reached close to 5,000 students in 83 schools. Of those involved, 89% feel they now have a better understanding of energy efficiency. 

Background

As the UK’s leading generator and supplier of low-carbon energy, EDF Energy produces about one-fifth of the nation’s electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, wind farms, and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to over 5.6 million customers; it supplies more electricity to the UK than anyone else.

EDF Energy’s mission statement is: “Driving progress for people - a successful and responsible long-term energy business, trusted by customers and powering a thriving society and a healthy environment.”

The Big Energy Project helps the firm to deliver on this mission, inspiring and enabling people to perform as a force for good, driving progress at work and across communities.

The project, which is focused on deprived areas, tells people how they can save money on their energy costs. 11 to 14 year old children in poorer schools were targeted because they are tomorrow’s energy consumers and children of that age influence the behaviour of families the most. 

Engaging young people through partnerships

To successfully engage young people, EDF Energy formed a firm partnership with education charity Transformation Trust. This partnership then built the relationships with the schools.

It was important to the company to find a partner which was already engaging the audience it was trying to connect with. It’s also important that engagement goes both ways and so EDF Energy encourages its staff members to volunteer their time to the project.

EDF Energy created resources for six science lessons. These can either be used in class or in special after school STEM clubs. 

The project even provides certificates for participants and there is a ‘The Big Energy Project Challenge’, with a prize for the best energy-efficiency campaign.

What EDF Energy's CEO said:

“Sustainability is not so much about the planet we leave for our children, but the children we leave for our planet. I want EDF Energy to be a force for good, and nothing is more important than gifting children with knowledge to make a positive difference – within their schools, families and wider communities. The Big Energy Project is a key way we’re doing this. And by targeting students in areas of deprivation – those who will benefit most from learning about reducing energy consumption and cost – we’re providing a model for other energy companies to follow.” - Vincent de Rivaz CBE, Chief Executive Officer, EDF Energy

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