WSU Facilities Tenant Engagement Program and Training

Our goal with the tenant engagement program is to help teach building users strategies to reduce their personal energy consumption, change departmental habits of energy use, and deliver useful information that you can use to improve your comfort. The three objectives of this campaign are to improve the energy efficiency of WSU facilities, build a community of sustainability-conscious Cougs, and improve the overall well-being and health of people working in WSU buildings. Our efforts ultimately work to demonstrate the power of WSU’s staff working together to make a significant change. The research produced by this program will continue to support other projects in the near and far future.

In 2020, through the WSU Facilities project titled “Reducing Building Energy Use through Tenant Engagement: Pilot Study, the ID+CL interviewed over 65 WSU employees in two targeted buildings on the Pullman campus and distributed a system-wide survey to collect perceptions of energy use and comfort on all WSU campuses. We collected over 2800 survey responses to better understand environmental and social barriers to energy conservation across the WSU community. Stories from building users revealed that more often than not, they lacked agency to control their spaces, and at times, they did not understand how to reduce their energy use. At the nexus of energy and comfort is the occupant, who may (or may not) be factored into their buildings’ energy profiles or have the ability to control their environments.

Additionally, we are tasked with creating a brand new training module for employees and students returning to campus in the Fall of 2021 through this project with WSU Facilities. Results of the surveys and interviews from the fall were used to develop the content and questions. The goal of this training module was to help inform occupants about sustainable comfort choices while in a University building, at home, and beyond. The lessons explained in the module not only help to reduce energy usage at WSU but can be implemented anywhere, for the same reason. This training will be developed for WSU’s Skillsoft training platform this spring, and rolled out for building occupants across the Pullman Campus initially, and more broadly applied in the coming year.

We will update this recent project with the link to the training and tenant engagement materials when they are available! Thank you to WSU Facilities for sponsoring this project and their dedication to comfort, energy use reduction, and collaboration through the WSU System! Additional big thanks to NEEA and the BetterBricks program for helping support this work!