Understanding your energy culture


Sample pages Facilitator presentation* Score sheet* Score calculator*

Understanding your energy culture is a new tool adapted from the well-known Understanding your HSE culture tool.  The Energy Institute has adapted the research and learning behind improving safety culture to improve energy management performance. It was created with funding from:

  • Shell
  • Energy and Technical Services Ltd.
  • Energy Institute
  • UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (research grant)
  • The EI Hearts and Minds research fund

Much like safety management, improving energy management has focused on improving technology to be more energy efficient and on implementing an energy management system that provides policies, rules, and systems for measuring and reducing energy use, but there is now an increasing awareness that, whilst having an energy management system in place is a good start, this can only be effective if it is accepted, used and improved by the workforce.

A key challenge to improving energy management, efficiency and reducing greenhouse gasses is therefore to change the behaviour of the organisation and those who work in it.

Unlike traditional behavioural interventions, which focus on changing the individual (such as through training), Hearts and Minds targets the culture.  This approach acknowledges that company processes (i.e. the energy management system) and people’s behaviour are not independent - both must work together. Only then will the benefits be realised.

The Understanding your energy culture tool

Understanding your energy culture (UYEC) is a workshop-based tool to help you understand your company ‘energy culture’ – in short, this is ‘how we do things around here’.  It includes a short questionnaire to help measure the existing culture – and to see what better culture looks like – and exercises to discuss how to improve and move the organization up the ‘culture ladder’.

Why use it?

The tool can be used to kickstart an energy management improvement programme.  The Understanding your culture methodology is very effective at:

  • Engaging workforce and senior management,
  • Encouraging great discussions about topics that may never have been discussed before, and
  • Helping to identify key energy management issues (both behaviours and processes) that need to be addressed.

Using it in meetings and workshops will give you a clear view of the current energy culture from the entirety of the organisation, help you see what better practice looks like, and what changes need to be made within the organisation.

How is it used?

Run the UYEC exercise in a workshop with up to 20 people from a cross-section of the organisation.  Depending on the size of the organisation, you may want to run several workshops in order to engage more people or collect more information.

Each person in the workshop will need a copy of the UYEC booklet and a response sheet (see resources section below).   The booklets can be kept by each attendant or can be reused in future workshops.

Run the workshop periodically (e.g. yearly) to keep people engaged and check progress.

*FREE WEBINARS - The Energy Institute is pleased to support the launch of two free webinar presentations on Tuesday 6th November and 13th November. The first webinar will discuss the importance of energy culture and what steps organisations can take to improve energy efficiency. The second webinar will explore the best routes to ESOS compliance, common issues faced during ESOS Phase I and how the Energy Culture tool can be used to turn the cost of compliance into an opportunity.  Register to attend using the links below.

Understanding your energy culture


Who is it for?

The UYEC workshop should be facilitated by someone with good facilitation skills – however the facilitator does not need to have specialist knowledge in energy management, although this might help.  Usually, the facilitator will be either be a trainer, an energy manager or someone with an interest in energy management.

An external consultant is not required – however there are consultants who specialise in culture improvement who may be able to help if you feel you need it.

You can invite anyone to attend the workshop, whether they are explicitly involved in energy management or not, but be aware that you may need to provide a brief introduction to what energy management is if people are not familiar with it.