Creating a culture of energy efficiency
Client: Duke Energy
In response to a public outcry against fossil fuels – and the utility commission’s denial of permission to build a new natural gas plant – Duke Energy, The City of Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina, partnered to launch a community energy initiative. The goal was to reduce peak energy demand, increase efficiency overall and embrace renewables, in order to avoid the need for an additional power plant in 2023.
Duke Energy embraced this as an opportunity to pilot a new way of promoting energy efficiency, demand response and renewable programs that could impact EE/DR/RE marketing efforts company-wide and community-wide moving forward.
Shelton Group’s role was to bring these three entities together with a brand, marketing strategy and campaign that unified the effort and inspired the community to take action to reduce energy consumption. Our work included driving residents and businesses to take specific actions to reduce peak energy use and increase the overall efficiency of their homes and buildings – and raising awareness and support for renewable energy programs in development, essentially creating a culture of energy efficiency in Buncombe County.
We developed an overarching name, brand and story for the effort, as well as a marketing communications plan building on and tying to existing Duke Energy and community assets, PR and grassroots activities.
It was critical to ensure our messaging and brand look and feel resonated with diverse communities, so we conducted on-the-ground focus groups within community organizations. With the insights from that research, we were able to confidently recommend and execute on the new branded initiative we named the Blue Horizons Project.
We named, designed and developed a logo treatment that received positive reviews among all community groups in testing – and built a microsite to serve as a centralized hub for easy access to Duke Energy’s EE programs, information on ways to make homes/buildings more energy efficient, and a place to donate to help lower-income neighbors. We also created various collateral pieces, produced a short hype video for local organizations to use with employees and customers, plus developed co-branded materials for the Blue Horizons Project and Duke Energy EE programs.
- Inspire and drive community support for clean energy as the way forward for Asheville
- Drive residents and businesses to take specific actions to reduce peak energy use and increase overall efficiency of homes and buildings
- Raise awareness and support for renewable energy programs in development
- Eliminate need for another natural gas “peaker” (power) plant for the foreseeable future
- Construction on a new natural gas peaker plant in Buncombe County was indefinitely shelved.
- In 2018 alone, 2,567 Asheville residents enrolled in Duke Energy’s EnergyWise home program, over double the goal of 1,000. And eight times as many local businesses signed up for EnergyWise business as were anticipated.
- Our Blue Horizons campaign led to a spirit of collaboration and partnership, and helped create a culture of energy responsibility. For example, Duke Energy recently gained approval for a microgrid project that members of the community proactively supported with the utility commission – which was a very different experience from how the community has typically approached Duke projects.