SAVES: Students Achieving Valuable Energy Savings

The SAVES project was an inter-dormitory energy-saving competition that ran in dormitories at 17 Universities in five countries over the academic years 2014/15 and 2015/16 (50,314 students in total over two years). The project was funded through Intelligent Energy Europe and took place 2014-2017. SAVES 2 builds on this project.

Funding Scheme

Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) programme

Aims and General Description

SAVES focused on students as a distinct group of consumers, many of whom lived away from home for the first time and were adopting new energy-usage habits. SAVES provided quality engagement with students, enabling, empowering and motivating them to save energy through the Student Switch Off campaign– focusing specifically on the last stage of the ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action’ framework. By developing student champions in each block of each dormitory, and by motivating the champions to encourage their peers to save energy, competitions were created between students in dormitories, each competing to save the most energy and win prizes. SAVES tapped into online student communities through social media, using engaging digital communications to raise awareness of how students can save energy in a fun way. SAVES used smart meter data to run real-time energy challenges, inform students how much energy they are using, and encourage peer to peer learning.

The following results were achieved over 2014-17:

  • 50,000 students reached (c25,000 each academic year) with the SSO campaign
  • 1,700 tonnes of carbon saved
  • 4 million kWhs of energy saved (4 GWhs)
  • 17 campaigns in 5 countries (each academic year)
  • 485 students trained as project ambassadors
  • 10,100 students signed up to the SSO campaign
  • Students submitted 556 photos doing energy saving actions
  • 5,598 took part in online climate change quizzes
  • SAVES presented at 8 international conferences and numerous workshops

UNICA played a key role in raising awareness about the energy-saving actions and supporting the project utilizing the established partner network and communications.


  • Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC),
  • the European Student Union (ESU),
  • the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and SENSD

SAVES: Students Achieving Valuable Energy Savings

Project info

From 01 October 2014
to 31 May 2017

Project Coordinator

National Union of Students of the United Kingdom (NUS-UK)

UNICA’s role

Task leader in dissemination

Relevant UNICA working group

UNICA Green & SDGs