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I-Cubed, an IT firm based (not far from JouleBug HQ) in Raleigh, NC, recently finished up a JouleBug contest among its employees.  They competed for a week to see who could score the most points with their green actions — not just at the office, but also at home and on the go.

Along they way, they learned something that is key to the way we designed JouleBug: competition works!   People’s competitive spirit (and sometimes a real-world prize) helps motivate them to engage with the app.  They might have already known about many of the sustainable actions JouleBug contains, but a chance at winning a contest helps give them another reason to actually go out and do them.

As you can hear contest winner Reid Overton say in this segment from local CBS affiliate WRAL, he wouldn’t have been doing these green actions — cutting down on solid waste, conserving energy, and saving money for himself and the company along the way — if it hadn’t been for the JouleBug contest.  The contest at I-Cubed gave Reid and many of his co-workers “the little bit of motivation” they needed.

JouleBug is chock full of information.  It teaches users about money-saving green choices that they might not have known about.  It shows users how much trash or energy or money their sustainable actions can save them. It also tells users how to do certain things, like fixing a leaky toilet.

But it’s not enough to just make an app that contains a ton of information — no matter how helpful we think it is.  You have to give people a reason to care.

That’s where competition comes in.  JouleBug users can see how their score measures up against everyone else in JouleBug Nation, or just their friends.  JouleBug for iOS users can now challenge their friends to play a game of JouleBug: they compete for a week to see who can get the highest score with their green actions.  (That feature is in beta, and we’ll be moving it to Android, as well, once we have a little more performance info.)

We think the real power of JouleBug comes out when communities compete together.  We work with our community partners — cities, universities, and companies — to run contests with real-world prizes that genuinely drive engagement in sustainable actions.  As our Creative Director John Williard says in the video, we see a ten-fold increase in JouleBug activity in communities running contests.

Kudos to I-Cubed for this contest their employees.  It’s a great way for the company to express its values, cut its energy bill, and have some fun.  We’re also running a city-wide contest in Raleigh right now that anyone who lives or works in the city can enter just by downloading and using JouleBug.  There’s still a week left to win a sustainability-related prize worth $200!

When JouleBug users compete to save energy and water and to cut down on solid waste, we all win.  When the contest ends, the competitors have new green habits that they’ll carry with them.

If you’d like to see how a JouleBug contest can drive sustainability engagement and cut utility bills for your company, city, or college, be in touch.  Competition works!  We can make it work for you.