In Turkey, online games teach energy efficiency
Meltem Şengün Ucal, a social scientist and professor at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, brings a different perspective on energy efficiency through a research project raising awareness among female consumers and children.
“I came across a grant call for projects on energy efficiency in household appliances, and decided to develop a project about the relation between climate change and energy for new generations,” she says. “It is they who will be most affected from adverse effects.”
Meltem’s project was selected as one of five winning grantees and awarded US $100,000, as part of UNDP’s Market Transformation of Energy Efficient Appliances programme. Funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and UNDP’s core resources, the aim of the initiative is to reduce household electricity consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating market transformation and raising awareness that energy-efficient appliances benefit the environment as well as families’ budgets.
- Thanks to regulatory and consumer awareness measures, domestic energy efficiency is expected to increase by 50%.
- More than 50,000 household appliance sales staff recieved training on the benefits of energy efficiency.
- Public advocacy campaigns reached more than 9 million people.
- The project is funded by UNDP core resources and GEF, and executed by the General Directorate for Renewable Energy under the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Turkey has about 17 million households, and dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners and other staples of modern homes have become a booming business. But a survey found that only about half the people in Turkey know about energy efficiency labelling. Awareness of the risks of climate change is relatively high, but fewer people grasp that their purchase choices can make a difference.
Meltem’s project ran an awareness-raising campaign in three cities (İstanbul, İzmit and Bursa), and conducted a survey of 1,300 female consumers. Along with special brochures for kids and women distributed during these meetings, a demo of an online game on energy efficiency at home was developed for a new generation who will deal with challenges of climate change in the future.
The interactive game, suitable for children from 6-12 years old, was played by 3,500 children in 26 elementary schools. It provides a simple and fun opportunity to learn how to use household appliances efficiently.
“It was really exciting to see how the new generation is so smart and already an advocate for energy efficiency. We have noticed that the kids have shown great interest in energy efficiency especially in the schools located in low-income areas,” said Meltem.
Making consumers aware has been key in Turkey’s push for energy efficiency. So far, the project enabled training of more than 50,000 household appliance sales staff on the benefits of energy efficiency.
A public awareness campaign reached over 9 million people with messages that energy-efficient appliances are good for the environment and can slash electricity bills by up to 50 percent.
Other measures include improving standards for eco-friendly design and detailed labeling of the new appliances launched on the market. Overall, energy efficiency is expected to increase as much as 50 percent.
To ensure compliance, UNDP helped train Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology staff members to enforce the regulations and introduce a market monitoring system to measure the energy consumption and emissions of household appliances.
By the end of 2014, the measures already taken in Turkey are expected to save about 3,700 gigawatt hours in energy use, and keep 2.4 megatons of carbon dioxide out of the air.