Turning Energy Savings in London into Solar for Africa

off-on program funds solar in nairobi photo

Image credit: WK London, used with permission.

We all know that energy conservation is good. And it is clear that solar can be a life saver in developing countries, as well as a great catalyst for improved school performance. But what if turning off the lights in your home or office could help someone in Africa turn theirs on? An innovative new program is aiming to do just that—turning the energy and money saved from conservation efforts into funding for renewable energy in the developing world. Developed as a partnership between UK communications agency Wieden Kennedy London, and solar development charity Solar Aid, the Off-On program encourages employees to save energy, and it funnels the resulting savings into funding for a solar installation at a children's home in Nairobi, Kenya:

"Screensavers and LED floor displays will show Wieden + Kennedy employees how much energy they're using in real time and relate what they're turning off in London, to what they're turning on in Nairobi.

In a ground-breaking partnership with NGO SolarAid, the creative agency hopes to make a significant difference to students and teachers at the children's home. By reducing their office's energy consumption by just 10% over the year, Wieden + Kennedy will save enough money to light up 4 classrooms and a kitchen with solar panels."

But the idea is much bigger than one agency, and one children's home, with plans to expand the project beyond the agency's network. Once the pilot phase of the project is done, Off-On will create open-source software designed to work with all makes of energy monitors—empowering businesses and schools across the nation to turn off their own power and turn on a light on the other side of the world in the process.

More on Solar Aid and Solar in Africa
Solar Transforms School Performance in Africa (Video)
Why Solar is a Life Saver in Developing Countries (Video)
Solar Aid Plans Three-Fold Increase in Development Efforts

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