During February and March 2014, DMU Library and Learning Services hosted two awareness weeks to help raise the profile of a DMU green initiative called SmartSpaces. The SmartSpaces project aims to save energy use (electricity, gas and water consumption) in several Leicester public buildings through the use of IT. The project encourages engagement with building users via a SmartSpaces website and online discussion forum. The website measures current energy use in participating buildings by displaying the data in the form of a spectrum of “smiley” (or not so smiley) faces. The faces are colour-coded to visualise current levels of energy use. A sad red face highlights increased energy use, a yellow face means neutral performance, while a smiley green face indicates reduced energy consumption.
As the Kimberlin Library is one of the DMU buildings which features in the SmartSpaces project, the library’s Green Impact Team arranged two awareness weeks a month apart to try and promote the initiative to library users. The Green Impact Team also produced a SmartSpaces LibGuide to coincide with these promotional activities. The first awareness week was hosted the week commencing 3rd Feb 2014. Green Impact Team staff set up a SmartSpaces display in the Learning Zone on the ground floor of Kimberlin Library. The display featured the smiley faces spectrum on display boards, posters marketing the SmartSpaces website, red, yellow and green balloons and a plasma screen presentation with slides highlighting the library’s involvement in the project.
The display was then staffed over set lunchtime sessions during the week. Library staff would hand out SmartSpaces flyers and discuss the project with interested users. A library laptop was also on hand, allowing staff to show the SmartSpaces website and online forum. The library’s Green Impact Team worked closely with DMU’s Sustainability Team during the preparation for the awareness weeks. The Sustainability Team kindly sent over some SmartSpaces smiley face cakes which were handed out to library users in the building.
The second awareness week ran from 3rd-7th March 2014. The Green Impact Team repeated the SmartSpaces display in Kimberlin Library’s Learning Zone, but made some changes to the organisation of the publicity display after the first awareness week was reviewed. A single lunchtime session on 4th March 2014 was staffed (rather than having several lunchtime sessions throughout the week), and the plasma screen presentation was removed entirely. The library also tied in its marketing of SmartSpaces with Fairtrade Fortnight. The Fairtrade promotion was already up and running around DMU campus in the first week of March 2014, so it seemed like a good way to increase awareness of two green initiatives at the same time. The theme for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight was fairtrade bananas. Bananas were given out at the display to library users in Kimberlin’s Learning Zone. Members of staff from both the library and Sustainability teams also dressed up in banana costumes in an attempt to gain the maximum attention of building users – what troopers!
Both SmartSpaces awareness weeks were promoted via DMU Library social media pages, such as @LibraryDMU and Facebook. DMU Sustainability and SmartSpaces Twitter feeds also joined in with this marketing, using hashtags such as #smartspaces and #dmu to widen exposure of the tweets:
During the run up to the first awareness week, the library ran a survey of its users to see if they had already heard about SmartSpaces from posters up around DMU campus. DMU’s Sustainability Team held an official campus-wide launch for SmartSpaces on 16th Jan 2014 in the Queens Building, and several big SmartSpaces posters were put up in participating DMU buildings (including the Kimberlin Library). The library’s Green Impact Team was joined by a project assistant from the IESD faculty who assisted with the creation and carrying out of the survey. The survey was then repeated during the second awareness week in March 2014, to see if the marketing display and events hosted by the library during the two publicity weeks had helped to increase users’ awareness of SmartSpaces in the library and around DMU campus. The Green Impact Team is currently digesting these figures in its evaluation of the SmartSpaces awareness campaign and related project work.