Competition among Starbucks retail locations to improve energy efficiency

Please note my confession down below…

Starbucks is once again blazing new trails in retail by combining gamification with sustainability:

The retailer plans to launch on Tuesday a competition that will pit 10 of its stores against one another to see who can cut electricity use the most in 30 days.

The competition is part of a 1-year project by the coffee retailer and Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington State to use energy data and the contest to influence behaviors and reduce energy consumption. The goal is to figure out what triggers can successfully prompt actions and whether people will continue to be mindful of conserving energy long after the competition is over, said Andrew deCoriolis, director of marketing and engagement at Lucid Design Group, an Oakland, Calif., startup that is providing the technology for the project. The utility is working with Portland Energy Conservation, a nonprofit in Oregon that designs energy efficiency programs, to run the project.

Each store will have a tablet display behind the counter that shows the electricity use of the store throughout the day. The energy data will come from smart meters and will be updated every one to five minutes, deCoriolis said. Lucid also will be collecting gas and water consumption data, but their use won’t determine who wins the competition. The prize will be some sort of a party for the winning Starbucks shop.

Confession: I hate the coffee products that Starbucks sells. When I first moved to San Diego, there were an average of 300 independent coffee houses, with new ones opening in place of old ones closing. When the great Starbucks retail expansion began, the retailer sought locations immediately across from or within a block of the most successful independent coffee houses. We lost quite a few, and now the number of quality independent coffee houses in San Diego are far less than once was. That said, Starbucks has done an incredible job in terms of consistency of quality in its retail locations.