Ventos de Poupança 2: Energia + Social

Reaching a population of 1.5 million, the Ventos de Poupança initiative helped thousands of Portuguese students to adopt and promote better environmental practices. Collaborating with other social initiatives, the project also helped to drive regional cohesion.

Ventos de Poupança 2: Energia + Social

The educational project “Ventos de Poupança (Winds of Savings) was developed by the Oeste Sustentável Regional Energy Agency and consisted of an inter-school competition across seven regions of Portugal (Oeste, Barreiro, Moita, Montijo, Seixal, Cascais, and Alta Estremadura). The initiative had two editions and was overall implemented in more than 27 municipalities, reaching a population of approximately 1.5 million people.

This school competition aimed to stimulate students and their social networks (families, teachers, students, and all the local community) into disseminating and adopting better environmental practices through self-perception about energy consumption, sustainability, consumerism, and solutions to reduce behavioural impacts.

Each school elected an Eco-team composed of five students and one teacher, and then participating students had the responsibility to develop activities such as simple energy audits on their school premises, respond to social network challenges, and develop presentations for their school boards proposing energy reduction measures in order to earn points.

Further, a smartphone quiz app on energy and the environment, called “ECOmLógica” (meaning “With an Eco-Logic”) was developed and launched to be played by any person who would donate their final score to one of the participating schools. The schools with the highest national score would receive various prizes, including one prize awarded to a social institution nominated by the winning school. This decision was taken to promote energy efficiency as well as social & intergenerational cooperation.

Eco-teams with the best classifications received renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment for their schools, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic systems, and LED lighting. Also, diplomas have been awarded to the 30 schools with the highest savings over the two-year period for the implementation of measures proposed by eco-teams in each school. Participation medals were awarded to all participating students.

The level of participation among students, their families, and friends was quite remarkable, with more than 15,000 questionnaire responses in the online survey, more than 150,000 online votes for the best energy proposals, more than 525,000 website visits, and more than 2,000 registrations for the smartphone quiz game. The final presentation event was attended by more than 120 students and teachers who represented 22 schools, and 29 social welfare institutions from 25 municipalities, which revealed the fantastic involvement of the whole community. 

In terms of energy savings, and despite the fact that this project was primarily focused on being an awareness-raising project, it was possible to conclude an annual and overall estimated savings of 187 MWh, 60 tonnes CO2eq, and with a potential for savings of approximately €45,000 / year.

The project was financed by the Energy Efficiency and Consumption Promotion Plan promoted by ERSE, the Portuguese Energy Services Regulatory Authority.

This article is a preview of FEDARENE’s forthcoming “Sustainable Regions in Action 2023” brochure. As part of the recently-launched “Winter measures for now & 2050” campaign, FEDARENE is sharing select articles to help promote innovative actions helping to deliver the REPowerEU plan.