Tag: online sustainability game


Beyond the Game: Jeanne’s Sustainability Story


Photo courtesy of Jeanne H. – 2016

Cool Choices alumni continue to inspire us with the sustainability actions they’ve taken since taking part in our program. This month we were impressed by Jeanne’s story of how her office has taken green to the next level!

What green activities have you been up to since taking part in the Cool Choices program?

In our display garden outside our office we repurposed household items for use in the garden. Old plates were purchased at the local resale shop & used to edge raised beds; used hangers from the same resale shop were wired together to create a trellis; an old rattan chair frame was used for a container garden.

Do you have any tips for others trying to be sustainable?

Purchasing items from resale shops (which usually are run by nonprofit organizations) helps out the community. With a little bit of creativity, these inexpensive items can find a new purpose. It’s a great way to be sustainable.

Jeanne took part in the Cool Choices online sustainability game in 2013 with UW Extension. Inspire by Jeanne’s story? You can make a difference too! Cool Choices is creating a new platform, Connected, where Cool Choices alumni can inspire others by sharing their sustainability stories. More details coming soon!


Beyond the Game: Tina’s Sustainability Story


Photo courtesy of Tina C. – 2016

To highlight the cool things our alums do after taking part in the Cool Choices online sustainability game, we’ll be sharing monthly stories submitted by past participants. Our alumni always impress us by taking sustainable practices to the next level.

This month we were inspired by Tina’s sweet story of working together with her granddaughter…

What green activities have you been up to since taking part in the Cool Choices program?
When I take my granddaughter to the park we go around and pick up trash after we are done playing to help our earth stay clean!

Do you have any tips for others trying to be sustainable?
We make it into a game! Always teach your kids about the importance of our planet, it’s our home and it’s up to us to take care of it.

Tina took part in the Cool Choices online sustainability game in 2014 with Outagamie County. Inspired by Tina’s sustainability story? Remember, you can make a difference! Cool Choices is creating a new platform, Connected, where our Cool Choices alumni can share their sustainability stories and inspire others. We’ll share more details about Connected soon!


ComEd Chooses Cool Choices for Employee Sustainability Awareness Initiative


Cool Choices is enthusiastic about a new partnership with ComEd, an electric utility that provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers in Illinois.

ComEd is recognized for their commitment to the environment and this week they’re launching the Cool Choices 8-week employee engagement sustainability program. ComEd employees will take a few minutes each day to compete as teams to report the greatest number of sustainable actions.

The Cool Choices online platform and game is customized and branded specifically for ComEd’s implementation to increase engagement in and awareness of company-wide sustainability initiatives.

“ComEd understands the challenges in engaging people around sustainability–this is a quest they tackle every day. We are delighted to be able to help them experiment with a fun and social model,” said Kathy Kuntz, Executive Director of Cool Choices.

Welcome ComEd staff! We know you’ll have fun, save money and take sustainable actions that have a measurable impact in your game of Cool Choices.


Inpro Enlists Cool Choices Sustainability Program for 2nd Time

PrintWe love when clients return to implement the Cool Choices game-based sustainability program for a second or even third time. We’re delighted to partner again with Inpro, a leader in the manufacturing industry with a truly remarkable commitment to environmental sustainability.

Inpro first enlisted Cool Choices to deliver an 8-week game-based sustainability program in 2014. More than 50% of Inpro’s employees participated in the Cool Choices game and reported actions representing almost $200,000 in annual savings!

Amanda Goetsch, Sustainability Manager at Inpro, explained, “Sustainability, in part, is about having fun while creating a more resilient and vibrant future for all stakeholders. Playing the Cool Choices game helped our employees integrate healthy and uplifting habits into their lives, while at the same time adding a little padding to their pocketbooks. Cool Choices is a tool that helps us increasingly integrate sustainability into our corporate culture and our employees love it!”

Taking part in the Cool Choices program, Michael R. Sekula, Global Vice President of Supply Chain Management & Safety at Inpro shared, “If you are struggling with engaging your staff around sustainability, Cool Choices is your tool. It’s fun, engaging and I believe both the company and the employee learn a great deal from the program.”

This month Inpro is launching their second partnership with Cool Choices. Employees at Inpro will form teams and compete daily to report their sustainable actions. Participants will earn points and win prizes for reporting actions that reduce resource consumption and help the environment. The Cool Choices team would like to welcome Inpro employees for a second time! We’re excited to see the impact you’ll make during your second company-wide Cool Choices sustainability game.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you address your corporate sustainability goals.


Using Team Dynamics to Boost Engagement

“I did not want to let my team down.”
– Cool Choices player


Teams are a cornerstone of the Cool Choices online sustainability game and engagement platform: you must be on a team to play.

We rely on teams because behavior change is hard and research shows it’s less hard when you have social support.

The data is clear: when individuals are accountable to a team or get encouragement from others, it has a big impact on their well-being — the more support they have, the greater chance they’ll achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.” Social Support: Impact on Health and the Bottom Line, Dean Witherspoon

In a game of Cool Choices a team’s standing depends on the activity of all team members—which means players are accountable to each other. It’s not unusual for teammates to develop nudge strategies—ways to remind each other to play.Greenadelphia Team 500x220 jpg

Think about that for a moment: employees spontaneously reminding each other to adopt sustainable practices.

Jim, I saw you turn off the light – claim your Cool Choice so that we stay in the lead!

Hey Ann, I saw you claimed points today for carpooling—nice job!  Did you remind Alana to play?

Most Cool Choices players talk about sustainability with colleagues at least once a week during the game. Those are conversations where folks are sharing their values as well as pragmatic strategies for saving energy and resources.

One of the big challenges with inspiring action around climate change is that individuals often feel powerless in comparison to the scale of the issue. Seeing friends and colleagues take action—and being part of a team that is taking action—is empowering.  Our players are part of a team and that team is part of a larger community where hundreds or thousands of individuals are taking action.

With support, regular people can reduce their emissions; they can improve the quality of their lives while reducing the waste. Teams are a critical part of that strategy.

How can you apply the benefits of team dynamics to boost engagement in your workplace or community?

Curious about how Cool Choices can help your organization? Contact us for more information.

A Game that Inspires Climate Action


Team “Seventhwave Wavemakers” of Seventhwave organized their own e-waste drive during their game of Cool Choices.

In a game of Cool Choices, new actions are released every day. Players compete as teams to see who can take the greatest number of sustainable actions such as biking to work, turning off the lights when leaving a room, choosing a meatless meal and recycling.

Over and over, we see teams and players get inspired during the game to take on a project that goes beyond the actions in the game.

For example, a Cool Choices team recently decided to organize their own e-waste drive. This was not something we suggested they do to earn points. The team had an idea while playing Cool Choices so they took on this larger project. Cool Choices, a game that takes minutes to play, brought this team together, got them talking and inspired a whole new initiative.

A culture that embraces sustainability is contagious. It feels good to see people around you who want to do their part, big or small. If we can make sustainability visible, we’ll inspire a ripple effect where your actions inspire mine and mine inspire someone else’s. The growing momentum creates and reinforces a sense of efficacy. The more of us the better; like the team of people pictured, let’s take sustainability beyond the game, into our homes, workplaces, consumer choices and communities.

Together, we CAN embrace (and enjoy) being more sustainable. Together, with some innovation and inspiration, we can address climate change.

Curious about how Cool Choices can help your organization save money and get sustainable? Contact us and we’ll get back to you with more information.

Game-Based Behavior Change at BECC 2015

Game cards that show actions to create game-based behavior change.

The Cool Choices online sustainability game draws from a variety of social sciences to inspire and create behavior change, cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cool Choices staff are long-time presenters and participants at the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) conference. This event brings together an eclectic group of researchers, practitioners and advocates focused on environmentally sustainable behaviors. We were excited to represent our approach to game-based behavior change at the conference this year.

The 2015 BECC conference provided some terrific insights. For example, a recurring theme at BECC is the power of local. This year several presenters shared research showing that people are more responsive to messages with a local slant—it turns out that a locally-recognizable skyline in a Facebook post will increase clicks.

At Cool Choices we’re acutely aware that local is relevant and that it motivates—it’s why we implement our game and engagement platform within specific communities (within a business, across a city, or as part of an energy efficiency program). The Cool Choices game builds upon on our players’ sense of community, showing them that others in their community are adopting sustainable practices and that, cumulatively, those practices add up to significant impacts. So, just how do we “show” local actions and values in terms of sustainability within an online game environment?

Image of game-based behavior change in action as players have fun being sustainable.

  • Social stream: An active social stream within the game platform lets players post photos of their sustainable actions, share sustainability tips or projects, and leave comments on and “cool” the posts of others in their community.
  • Teams and Leaderboard: Cool Choices is a team game. Players often tell us they play, and keep playing, because they don’t want to let their team down. Players can check their team or individual standings within their community on the leaderboard.
  • Cumulative Data: Players can see the estimated cost savings generated from their community’s efforts. This number builds with each day of game play. At the end of a game each client also receives an impact report.

Learn more about how Cool Choices makes sustainability visible.

Changing behaviors is hard, so for practitioners like us, the annual BECC conference is also an opportunity to trade strategies—to share what’s working, to commiserate about the challenges, and to remember that we’re not alone in this quest. Being part of a community of people who are promoting sustainable practices is powerful. Just as the Cool Choices sustainability game shows that people’s small actions add up, BECC reminds us that our efforts are part of a growing international movement to address climate change. Being part of a community feels good.

In addition to attending conference sessions; Cool Choices led a post-conference workshop on using games as a behavior change strategy, “Want Change? Make it a Game!”, shared our efforts to grow our game into a movement in a conference session, and a presented a poster on how games allow colleagues to coach one another on sustainability.

Curious about how Cool Choices can help your organization save money and get sustainable? Contact us and we’ll get back to you with more information.



Green & Healthy Schools Cool Choices Launch

green-healthy-schoolsIn 2013 Wisconsin Green & Healthy Schools (GHS) and Cool Choices partnered to create a Cool Choices-GHS game – and more than 30 Wisconsin schools began using the online sustainability game in early 2014! The game—which is free to GHS participating schools—provides a fun, social and easy path to reduced resource usage, improved health and wellness, and increased environmental literacy in Wisconsin’s PK-12 public and private schools.

Cool Choices customized its game platform for GHS, which is a partnership between the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. The Cool Choices game will help participating schools engage their students, faculty and staff, while providing a streamlined approach to tracking sustainable actions in schools.

Cool Choices is delighted to support this innovative statewide effort that includes schools from urban to rural Wisconsin. Ultimately the program could reach all 3,000+ Wisconsin PK-12 schools.


Recognition is Very Cool!

Recognition is Very Cool – and Inspires Us to be Cooler!
By Kathy Kuntz, Executive Director

We’ve had a lot to celebrate lately!

In early October Menasha Corporation won an Innovation Award from the Campbell Institute and the Stewardship Action Council for their employee engagement efforts with Cool Choices and then, a few weeks later, In Business Magazine honored Cool Choices as its Eco Service of the Year!

Recognition is an interesting thing. It feels great to get that pat on the back for your past efforts but recognition is not just about the past. Recognition also prompts us to try harder going forward – to prove that the recognition was deserved and to gain more recognition.

The power of recognition to inspire additional positive efforts is one of the principles we use at Cool Choices. We partner with companies and public entities to engage employees around sustainability – to make sustainable practices the norm in workplace communities. And in our work we show companies how recognizing and celebrating the good stuff – even when it’s small – can inspire employees to do more.

As sustainability professionals we spend a great deal of time thinking about what’s not working – the number of employees who forgot to turn off their computers, the still-imperfect ratios of waste to recycling, those single-sided copies… Cool Choices’ programs demonstrate the power of positive reinforcement – when you celebrate what some employees are doing right it can motivate others to change their practices so that they get kudos too.

Yes, the recognition is much appreciated. We also appreciate that it will inspire us to continue to rock the expectations of our partners going forward.


Eco-Service of the Year Winner!

Cool Choices Wins In Business Eco-Service of the Year Award

Madison, WI – October 23, 2013 – In Business Magazine has awarded Cool Choices its 2013 Eco-Service Business Sustainability Award. The award recognizes a new service that helps solve an environmental problem, demonstrates a superior environmentally conscious design and/or helps an individual better manage his or her environmental footprint. Cool Choices promotes individual and corporate-level environmentally sustainable practices through an employee engagement game, partnering with businesses and public entities to implement the game.

“We are delighted to receive the In Business Eco-Service of the Year Award for our innovative efforts,” said Kathy Kuntz, Executive Director of Cool Choices. “Our partners seek to reduce waste and increase efficiency through sustainable practices, and Cool Choices helps them inspire and engage their employees, so that smart and sustainable practices are the ‘new normal’ in their organizations.”

Since 2010 Cool Choices has inspired employees to embrace sustainability through an innovative game model. Wisconsin businesses in sectors as diverse as commercial construction, health care, manufacturing, local government and law, have game participants that collectively have saved over $400,000 and avoided 4.7 million pounds of CO2 annually because of sustainable choices made in Cool Choices games.


Cool Choices
Established in 2009, Cool Choices inspires and assists individuals, communities and businesses to take actions reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. A Madison-based nonprofit, Cool Choices seeks to make sustainable choices the norm by making them fun, social and easy. For more information visit www.coolchoices.com