Lars-Kristian Nilsen is the winner of SSN's power-saving competition! The Bø student lives in student accommodations himself and feels commited to getting his fellow residents to change their habits.
Lars-Kristian Nilsen (20) is a first-year student at Nature and Environmental Management at USN in Bø and lives in Campus Bø Student Housing. He came across SSN's competition on ssn.no and immediately knew he wanted to take part.
– Friday evening I felt very inspired and thus it was just a matter of getting started. One thing is the monetary prize of NOK 10,000, but I am genuinely interested in what you can do to save electricity, such as making small changes in habits, says Lars-Kristian, who happens to be taking a subject called Climate, Energy and Environment...
– Yes, I'm probably what you'd call a bit extra interested, he grins.
The idea competition was held as part of a power-saving campaign aimed at all students in South-East Norway in February 2023. The campaign was seen by 73.5%, according to a survey carried out by SSN. 49% of these experienced that they were somewhat influenced by the campaign, while 19% experienced that they found the campaign to a large extent useful or were influenced by it.
The competition started on 1 February 2023 and ended on 28 February 2023. A total of 70 entries were received and the jury went through all the entries the week after the competition had ended. The winner was anounced on 10 March.
Lars-Kristian's premise for coming up with the winning idea is simple and real: As a student lucky enough to be living in student accommodation with electricity included, it is difficult to be attentive to the electricity bill, as it never comes. Lars-Kristian's idea is therefore to raise awareness and make visible both the costs and climate consequences that the students' electricity consumption represent.
– I notice from the people I live with that there are many who do not care about their electricity consumption. They have the heater on at full blast, while at the same time leaving the window open, and somehow have the attitude that it's okay because the electricity is included in the rent, says Lars-Kristian, and continues:
– You need to see a price tag, because you completely lose the ability to save electricity when you don't pay yourself. The solution is to make the students understand that everything costs, what it costs and that it is in everyone's best interest that we cherish the goods we have, because it is not the case that the more electricity you use, the more it will be. Both water and wind are limited resources, says the nature and environmental management student.
Among the 70 submitted ideas for the energy-saving competition, Lars-Kristian thus won the first prize of NOK 10,000.
– I have no intention of using it for anything in particular. As a student, I end up "in the red" every month, so this contribution will really only be used to live from. I'll probably treat myself to a better meal here and there, but I'd rather have a little more left at the end of each month for the next six months than blow the prize on a big thing, he explains.
Now he is excited to see if his idea can lead to any actual effects on the people around him.
– I am surrounded by so many people who live in student housing, and now I feel a certain commitment to actually be able to bring about some change, says Lars-Kristian.
The jury, consisting of director and chiefs of student housing, employees from the property development department, director of innovation and CEO, has the following to say.
– It was not easy to choose a winner from a total of 70 entries! We are highly impressed by the number of engaged students, and by the quality of many of the contributions. After individual and collective assessment (and discussion) we settled on Lars-Kristian's contribution, says leader of the jury and team chief of the Marketing and communications team at SSN, Linda Tabita Tangen.
Lars-Kristian reflects very well upon the challenge of high consumption in homes where electricity is included in the rent. This is in addition to the fact that many of the residents are young people living alone for the first time, and who have no knowledge, experience or awareness of their energy consumption.
Many of the contributions we received revolved around the same themes and ideas that Lars-Kristian presents, but we really appreciated the way he stitched it all together in such an exemplary way!
Another, important aspect of his contribution is the summary of measures that can actually be implemented in practice, ref. the competition conditions. He also emphasizes how SSN and the students can achieve this together, and even draws parallels to how SSN can live out their core values through the measures.
Information and training
Measurement and visualization of power consumption
Campaigns and activities to engage residents in their own electricity consumption
We will now work on how the various parts should or can be carried out, with the aim of having the plan ready before May 2023. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to everyone who has spent time and energy on this idea competition! To those of you who did not win the first prize: The effort was not in vain! All commitment and initiative creates awareness and change from which we and our dear mother earth are the winners.