WFP seeks to improve energy efficiency with its Green Kit

Fri, 10/08/18

"If we want to protect forests and life on land, safeguard our oceans, create massive economic opportunities, prevent even more massive losses and improve the health and well-being of people and the planet, we have one simple option staring us in the face. Climate action is a necessity.”

  – Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General


As the UN’s frontline agency in the fight against hunger, the World Food Programme (WFP) works in some of the most challenging locations in the world. In order to run its operations, WFP is often responsible for supplying and maintaining its own power generation and electrical systems. WFP consumes over 6 million litres of diesel a year via generators alone, costing around US$10 million and supplying almost half (45%) of its electricity consumption. The remainder is obtained through conventional mains power supplies. It is in these remote locations that the biggest opportunities are often found, because the cost of purchasing and transporting fuel is high, and technology improvements may not be widely available or understood.

In an effort to reduce its environmental footprint, whilst simultaneously making financial savings, WFP created an Energy Efficiency Programme (EEP) in 2010. The EEP provides technical guidance and helps fund energy-efficiency projects from around the organization, with money raised from an internal carbon tax, to reduce WFP’s greenhouse gas emissions and to deliver cost savings.

Examples of energy-saving projects that have qualified for funding include:

  • Replacing lighting with more energy efficient types;
  • Replacing heating or cooling units with more energy efficient types and improving controls;
  • Upgrading or installing insulation or shading material to reduce heating/cooling demand;
  • Installing solar and hybrid power systems in field locations.

Between 2012, when the first EEP projects received funding, and 2018 a total of 47 projects have been co-funded in 20 countries. With initial investments of around $1.2 million, these projects will generate savings of up to 8 times their upfront capital costs over the lifetime of the equipment installed. As of June 2018, implemented energy efficiency projects from the EEP are expected to help WFP achieve annual savings of US$720,000 and more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

On top of the savings, the Energy Efficiency Programme has also had a positive impact on WFP employees. Staff at sites where projects have been implemented report that they now pay more attention to the ways in which they use energy and strive to take steps to reduce their own energy consumption.


The Green Kit


In 2015, WFP Engineering and the Environmental Sustainability Unit jointly developed the Green Box (now a slimmer ‘Green Kit’), in collaboration with the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich. The kit contains an Energy Survey Form and an Energy Monitoring System to attach to a distribution board, allowing remote monitoring of a facility’s energy consumption.

The Green Kit allows all WFP premises, even those in the most remote locations, to assess and optimize their energy consumption with technical support from the WFP Engineering team. Remote energy consumption monitoring equipment, together with survey data, allows engineers to quickly identify the most effective energy-saving measures for each site. Country Offices can then apply for co-funding from the EEP should they choose to move forward.

The results from interventions undertaken in off-grid locations so far show that diesel fuel consumption can be reduced by 40-80%, through simple behavioural change and relatively small investments in energy efficient or renewable energy equipment.


For more information on WFP’s EEP Green Kit, please visit its website

Categories: Energy