University of Michigan Planet Blue

July 8, 2008

We were approached by the University of Michigan to help create a program to reduce discretionary energy costs across campus. Past efforts to reduce energy had very little success, and usually only included internal signage. By using breakthrough creative and establishing a system that would empower all levels of the University community (from students to faculty and staff), we succeeded in empowering a grassroots movement that has taken the University by storm.

The Planet Blue website provides an environment that encourages people to sign up and become a part of the initiative. Once a visitor signs up, they become Planet Blue Citizens, are included on a scroll bar for their peers to see, and are engaged with ongoing tasks to make the University greener. By providing their email address, Citizens are entered into the database and receive ongoing email alerts to stay involved.

Signs, banners, and posters are used across campus to communicate the various tasks required to make a building more efficient. Because each building has its own unique challenges, we had to develop a system that was highly functional and customizable, while still breaking through and getting noticed.


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“Our original expectation was that we would find maybe 3 to 5 percent energy savings. As we got into the buildings and really engaged the community …we were seeing energy savings in some of the buildings that were approaching 20 percent.”

-Rich Robben,  Executive Director (From an MLive article)

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