Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Energy Etiquette

"Showing people how they can save money and help the environment doesn't work. But showing them they are using more energy on average than neighbors can often motivate them."

Thomas Heath, "Entreprenuer Devotes His Energy to Making Conservation Profitable," The Washington Post, August 10, 2009

Don't you just love entreprenuers? Positive Energy will help us in our quest to "Keep up with the Jones" by supplying us with utility bills that compare our energy costs with surrounding households and give us some helpful, high pay-off tips about what we might do different. Changing behaviors and habits about energy usage is good in itself but also must compliment weatherization or retrofitting investments if they are going to work to maximum effect. Jacking the AC up just costs more.

Our predilection to competitive motivations rather than rational cost analysis or "save the earth" inspiration may seem a bit disheartening. Maybe it's a bit of a primordial herd effect, or the realization that if somebody else is doing it it can be done and must be worth it, or a shortcut for thinking, or maybe the frightened feeling of being left out of something good and important. Maybe it just invokes our innate identity as a good neighbor.

More power to Positive Energy's quest to make millions by tricking us (i.e. leading us to water) into adopting better energy etiquette.

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