Energy efficiency doesn’t just save money – it offers a fast track to economic growth, resource conservation, greenhouse gas reduction and job creation.
There is universal agreement about the importance of energy efficiency. It is understood to be the “low hanging fruit” in efforts to preserve the environment. Because energy consumption accounts for over 80 percent of green house gas emissions, improving energy efficiency is essential to climate action.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has estimated that achieving 15 percent electricity savings and 10 percent natural gas savings could save Americans almost $170 billion, create over 220,000 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 262 million metric tons, while eliminating the need to build 390 power plants.
In many instances, energy efficiency promises almost immediate financial benefits – most residential and non-residential users alike can achieve savings through behavior change alone. Responding to the potential of this sector, venture capitalists have begun to focus on energy efficiency; in 2010, the CleanTech Investment Group reported that energy efficiency was poised to overtake solar as a top investment category.
Nonetheless, progress toward greater energy efficiency is inadequate. Although California has maintained a lower rate of energy consumption than any other state in the US for the past 30 years, a recent report from the non-profit Next 10 found that energy efficiency improvements in the state’s commercial buildings could cut energy use by 80 percent.
Assembly Bill 758, passed in 2009, marked the beginning of a new wave of energy efficiency programs for the Golden State. It requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a statewide program for existing buildings. Seventy-two percent of the 13 million residential buildings in California, and over 5 billion square feet of commercial structures, were built before the implementation of California’s energy efficiency building code in the early 1980s. The CEC program is just being launched, and the potential for additional savings is enormous.
Energy security, job creation, significant savings for individuals and businesses, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and economic growth are all within reach if energy efficiency programs succeed.
If any state can produce the template for such success, it is California. Its energy standards are already decades ahead of the rest of the country. It has an unequalled green policy climate, including the nation’s first greenhouse gas reduction law (AB 32), the nation’s first green building code, and recent legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency in the commercial building sector. Of the $1.5 billion in US cleantech investment in the first two quarters of 2010, $1.1 billion went to California companies.
There is no shortage of know-how regarding energy efficiency. As with all policy or public interest initiatives, the challenge is raising awareness and encouraging enough participation that attitude and behavior changes will result.
Only You…Can Save Energy uses the power of new media to speed the distribution of information and education resources regarding energy efficiency.
The campaign is built on collaborative efforts with utilities, government agencies, corporations and other partners. By aggregating stakeholder energy efficiency resources and providing a cost- effective and scalable distribution model, it is able to reach many more homes and businesses. The campaign also utilizes the voices of celebrities to deliver simple, engaging messages about the importance of saving energy.
Only You..Can Save Energy draws upon the best materials created by energy experts from utilities, government, academic institutions and public interest groups and supports their efforts to get these materials into the hands of energy consumers. It is a unique and engaging carrier wave for these resources, a marketing asset that is much appreciated by energy efficiency stakeholders.
The leading edge of the campaign is the mailing of interactive CDs to every home and business in a targeted community. The CDs contain a compilation of the best-available energy efficiency resources, leveraging millions of dollars of investment and decades of experience in the utility, non-profit and research communities. They can be personalized for each participating city.
This marketing strategy has been utilized in awareness campaigns for some of the most successful films and television programs of recent years. The mailing is conducted in partnership with local jurisdictions, which supply the addresses at no cost.
The Only You…Can Save Energy website supports the mailings, providing links to content that is on the CD, as well as additional resources. It also stands alone as a resource for information and education on energy efficiency. Like the CD, it offers a compilation of the best-available material.
Celebrity and Stakeholder PSAs
The campaign also utilizes Only You…Can Save Energy video PSAs to spread its message. These can be distributed through the internet (including the campaign website) and through broadcast. Dozens of PSAs have already been filmed featuring current television personalities and green leaders.
Celebrities who have filmed PSAs for the campaign are already distributing them through their FaceBook pages and other outlets. Campaign materials include links that make it possible to share content instantly through social networking sites.
Smartphone applications make it possible for targeted publics to access materials wherever they are, to forward them, and to share them via social networks.
For more information:
Only You...Can Save Energy website
Green Technology Smart Media
Only You…Can Save Energy is an initiative
of Green Technology, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. www.green-technology.org