July 28, 2010
Metrics and Peer Pressure: The Road to Real Efficiency“Save Energy!” You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times before; but what does it mean, and how do we do it? “By 2020 we will have 50% of the nation run by alternative energies”; “By such-and-such a date we will have done this great thing…” Nothing is tangible or personal, and if we want to garner, witness and achieve progress in the energy world, that has to change.
Numbers give a lot of folks headaches—and without the proper context, it’s no surprise they are dizzying. The world shouldn’t be surprised that we are running around in counter-productive circles instead of achieving forward motion in energy efficiency.
Progress fuels invested action. People won’t pour effort into a fruitless venture, but they are willing to work harder for something when they can see direct results budding. When it’s not easy to interpret your real-world impact, it’s even harder to measure your progress. For these reasons, a well-defined, comprehensible and accurate metric system should be the backbone of any energy-saving crusade.
People need to have real data presented to them in an easy-to-understand format that lets them know exactly what their personal role in the effort is. More importantly, this information needs to tell them hard and fast or not whether they’ve gained that gold star of efficiency, or if they’re going to have to work a little harder the next go around. Tangible metrics are the key to progress.
If metrics are your motivational tool, peer pressure should be your propulsion system. Harvesting all of these blooms as a result of working hard to save energy is satisfying for a while, but a bouquet is much nicer when you can show it off to someone else who appreciates beautiful blossoms.
The people that believe in and work for energy conservation need a community in which to share their successes, failures, tips and passions. This will keep the flames of those who have already caught the fire burning bright.
As for gaining new recruits to the environmental army, these facts and figures need to have a place to sit on display for outsiders to see; and get them interested in planting a few seeds of their own. If people can see the successes of others, they are more willing to follow suit.
There is a higher perceived chance that they will be successful than if they were to strike out on their own. Mostly, people want to fit in. They don’t want to be left behind. People want to be at least keeping up with the Joneses, if not joining the family themselves. Several companies are doing a great job leveraging the power of social context with the several utilities they currently serve. OPOWER is a perfect example.
Analytics will define the future of energy efficiency by providing both blunt measureable results and a community of encouragement and competition.
The above post is from guest author: Rahul Prakash, COO, EarthAid.net
EarthAid.net is a free online platform that allows people to link their utility accounts and watch their house-wide consumption as it shifts from meter reading to meter reading, and gives people a window through which to see their progress or regression. The platform awards points for reducing your usage, which can be redeemed as coupons for local businesses.
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Posted by: HuangEdison | Jul 30, 2010 1:33:02 AM