Among the wide variety of factors that influence whether a water savings program is successful, a few themes stand out as best practices. According to the ACEEE report “Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs,” these four areas are key to determining a program’s viability.
Electricity-product companies like SolarCity, Tesla, Nest and Ring are raising utility customers' expectations by offering high levels of personalized, mobile service and frequent consumer engagement and education.
But despite this competition, Utility Dive's third annual Utility Residential Customer Education Survey found that, overall, the utility industry is failing to effectively engage and educate its customers about the massive changes in utility generation and management.
Almost two-thirds of the 51 largest cities in the United States boosted their energy efficiency last year. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, according to ACEEE’s 2017 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard.
The City Scorecard, which has been published each of the last three years, rates cities across five energy-efficiency policy areas: local government operations, including public financing and land use and zoning laws; community-wide initiatives such as economic and workforce development; buildings codes and policies; energy and water utility operations; and transportation policies and investment.
Water efficiency is essential for every type of business—whether they’re water-intensive industries like healthcare facilities, hotels, carwashes or laundry services or just your standard office or retail store. But how do you formulate a comprehensive water-reduction plan that allows you to conserve water without negative business impacts?
A good place to start is with advice from the experts. Members of the Federal Energy Management Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did some brainstorming and came up with 14 best-management practices (BMPs) to improve water efficiency in a variety of settings.
Teaching students about the benefits of energy efficiency gets the conversation started early and is an effective bottom-up approach to educating entire families. These programs inform students and reach other members of the family with the ultimate goal of reducing household energy use. All of these energy efficiency education programs include energy (and sometimes water) education lessons and often come with “take home kits” that have free energy efficiency devices. For utilities, these programs provide a triple win: a cost effective way to generate energy savings, a means to become connected to the community in a tangible way and an act of generosity that generates goodwill with their customers.
Currently, 21 states have active utility-sponsored school-based energy education (EE) programs. The structure of the programs varies from a one-time presentation/workshop to an ongoing energy curriculum, and the content varies depending on the availability and access to take-home kits. The programs are most frequently targeted at fifth and sixth grades, with some programs working with a broader range of grades.
In order to get this demographic of students engaged—and on board—with EE education, you need to get their hands, hearts and minds involved. It is finding the right balance of these interrelated aspects that determines the students’ degree of engagement. Only hands-on activities but no cognitive understanding doesn’t cut it, nor does resonating with a student on an emotional level but not channeling that energy into a learning activity.