Surely, a working Energy Efficiency Education Program relies on the numbers: data, reporting, cost effectiveness, forecasting. A winning formula based on proven math, right? The answer may surprise you.
Yes, streamlined data tracking and reporting systems for an education program must work in a way that is synonymous with savings. The program implementer reports accurate participant enrollment and measure installation, providing the customer with the key components necessary to claim savings with Public Utility Commissions across the country. However, verified energy savings is actually not the main driver behind successful education programs.
If it isn’t verified energy savings, it must be the program cost-effectiveness, right? Certified Energy Managers (CEM®) painstakingly crunch the numbers until the Total Resource Cost (TRC) reaches that magical threshold. In fact, in some of the more successful programs, CEM certified program managers refine the combination of measures and education vs. cost until the program reaches a TRC of 5.0, 6.0 or even higher. While this is all great, it’s still not what makes education programs tick.
Okay, so it’s not verified energy savings. Not cost-effectiveness. How about education itself?
After all, the aim is energy efficiency knowledge. An understanding of how we use energy and the benefits of saving to motivate behavioral changes for life. While true, the answer is more straightforward than an education equation that demonstrates savings and leads to action.
Knowledgeable and informed educators whom have dedicated their lives to yielding energy literate consumers join together to develop energy efficiency education that even the most skeptical of participants engage in, generating positive behavior change for generations to come. They also become the direct link between participants and results – empowering customers to learn more, save more and produce a smaller carbon footprint than the generation before them.
As a result of this energy and engagement, measure installation rates increase, resource usage declines faster than the stock market in a struggling economy, and utility customer satisfaction flourishes. That’s the power of education.
However it can’t be just any level of education. Without smart, captivating education tactics, the energy savings simply won’t be there. So it stands to reason that successful programs come from implementers who can ensure engaging education methods that result in outstanding program participation.
So while the answer may not be what you expected– in short, the heart of great energy education programs is the participants themselves. (Tweet it!) Class dismissed.
Do you know what you should be looking for from your education program implementer?
Want to learn more about the impact of education in participation?